Transition Town Kingston – 2016-17 AGM & 9th birthday party
Saturday 13 May, 2.30pm, at Kingston Environment Centre
Present – 22 people from TTK and KEC noted/signed in: Nic Fearon-Low (Chair), Hilary Gander (Treasurer), Marilyn Mason (Secretary and note-taker), Des Kay (management team), Kim Bailey (management team), John Fellowes (management team),Tony May (management team), Bob Bollen, Jeff Laurence, Charlie Redman, Deirdre Williams, Amanda Makin, Andrew Connolly, Alison Fure, Damon Hart-Davis, Anne Beales, Chris Beales, Toni Izard, Andrea Campanale, Jean Vidler, Cat Coull, Martin Birley …
- Welcome: NFL welcomed everyone and set out the plan for the afternoon.
- Updates on TTK projects
TTK Energy Group (notes sent by Peter Mason, read by Martin Birley):
– have maintained regular monthly meetings over the year
– have discussed our role for the future and decided that we should become more of a campaigning group
– Damon and Peter have been advising Tamesis Sailing Club on energy saving; the club is taking up the recommendations and a planning to spend about £9000 on energy saving measures.
– are in the final stages of closing down KCE, our energy operating company which we once had high hopes for
– Damon has continued to work hard on the marketing and manufacture of his radiator valve (and offered to expand on this afterwards to anyone interested)
Clive, Alison and Damon are involved in identifying energy savings in Kingston schools (King Athelstan in particular) in partnership with the environmental charity SWLEN which has Kingston Council funding to run energy audits. Alison has extended this to helping teachers prepare lesson plans on energy, and has taken our thermal imaging camera to be used as a teaching aid. These lesson plans could be used by any school and would be published by the EG. Find out more at http://www.earth.org.uk/solar-powered-schools.html In answer to comments and questions it was admitted that, though was easy for schools to save £100s simply by switching off heating when not needed, and Holy Cross had also taken the opportunity to invest in energy-saving measures and save money, engaging schools was hard and depended on interested contacts within the school. TM asked about advice to churches, and while SWLEN funding was specifically for schools, TTK EG would be willing to advise any institution.
Abundance: Toni Izard described the project, which collects unwanted gluts of fruit to distribute to those who can use it, or to turn into juice or cider. The 2016 harvest of 150 kilos was not a good one, with insufficient apples for cider, but 2017’s was likely to be better and volunteers to help gather the fruit would be needed. They were hoping to donate some to local food banks this year. Those present were invited to sample Abundance’s 2015-16 vintage cider after the formal business.
Canbury Community Garden: Marilyn Mason reported that they had achieved a lot in less than a year, transforming a neglected bramble patch and rubbish dump into a promising growing space (though retaining some overgrown corners for wildlife), thanks to help and hard work and advice from many people, including a couple of corporate groups working via TimeBank and Quadron/idverde who did a lot of ground-clearing, Young PlaceShapers, and a gallant handful of regular volunteers who open up the garden for weekend work sessions. Volunteers work with what they find, repurposing materials found under the brambles, using bins, concrete drains and sleepers for planters and raised beds, rescuing an old park bench, and using found and donated wood for raised beds. They have had lots of donations in kind: tools, equipment, seeds and plants, including from KEC’s seed swap, and loans of tools from KEC’s tool library. A big thank you to Quadron/idverde for a lot of support, to Berkeley Homes and CARA for some start-up funds, to Kingston Council for a small grant for topsoil, water-butts and other equipment – and to TTK for holding these funds, for taking the project under its wing, and for providing c £200 for a small shed from the funds left from a former gardening project. Anyone interested was welcome to come along to an open day sometime or to help at a weekend gardening session (see the Canbury Community Garden Facebook page).
Transition Networks and London & SE Hub: John Fellowes gave an update on the growing interest in Transition around the world – there are now 50 countries with Transition groups. The Transition Network was becoming more diverse and global, and was now providing resources, including the Essential Guide, in several languages for new groups wherever they were, as well as encouraging national hubs that could best cater for their own circumstances and cultures. A conference for global hubs would be taking place soon in N Italy. NFL commented that it was good to hear about the growing international spread of the Transition movement.
Tony May reported on the London Hub, which was bringing nearby groups together to share ideas and learn from and inspire each other. He had attended a very interesting and well attended London Reconomy event. There were plans for TTK to twin with Transition Tooting, and NFL had been to their AGM and come away with some good ideas (a Tour de Kingston?)
- Treasurer’s report
Hilary Gander introduced the Income and Expenditure and Balance Sheet as at the end of the TTK financial year on 31/3. The balance stood at £2,301.19, slightly less than last year’s, but this was as it should be – TTK should not be sitting on large amounts of unspent money, as it was good practice to use money left from lapsed projects for similar ones. “Friends” of TTK, TOPO (now dormant) and Kingston Beekeepers had donated £55.50 last year, and the Beekeepers had renewed. There were other regular donations as well as donations at events, detailed in the accounts, and £413 had been received from Kingston Council for Canbury Community Garden. The accounts had been checked by an accountant and signed off by Martin Birley, with just one check, on the cost of insurance, requested.
The 2016-17 Balance Sheet is filed at http://ttkingston.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Balance-Sheet-TTK-31-3-2017.pdf, and Income and Expenditure 2016 -17 at http://ttkingston.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Income-and-ExpenditureTTK-2016-17.pdf
- Chair’s report
NFL gave an overview of the year’s activities not yet covered, including 2 well attended public events – a discussion with some excellent speakers on agro-ecology, and the recent film show “Demain”, both of which drew and engaged audiences of around 60. (For those who missed it, there were other opportunities to see the film as many Transition groups were showing it.) TTK had also been present and shared space with other local environment groups at last year’s Surrey 100 cycling event and Kingston Carnival, increasing our visibility and at every event collecting a few new interested names.
Kingston Environment News, the joint newsletter with KEC was going well, with a rationalisation of the workload, regular monthly newsletters, a slight growth in readership, a better than average Mailchimp report of opening rate and a lower than average bounce rate. MM would discuss further integration – sharing one Mailchimp design and link and one mailing list – with KEC.
For the future, NFL hoped that the Friends scheme could be extended and new and better communications developed. Ideas (and volunteer organisers) for new projects were always welcome. And next year we would be celebrating TTK’s 10th anniversary!
- Guest updates from TTK friends, allies and associates
Andrew Connolly reported on the Kingston £, a project which had been developing since 2012. Local currencies were not only about formalising buying locally and keeping money circulating in the borough – they were interested in efficient use of resources and supporting independent local businesses, which went well with the Transition ethos, and in fact one of Andrew’s first ports of call had been TTK. Leaflets were available giving details of the growing number of businesses that would take K£s. So far, £9000 had been converted, and K£12,000 spent (i e, not converted back to sterling but re-spent in the borough). K£ transactions were currently electronic, but coming soon were forge-proof paper K£ notes. See http://kingstonpound.org/ to sign up.
Jean Vidler gave news of ongoing and upcoming Kingston Environment Centre work and events. The Hogsmill community garden was investing in renewable energy for a water pump, and had a hedgehog project. Kingston Biodiversity Network continued to be very active on conservation work (see the KBN newsletter or website), KEC would be involved in a green open day at New Malden Fire Station, a Rivers Day was planned for September 2017, film nights continued, and KEC volunteers were helping with a medicinal herb and spice garden at the Milaap Centre.
Des Kay updated us on Save The World Club, which had various projects and plans around the borough, including one at Malden Manor. Their stolen caravan had been replaced by an even better donated one, and DK was hoping to extend his collection of left-over supermarket food to take it to food banks and local estates. A recent application for funding had failed because Kingston was considered too affluent, despite obvious pockets of deprivation. He was finding it hard to persuade the Council to provide storage for his collection of re-usables, but had got the use of a boarded-up shop on the Cambridge Road Estate.
Marilyn Mason reported that TTK was well represented in Kingston Environment Forum, a forum for local environmental groups, many of them present at the AGM and/or associates of TTK. Amongst other things KEF has focused this year on the very topical theme of air pollution, which also includes clean transport, such as cycling, and public health. KEF is one way (though not the only one) for a range of local environmental groups to talk to the Council, members of Kingston’s voluntary sector and other local stakeholders, via Kingston Strategic Partnership, which was currently working towards a new Kingston Plan so it was useful to have environmentalist involved. KEF members had had a useful meeting with a local parent concerned about pollution from traffic near her child’s nursery school, compounded by building site traffic and dust, and this growing concern and pressure from residents and voters is probably at least as effective as the more predictable pressure from environmentalists!
Toni Izard reported that an AGM and relaunch of KUTLETS was planned for the autumn.
Knollmead would be holding an open day and AGM soon.
Tolworth Apple Store: Alison Fure gave an illustrated presentation on the project, which aims to restore and protect this historic building associated with Kingston’s apple heritage. She thanked TTK for its donation towards a booklet and asked those present to sign a petition to the Council. See http://www.kbn.uk.com/news/kingston-apples/
Alison also commented on the cumulative impacts of local development along the river, e g, flats and a restaurant over the Barge Dock in N Kingston, and Environment Agency work up-river and down-river, on flood risk (also a topic covered by Kingston Environment Forum a year ago), light pollution and biodiversity. She was working with experts from the OU and local community groups on this, as well as continuing work on monitoring local river water quality and wildlife.
- Management team business & designated roles
NFL issued an open invitation to anyone interested to come along to management team meetings to help plan, pitch ideas, and/or volunteer to take on one of the designated roles of Chair, Secretary or Treasurer. For now, he, HG and MM were willing to continue in these roles.
There were no comments on or objections to publishing last year’s AGM minutes (previously agreed by the management team), so they are now published at http://ttkingston.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/TTK-AGM-2015-16-minutes.pdf
NFL thanked everyone for their contributions over the past year, and for participating in this meeting, and Des Kay proposed a vote of thanks to NFL for chairing TTK and the AGM.
The AGM was followed by refreshments, including birthday cake, and informal networking.