December 2022

Dear Transitioners

COP27 came to a close with pledges and promises similar to those of COP26 but little progress on
limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. However there was one victory – an agreement to set up a
fund in the next 12 months to provide finance to countries facing the worst climate impacts – a
demand that has been made for 30 years by countries in the global south. It is progress for Global
, but with a long road and many political battles ahead to ensure that this fund is indeed set
up and financed on an equitable basis.
And our year draws to a close – it is our AGM at 7.30pm on Tuesday! – where does the time go?
We will receive reports from our Chair, Bryan Miller, and Treasurer, Claudia Blair – and then we
will be electing officers for the year so – don’t be shy, give it a go – nominations please for:-

Deputy Chair

The agenda together with notes of the last AGM are below the signature line. This will be followed
by a general meeting, the business being limited to Matters Arising from our November meeting
and Any Other Business. We expect that Angela Jones, well known for her work to save our
rivers, will join us. The zoom link is:

Time: Dec 13, 2022 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 857 4405 7287
Passcode: Transition

On a personal note: Last week I was presented with the High Sheriff’s Award for service to the
community. It was very exciting! – but it is all about you, our members, volunteers, supporters
and the community groups that we work with. My grateful thanks to you all for making Transition
Monmouth the amazing success that it is today – which is all the more reason to attend the AGM to
get the full flavour of our achievements during the past year. Bryan has started on his report and
tells me he is impressed!
We have just heard there will be a drop-in session at the Shire Hall on Thursday 15 December
from 2pm to 7pm as part of the consultation on the Revised Local Development Plan. Please
come and meet MCC Officers, see the latest, and have your say. Details are up on our Transition
Monmouth Chat Facebook page, or I can email them to you.
It just leaves it for me to say we hope you have a lovely break over the Christmas period and thrive
in good health, and with much energy, in the coming year!
Vivien Mitchell

AGENDA: Transition Monmouth AGM
7.30 on Tuesday 6 December via Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting

Apologies for absence
Note taker
Matters Arising from notes of the last AGM
Chair’s Report for the year
Treasurer’s Report
Election of Officers for the coming year:-
 Chair
 Deputy Chair
 Secretary/Admin
 Treasurer
Close of AGM – followed by a Members’ Meeting

NOTES: Transition Monmouth Annual General Meeting – 23 November 2021 at 7.30pm via Zoom

Present: Bryan Miller, Claudia Blair, Waltraud Engelfield, Vivien Mitchell, Simon Durrant, Clare Catto,
Charles Emes, Barbara Cotterill, Richard Cotterill, Cherry Taylor, Haydn Cullen-Jones
Apologies: Kelly Jackson-Graham, Mary Boase, Beccy McDonald-Lofts, Janine Amos
Note taker: Vivien Mitchell
Chair’s Report:
Bryan Miller briefly described the fantastic year we had despite the restrictions of Covid, taking forward our
amazing Community Fridge, numerous Green Grow projects – working with the ACE Green Spaces Group,
Plastic Free Monmouth, installing a new drinking fountain in Chippenham Park, apple pressing, managing the
Wyesham Community Woodland, and culminating with a high level of involvement with the Climate Future
Festival and an awareness raising event for COP26. Collaboration has been key together with involvement
and dedication from our ever growing band of members. The full report is posted on our website
Treasurer’s Report:
Claudia Blair reported that we had £23,000 in the Transition Monmouth account but most of this is
earmarked for specific projects, in particular Claypatch Woods and the Monmouth Community Fridge. There
is around £700 in the General Sub-account. The Swap Shop Sub-account has been closed and the monies
transferred to the Green Grow Sub-account.
Election of Officers:
Chair: Deputy Chair, Simon Durrant, called for nominations. Bryan Miller, proposed by Vivien Mitchell, seconded by Barbara Cotterill, was elected unopposed
Deputy Chair: Bryan Miller called for nominations. There were none and it was decided to leave the post
vacant pro tem
Treasurer: Bryan Miller called for nominations. Claudia Blair, proposed by Bryan Miller, seconded by
Charles Emes, was elected unopposed
Admin/Secretary: Bryan Miller called for nominations. Vivien Mitchell, proposed by Bryan Miller,
seconded by Haydn Cullen-Jones was elected unopposed. Waltraud Engelfield and Charles Emes offered to
be note takers
The meeting closed at 8pm and was followed by a Members’ Meeting
. . . . . . . . . .

NOTES: Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting

8 November 2022 at 7.30 via Zoom

Present: Bryan Miller, Mary Boase, Vivien Mitchell, Haydn Cullen-Jones, Charles Emes, Kelly Jackson-
Graham, Waltraud Englefield, Mike Dunsbee, Steve Garratt, Catherine Fookes, Emma Bryn, Lisa Hicks
Apologies: Charles Boase, Catrin Maby, Janine Amos, Claudia Blair, Beccy MacDonald-Lofts
Note taker: Vivien Mitchell
Notes of the last meeting and matters arising
Local Development Plan: Since our last meeting the following statement has been issued:
Monmouthshire County Council has taken another step forward in developing its proposals for a Replacement Local Development Plan. The Council recently agreed to produce a new growth strategy and has now published those proposals for consideration by the Place Scrutiny Committee on 10 th November 2022. 
The new strategy aims to make provision for up to 2,200 new homes by 2033 in addition to the 3,700 homes already in the pipeline or completed since 2018.  On new site allocations, approximately a third of the new homes will be social housing for rent and another 17% will be affordable housing available at less than market price.  The Plan will also make provision for 6,240 jobs and will be accompanied by an Infrastructure Plan, updated Local Transport Plan and an Economic Development Strategy.
The Council has appraised all the sites which have been offered for development and the new strategy proposes three strategic sites for future housing. These sites will be:
 Abergavenny East – 500 homes together with employment, retail, leisure, education and community uses
 Caldicot East – 925 homes together with employment, retail and leisure uses
 Bayfield Chepstow – 145 homes
Cllr Paul Griffiths, Deputy Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, said: “These sites have been selected because they will add to the sustainability of existing settlements. Residents of these new homes will be well connected to existing town centres, schools and transport facilities. It is my ambition that the homes that are built on these sites will be zero carbon and built to the highest possible standards of design and construction. The Council will work with the Design Commission for Wales, housing developers, and everyone else who can work with us in making these developments the very best places to live – homes that are affordable, well
connected to local facilities and making a positive contribution to our environment. The next two years will be an exciting and creative journey as we ensure that the very best homes are built here in Monmouthshire – homes that will lead the way for every other development in the United Kingdom.”
The new Preferred Strategy will be reported to Council on 1 st December 2022 to seek agreement to commence public consultation. If agreed, this will run from 5 th December 2022 to 30 th January 2023. For more information visit  Latest News – Monmouthshire Mark Hand has provided us with the following update link: Agenda for Place Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, 10th November, 2022, 10.00 am ( (agenda item 7).  The main report and Appendix 2 are possibly the best parts to read.
Orchard Management Plan: Please let us know if you are interested in participating. Bryan will set a
date for a meeting with Helena Ronicle to discuss – action: Bryan
Skenfrith Flood Prevention Plan: Catrin Maby writes: MCC officers plan to set up local meetings to
update communities on a review of the last flood (MCC do a report on each one – available on website), and
plans for alleviation going forward. This will include Skenfrith and Monmouth – they will let me know as soon
as dates fixed. Essential for us to get NRW along at same time of course. We did have a proposed date late
Nov, but it looks like that may not work now.
Mandarin Stone Boundary: Charles Boase has spoken to Alma Small, the Mandarin Stone owner. They
have a planning application in for the car park area and talked about planting trees in tubs. I asked her
about planting a hedge around the site, but although she considered the idea, it sounded as there was quite
a lot for them to do on the site before they got to thinking about the hedge. So still work to do there. I will keep at it. She responded positively to the request for apples from the site and provided cooking apples to
our Fridge.
Monmouth Town Council: Bryan’s presentation on Transition Monmouth to the Full Council meeting on
Monday 24 October went well, with considerable interest from the Councillors. We can, he feels, look
forward to a closer relationship with the Town Council. Vivien did a follow-up email giving further
information on natural flood management and supermarket packaging.
Cost of Living Summit: Catherine Fookes thanked us for attending. Much useful information on local
activities has been summarised in a report which will be used by MCC to determine further actions – in
particular details of the various Warm Places where people can go in the winter months.
Pollution in the Wye and Usk: Martin Sweeney has been in contact with Angela Jones who, as part of
her will known publicity efforts on river pollution, has been funding water quality sampling kits – using these
in citizen science projects and awareness raising work with schools, as well as travelling to schools and
community groups to deliver assemblies and talks, paying for promotional literature, and liaising with media
organisations to raise the profile of the issue. Due to water quality issues, she has been unable to operate
her business, Swim Wild Wye. She is not a constituted group and hence is not eligible to apply for grant
funding. Would Transition help?
Mike Dunsbee praised Angela’s awareness raising activities. His group, Friends of the Lower Wye does little
of this but concentrates on working with the authorities to undertake improvements. He too is not a
constituted group and feels they don’t have the resources to do this, so again, they too would be interested
in Transition helping with their grant applications.
It is clear that the work of both groups is necessary, and yes, pending further discussions, Transition would
be happy to help.
Members were urged to attend the Symposium at Bridges on Friday 25 November with a wide range of
speakers to discuss the issue and the ways forward.
Green Grow/Green Spaces:
Name of the Group: When the two groups, from Transition and ACE respectively, merged, the name of
the new group was chosen as Monmouth Nature Spaces. This has not caught on. It was agreed that the
group be called Green Grow/Green Spaces
Peter Morgan Community Orchard: Much activity:-
 Conveyancing is proceeding, with the solicitors for both sides finally talking to each other
 Mr B, who claims rights over the property, has been arrested for trespass
 We have had notification that 50% of our grant funding from Heritage Lottery has been paid and we
have been given instructions on how to claim the remainder
 An AONB grant for a shelter and bench is being applied for
 We hope to plant the trees in the next couple of months. Emma to find out whether these will come
bare-rooted or in pots
Overmonnow Primary School: No further developments
Osbaston Primary School: Has been working with Size of Wales. An inaugural tree planting will take
place shortly with representatives from ACE and Transition invited
Monmouth Comprehensive School: Following a complaint from on of the neighbours, we have
undertaken to do some planting round the Phoenix Building. Cheryl Cummings has produced a Food for
Birds planting plan. The only viable way is for the MCC Grounds Maintenance team to undertake the work.
The total cost is likely to be around £1,200 for which we have applied to You Decide. We have also been
working on the removal of docks and thistles on the wildflower meadow and further prepping of the tree
nursery area. We look forward to our first tranche of saplings on 19 November.
Plastic Free Monmouth: Beccy (Chair) has been in touch with Steve Garratt with a view to meeting soon.
In the meantime, Beccy has continued to write articles for Living magazine to raise the profile of being more
eco conscious and going plastic free. She is also in early talks with MCC about possible opportunities and
funding support for running PF Business sessions across the county with the aim to cover Monmouth first.
These conversations have been happening as part of other conversations around the motion for Rivers and
Oceans that MCC has declared.
Community Fridge: Currently, the Fridge costs £430 a month, mainly rent and utilities. Costs continue to
rise while donations have fallen off so funding is a problem. Kelly reported that:-
 Monmouth Rotary have been helping out with funding in recent months
 The Fridge has obtained a grant of £1,000 from Neighbourly, the organisation that organises the
M+S collections

Funding of £3,000 has been applied for under the Town Council Community Grants scheme
 A funding application has been submitted to You Decide – members are being urged to vote – the
more votes, the more money
Period products, supplied free of charge by MCC, are being collected from Chepstow this week for
distribution via the Fridge and other channels.
We ran out of Zoom time so the meeting came to an abrupt end. We will be better organised next month!
Date of next meeting: Tuesday 6 December. Post meeting note: We weren’t after all better
organised and the meeting is now scheduled for Tuesday 13 December

November 2022

Dear Transitioners

Another email, but a brief one. We have two great projects that need funding, and we need your
vote – please!

We have the Community Fridge. An amazing band of volunteers collects food from the
supermarkets each evening, seven days a week – and the following day this food is available from
the Community Fridge at Bridges. It also gets distributed to Monnow Vale, the shelter, and
elsewhere, and is hugely appreciated. This is food that otherwise would go to landfill – about two
tons a month of it! But this costs, mainly rent and utilities – hence the need for funding.

Green Grow is the group that plants trees, hedges, develops wildflower meadows, etc for
biodiversity, pollinators, resilience, and natural flood management. We welcomed the rebuild of
Monmouth Comprehensive School but, inevitably, this resulted in the loss of much habitat so we
have worked on various planting projects – the Kitchen Garden, wildflower meadow, hedges and
have now started on wildflower areas and a ‘Food for Birds’ garden at the Phoenix Building. It all
costs – hence our request for this funding.
We have applied to You Decide and both projects have been selected to go forward to the final
round, but competing with other Monmouth community projects, the amount dependent on the
number of votes we can get – so please vote for the project of your choice at:

Thank you!
Vivien Mitchell

Transition Monmouth Chair’s Report – December 2022

The group has enjoyed a further year of achievements, underpinned by the hard work and dedication of members in pursuit of our ethos; building resilient and sustainable communities to combat climate change.  I am delighted to summarise these projects and actions below, having the privilege of holding the Chair over the last year. At fifteen years old, the group continues to develop and expand, with new ideas being put into action all the time.

The wider situation, having emerged from Covid hibernation, is that local communities are emboldened to bring about the kind of changes they want to see. Waiting for ‘big government’ action is no longer viable as the clock ticks down towards environmental cliff edges; we are faster and more agile at the grass roots.

If not already involved, it is hoped that you will be inspired by the breadth of our projects; there really is something for everyone to join. Maybe you’ve heard about the UK hitting over 40 degrees for the first time this year or have been wondering if we really need so much single-use packaging. Maybe you have ideas and want to make a difference. Join in the conversation, build community resilience and sustainability with like-minded, local members.

Monmouth Community Fridge – our largest project celebrated two full years in the Bridges Centre Stables and goes from strength to strength. It continues to make nightly collections of near use-by and surplus food from local supermarkets. Its doors are then opened seven days a week to distribute to the public. Masses of volunteers and coordinator resource comes together to make this operation possible, resulting on these astounding statistics over two years;

  • Food diverted from landfill = 51.2 Tons
  • eCO2 emissions avoided = 127.9 Tons
  • Customers served = 15273
  • Bunches of flowers redistributed = 6237
  • Volunteers managed = 35
  • Facebook followers engaged = 1800

Unsurprisingly, the Fridge has faced increasing costs at a time public donations are falling. With the monthly running costs around £430, the coordinators have been on a fund-raising trail to secure our position into the medium term. We are delighted to have been supported by Monmouth Rotary who, following a presentation by the coordinators, stepped in quickly to cover our utilities over the short term. This bridged the gap until our successful applications for a Monmouth Town Council Community Grant of £3000 and £1000 from Neighbourly, an M&S grant. Later success with You Decide (MCC Participatory Budget) led to £1300, followed by £1000 from Welsh Government Food Security funding. This hard work has left the Fridge confident of the year ahead, and will also cover servicing of the commercial appliances, and purchase of marketing materials and additional insulated bags.

A social event was held in October, with a game of skittles at The Royal Oak. It was a rare opportunity for both the day volunteers and evening collectors to come together, often for the first time, comparing notes and putting faces to names. In the same month, the Fridge hosted a visit by the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford.

In addition to food and flowers, the Fridge has been distributing environmentally friendly period products, supplied by Monmouthshire County Council. These are given out from the Bridges location and other channels into the community, and are just another example of what makes this project so special. Well done and a huge thankyou to everyone who makes this possible.

Apple Pressing – with a fabulous apple harvest this year, we held well-attended community events at both Wyesham St James’ Hall and Rockfield Community Hall. These were fun and hands-on and were the first time we had seen some people since the lockdowns.

We completed our aim of donating the press and scratter set to Benthyg Monmouth in order to give greater access to the wider community. Based at Bridges, this is a community lending initiative supported by Transition Monmouth. Subsequently, a number of private and community pressings were able to take place using it.

Community Orchard – Two River Meadow – the fruit trees were suffering from neglected pruning over recent years, so two sessions were arranged. A late winter pruning of soft-centred fruit was followed by a mid-summer prune of hard-centred fruiting trees. Many thanks to local expert Helena Ronicle, who led the training and imparted much of the why and how of proper pruning techniques. She has also gone on to develop a site management plan, including grass cutting regime, that is awaiting review at this time. If you are at all interested, please join in and look out for our follow up pruning sessions in the coming year.

Peter Morgan Community Orchard – this is a new project leading to the creation of a brand-new community orchard along the Redbrook Road in Wyesham. The land is very kindly being gifted and represents the first substantial asset for the group. In conjunction, coordinators have successfully applied for a Lottery Heritage grant to cover legal costs, contamination surveys, asbestos clearance, fencing and of course establishing the planting scheme. The grant award is the largest ever received by us, and will lead to a wonderful community asset that will be a biodiverse haven for wildlife and people. The team are currently navigating the legal aspects of conveyancing and property transfer, but ownership is expected shortly and site preparation can then begin.

Event Stands – the Wye Valley River Festival provided a fun event with lots of entertainment highlighting aspects of the river. The Bee Festival ran across a weekend in July. We opened up the Kitchen Garden and Wildflower Meadow sites at the Monmouth Comprehensive School for visitors to inspect how this otherwise bland area has been developed for biodiversity and pollinators. The following day we shared a large stand with Tools for Self Reliance Cymru, engaging the public, promoting our projects and selling plants and books.

In the same month we had a stand at Wye July, supporting the Friends of the Lower Wye in raising awareness of the condition of our river. Our ‘feather’ flags made their first appearance, helping to achieve a coordinated, professional look. All these events relied on Benthyg Monmouth for the lending of gazebos and equipment, not to mention the volunteers who prepared and staffed all the stands; many thanks!

Earlier in the year, we supported the Seed Swap event at Bridges with stands for Transition and the Fridge. Plenty of interaction with the public and also plants and books (and maps!) sold.

Hustings for County Council Elections – there was good attendance and some lively questioning of candidates standing for the County Council elections. The packed audience at Bridges were highly engaged on environmental issues and the proceedings were well facilitated by Haydn. Additional thanks to the team of cake bakers and refreshment servers.

Green Grow/Green Spaces – initiate and develop planting schemes around the town jointly with ACE members. Work around Monmouth Comprehensive School continues to attract public interest and improve biodiversity, air quality and flood prevention. This has been extended to include the Phoenix Building surrounds, for which a You Decide grant was successfully awarded. A tree nursery area has been established with the first tranche of saplings now in the ground.

The event stands and orchard maintenance already mentioned are also underpinned by this collaborative project.

Plastic Free Monmouth (PFM) – our PFM Chair Beccy has been increasing the profile of this project through meetings with MCC, new councillors and writing articles for Living magazine. She is in the planning stages of running PF Business sessions, supported by MCC.

Wyesham Community Woodland – the volunteers have emerged from Covid restrictions and continue to manage the woodland and put on community events, from the Big Jubilee lunch to spooky Halloween gatherings. They held another Christmas tree chipping session, turning cut trees from Wyesham residents into wood chippings for the pathways.

Collaborations – we continue to engage with other groups from schools, charities, business and local groups to Government bodies at all levels. This is not only a means to achieve more for our efforts, but sparks new ideas, actions and friendships. We are proud to work alongside ACE Monmouth, Benthyg Monmouth and Friends of the Lower Wye to raise environmental awareness and initiate actions that are kinder to the planet.

We are able to achieve much through strong relations with local Town and County level government and we are lucky to have members elected to both. On my recent presentation to the new Town Council, I outlined the range of projects we undertake; our efforts were well received and warmly praised. From County, we have strong support from Councillors and Officers, making it much easier to achieve our goals. It allows us to have quality engagement, like the evening with Mark Hand (MCC Head of Placemaking) where he presented on the Local Development Plan and we had wide ranging discussions on the planning process, transport links, water quality, housing efficiencies and natural flood management.

It is clear that our members continue to drive our projects with passion and energy. They also continue to engage the public in important environmental awareness, so delivering on our ethos of a more resilient and sustainable Monmouth community. Massive thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who make this possible.

Lastly, my thanks to fellow officers who put in so much and keep us going in the right direction; Claudia Blair (Treasurer) and Vivien Mitchell (Admin/Secretary). Congratulations to Vivien, who recently received the High Sheriff Award for service to the community, a tiny fraction of the recognition she deserves!

Bryan Miller

Chair – Transition Monmouth

December 2022

Transition Monmouth Chair’s Report – November 2021

Once again, it is my pleasure to summarise the year’s activities carried out in the name of Transition Monmouth (TM) and highlight some of our achievements. It is self-evident from the range and depth of these, that the passion of TM members remains undiminished despite various physical restrictions brought about by Covid.

Whilst we have been pursuing local projects according to our ethos, building resilient and sustainable communities to combat climate change, it feels like wider society has become more aware of climate change as of late. This may be down to the sheer number of extreme climate events, which various measures report as the ‘highest/lowest since records began’. There has been record snowfall in Madrid and Texas, whereas record high temperatures have led to wildfires and evacuations throughout the world. New terminology has entered our vocabulary; many now understand the frightening consequences of a ‘heat dome’ for example. We have also seen major flooding and even rain (not snow) for the first time on the Greenland ice sheet.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) has also provided a focal point, especially in the year it was hosted by the UK. It appeared to be actively followed by UK news outlets building up to and during the conference, giving a platform for leaders as well as other stakeholders on climate and social justice issues. This rightly reminded us of the multi-faceted nature of the problem. Here in Monmouth, we came together with a number of local climate groups to hold our own awareness-raising event to mark COP26.

Increased awareness is a stepping stone to action. A good starting point is the leaflet ‘18 Ideas to Help Combat Climate Change’, produced in association with ACE Monmouth and full of personal and local actions that are achievable. You may be inspired to join the projects described below, and we very much hope you do, or even have ideas and drive to start something new. Who knows, you may even be inspired to demonstration and activism, or even politics [Hint: local elections next May]. Rest assured, you can make a valuable contribution in any number of ways and build community resilience with like-minded TM members.

Monmouth Community Fridge – this incredible project celebrated its first anniversary in September and continues to reduce both local food waste and food poverty. It is only possible through the ongoing efforts of volunteers who continue to collect near use-by and surplus food, along with flowers, from local supermarkets. This is then offered to the public from the operational base, located in the Bridges Centre stables. Both of these operations occur every day of the week and have continued despite Covid restrictions. The sheer scale of the operation can be gauged from this year’s statistics:

  • Food diverted from landfill = 25.8 Tons
  • eCO2 emissions avoided = 64.4 Tons
  • Customers served = 7673
  • Bunches of flowers redistributed = 2960
  • Volunteers managed = 30
  • Facebook followers engaged = 1400

The Fridge goes from strength to strength, recently being awarded the highest level of a 5-star Food Hygiene Rating. Funding has been secured for future projects of a hot composter, for unavoidable food waste, and also to start satellite cupboards. These will expand reach to outlying areas of the town, starting with St James Hall in Wyesham. A presentation about the Fridge was made to Wyesham WI, who warmly support the project. The development of a paid coordinator position is actively being pursued but will come dependant on a suitable funding source being identified.

A big thank you to all the volunteers who work day in and day out to make this happen.

Green Grow – jointly with ACE Green Spaces: this grouping of hands-on projects continues to manage many planting schemes around the town.

Schemes around the Monmouth Comprehensive School continue to be managed for biodiversity, with the wild flower meadow beside the bike sheds beginning to settle down after initial domination by agricultural clover. Fruit and vegetable beds near the entrance are maturing and contributing to both the education of pupils and residents as well as providing a haven for local pollinators and many other small creatures. This scheme, along with the bus station Pollinator Garden, featured in the Monmouth Bee Festival trail. This provided an opportunity to discuss issues around biodiversity and pollinator-friendly planting, as did the TM stand at the main Bee Festival event.

There has been some initial work on renovating the Community Orchard, though long-term site management needs to be determined with appropriate detailing of pruning and mowing regimes.

Plastic Free Monmouth (PFM) – various events throughout the year provided opportunity to engage with people on the issue of single-use plastics. The Climate Future Festival saw the unveiling of Georgie Meadows’ wonderful dress created from discarded plastic items, complete with Covid test strips. The COP26 event in Monmouth provided further engagement and an outing for the dress.

Chair of the PFM group, Beccy MacDonald-Lofts, has secured a monthly article slot for Living magazine, where she will be exploring the issues around single-use plastics and the wider climate change agenda. We look forward to her future published works.

Chippenham Park Water Fountain – this project has come to completion and we were delighted to contribute to the new drinking water fountain that will serve the primary sports fields and new children’s playground. The opening ceremony was timed to coincide with that of the playground, both much needed assets for the town and supported by many TM members. The fountain will contribute to reducing single-use plastics and building resilient community here in Monmouth.

Many thanks to Hywel Rees and Roger Finn of the Monmouth Fountains Group, along with our Treasurer Claudia Blair, who together ensured smooth progress throughout.

Apple Pressing – with enhanced Covid precautions, a pressing event was held at Wyesham St James Hall ahead of the Climate Future Festival. Despite a poor apple harvest, the event was fun and informative for participants, linking people to an important local food source.

It is intended to donate the TM apple press and scratter to Benthyg Monmouth (Library of Things), once it becomes operational, in order to make it available to a wider range of groups.

Wyesham Community Woodland – after a bit of a hiatus due to Covid restrictions, the group is active again in woodland management and event planning. Following a kick off meeting, working groups came together to improve paths and benches before organising and putting on the well-attended Halloween Spooktacular family event with ghostly trail and storytelling around the fire, complete with hot chocolate. Further site management is planned by volunteers and MCC.

Collaborations – a good number of TM members continue to promote our ethos though partnerships with other groups from schools, charities, business and local groups to Government bodies at all levels.

At County-level, we participate in initiatives like the Climate Emergency Working Group and Climate Change Champions. In this way, we both help to shape the conversation and participate in the solutions that filter down. We contribute to Monmouth Town Council (MTC) Active Travel group and are pleased to witness the increased cycling infrastructure installed this year; long may it continue.

A new collaboration this year is with the Monmouth School for Boys. In order to contribute to community-based environmental projects, a number of boys have already been enjoyed raking cuttings at the Community Orchard.

Benthyg Monmouth is a ‘Library of Things’ concept coming to town, whereby a large range of items can be borrowed for nominal amounts. The idea is to prevent additional strimmers/tents/sewing machines etc being purchased when they are only required for short term use. It is supported by Welsh Government Circular Economy funding and managed by Monmouthshire County Council. Transition members are actively supporting this project, based in Bridges Community Centre, and are currently forming a volunteer group to operate. The intention is to combine with the Repair Café (ACE) group, due to the complementary nature of reusing and repairing.

Undoubtedly the largest collaboration of climate groups this year produced the Climate Future Festival, organised by ACE Monmouth. This ‘Action on Climate Emergency’ working group was formed after Monmouth Town Council (MTC) declared a Climate Emergency, with the festival as one of its key projects. This resulted in an activity-packed week with over 100 presentations, workshops and other events across the town. Issues across the climate spectrum were highlighted, from social justice to mental wellbeing and right down to protecting our local river. Huge congratulations to the volunteers and organisers, many of whom are also TM members, for pulling off such a mammoth task. As we wind down and digest just how well it went, I know the Festival team are actively looking for next year’s volunteers!

A further collaborative event was put on to mark the COP26 and a number of local environmental groups came together on the Cattle Market grassy area. The ‘mini festival’ format housed various displays, groups and the band Kahlo-After Frida. The atmosphere was positive and optimistic. There was also a procession by the Earthrite group and their giant globe. The focus was on the range of great local initiatives and how the public could participate. To this end, a new leaflet was devised ’18 Ideas to Help Combat Climate Change’, that could be used to start conversations. It is full of local and personal actions that can be taken by everybody. Like the Festival before it, this event proved a great opportunity for like-minded groups to network and formulate new ways of working. It was also a valuable way to engage with the public and garner support and possibly new recruits, whilst the COP26 was still in people’s minds.

 To summarise, it has been a tremendous year of public engagement on climate issues, despite Covid restrictions. This important work was brought to the fore at Monmouth’s first Climate Future Festival, which set a very high bar for following events and showed what can be achieved when local, dedicated people and groups collaborate.

I see Transition members efforts rewarded in the number of success stories and heartening projects that are underway. As always, a giant thank you to the tireless efforts that underpin these. Day after day, our members contribute to a more resilient and sustainable community right here in Monmouth.

That just leaves me to warmly thank my fellow officers for all that they do for Transition Monmouth, and keep the whole operation on track; Simon Durant (Deputy Chair), Vivien Mitchell (Admin/Secretary) and Claudia Blair (Treasurer).

Bryan Miller

Chair – Transition Monmouth

November 2021

Happy birthday … and more good news!

Dear Transitioners

As I write, it was 15 years to the day when Simon Brown declared that during his year as Chair of Monmouth Partnership Forum he would be ‘setting up something green’.  Little did we envisage the amazing community group that Transition Monmouth has become.  Thank you all for your devotion and hard work in making this happen!

And the latest bit of good news is that we have received funding to develop the new Peter Morgan Community Orchard on a strip of land along the Redbrook Road – whooppee!  The land was donated to us for this purpose but we had to find the funding for all the legal formalities, clearing the site, purchasing appropriate trees etc.  It is full steam ahead now, and we are very happy!  Please let us know if you would like to be involved in this marvellous new project – there will be plenty to do and many hands make light work.

At our last meeting, Mark Hand provided us with an enormous amount of information on the current status of the Local Development Plan and other planning issues.  We are very grateful for this – thank you, Mark!  We await developments with eagerness, and optimism!  If you missed the meeting you might like to watch the recording on  

Since then we have had a very successful apple pressing event but there’s another one – 10.30 to 1.30pm on Sunday 9 October at the Rockfield Park Community Centre.  Bring your apples or pears, some clean containers, see how it’s done, and go away with your very own freshly pressed juice.  If you need some apples please contact and we will tell you where there is fruit for picking.

You are encouraged to attend a Cost of Living Summit, 6.30 to 8pm on Monday 10 October at Bridges Community Centre.  Part of Monmouthshire’s Community Action Network, and hosted by GAVO, Monmouthshire Housing, and the MCC Communities Team, this is part of a county effort to ensure that, as a community, we provide the best possible support for each other in these increasingly difficult and dark times. 

Then on Tuesday 11 October, the Community Fridge is holding a celebratory Skittles Night for all the wonderful volunteers that put so much time and effort into this project, and who never meet other members of the team.  Well, there is much to celebrate – since launch just two years ago, over 50 tons of lovely food saved from landfill along with over 6,000 bunches of flowers for use and enjoyment by our community.

To catch up on all the latest and plan for the future, please come to the next Members’ Meeting, 7.30 on Tuesday 4 October.  The agenda plus notes of the September meeting are given below the signature line, and the Zoom link is:-

Topic: Transition Monmouth – October Meeting
Time: Oct 4, 2022 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 869 7935 4103
Passcode: 955344

We look forward to seeing you soon!

AGENDA:  Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting

7.30 on Tuesday 4 October via Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 869 7935 4103
Passcode: 955344


Apologies for absence

Note taker

Notes of the last meeting (copied below) and matters arising

Cost of Living Summit


  • Community Fridge
  • Redbrook Road new orchard site
  • Other Green Spaces

Any other business

Date of next meeting

NOTES:  Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting

6 September 2022 at 7.30 via Zoom

Present:  Bryan Miller, Mary Boase, Charles Boase, Vivien Mitchell, Charles Emes, Claudia Blair, Martin Sweeney, Alison Ellis, Sian Damon, Rebecca Cunningham, Mark Hand, Catrin Maby, Alison Ellis, Catherine Haynes, Haydn Cullen-Jones, Monmouth Town Council, Dick Cole, David Cummings, Emily Fairman, Laura McCartney

Apologies:  Kelly Jackson-Graham, Waltraud Englefield, Emma Bryn

Note taker:  Vivien Mitchell

Local Development Plan (LDP):  Update by Mark Hand

Submissions to the LDP by developers and the community have been completed;  it is to be emphasised that these are a ‘wish list’ and in no way represent the final contents.  A map including all of the submissions is available in the document for each main town.  The procedure now is:-

Factors affecting decisions:-

  • Water quality in the Usk and the Wye:  Much work is being undertaken jointly with various agencies – Welsh Water, NRW, the Environment Agency etc and also across county borders to include particularly Herefordshire and Powys
  • The amount of housing required for a (currently) declining population but one with a severe shortage of social housing
  • Because of the phosphate problem in the rivers, there is currently a moratorium on house building north of Bigsweir Bridge
  • Energy efficiency of housing with work being undertaken with Zero Homes, a preferable design to the Solcer House
  • Impact of the Climate Emergency on the LDP must ensure development and growth are in the right place particularly in regard to infrastructure and active travel and public transport

Sites for protection:  We thanked Mark Hand who has throughout been very supportive of our RECS project on Natural Flood Management and has been of great help in our submission of eight sites for protection. 

Under the Transforming Towns Welsh Government regeneration package, a bid has been submitted for ambitious projects in Monmouth to include refurbishment of Monnow Street, an active travel link with Kingswood Gate, a cycle/footbridge across the Wye.

Much information for us to absorb, much work being undertaken by the new County Councillors.  We look forward to developments, and thanked Mark for his time and care.

Updates from our meeting in July:-

Apple Pressing:  Sunday 18 September at St James’ Hall, Wyesham and on Sunday 9 October at the Rockfield Community Centre, both from 10.30 to 1.30 have been booked and volunteers arranged

Orchard Management Plan:  Bryan requested those interested in discussing the Plan written by Helena Ronicle to let him know and he will arrange a meeting

Skenfrith Flood Prevention Plan:  A report in the Beacon said that NRW is planning on building flood defences.  Charles Boase asked whether NFM (natural flood management) measure had been considered.  Action:  Catrin agreed to find out from Ian Chandler

Mandarin Stone boundary:  A large area of trees has been cut down to create a lorry park.  Action:  Charles Boase suggested a hedge round the park would make the area less unsightly and agreed to approach Mandarin Stone about how this could be expedited

Monmouth Town Council:  Bryan will make a presentation to the People and Places Committee on 10 October to bring the activities of Transition Monmouth to their attention

ACE Monmouth:  Meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 13 September at the Priory to finalise their Action Plan to present to the Town Council – all welcome!

Overmonnow Primary School:  Martin reported that the school is keen to undertake more growing projects and he undertook to obtain a Starter Pack from Keep Wales Tidy for them

Community Fridge:  Claudia reported that:-

  • they were holding a Skittles Night on 11 October as an opportunity for volunteers to get to meet each other
  • they were very pleased to get a visit from Mark Drakeford recently
  • funding needed to be applied for to cover the increased costs, particularly energy.  Martin explained about the procedure for applying to Monmouth Town Council

Redbrook Road orchard site:  The funding application was submitted at the end of July and we expect to hear the outcome very shortly

Date of next meeting:  Tuesday 4 October