Following is a personal resume of the six month history of TF by Lorely Lloyd.
Rob Hopkins at PC Convergence
In September 2006 I attended the annual Permaculture Convergence and was excited to hear Rob Hopkins present the Transition Town model. I should add that I was excited after surviving the doom and gloom of seeing ‘The End of Suburbia’ on the Friday night and the Peak Oil details reinforced in Rob’s talk on Saturday morning.
The TT concept came just at the time, (after 35 years of talking the greeny talk), when I was starting to feel like a ‘gloomy greeny’, jaded and limp. There had been a distinct lack of success in galvanising mainstream communities to work together to deal with our environmental and social challenges. Agenda 21 had been the great green hope for ‘a just and sustainable future’ but its greatest success existed only in the rhetoric of political ideology. Though ‘Peak Oil’, had blipped on my horizon it had been ignored as far too big too handle.
Another, (though more drastic) attempt to make things happen was to stand for local council election; and nearly four years later I was fairly certain that I would not try for a second term. Yet another community participation tool did not generate too much enthusiasm. But Rob and the TT model was at last the lever I had been searching for so I enrolled on Rob’s ‘Skilling up for Power Down’ course and spent many Mondays testing the rail network between Falmouth/Truro and Totnes.
Falmouth awareness raising
Transition Falmouth started on the night that Transition Town Totnes was launched, 26th September 2006.
I approached several Falmouth people, including Town Clerk, Town Manager, Chair of Town Forum and several Town Councillors, and following their support, I put the Transition Town concept very briefly to The Town Council. Members welcomed it, some stating that it was good to finally see some practical commitment to sustainability for the town and district.
Our first TF meeting, was 10th of the 10th at 10am 2006 in Falmouth Town Council Chambers. Rob Hopkins gave a talk on Peak Oil and Transition Towns and helped us plan our first steps towards a Local Energy Descent Action Plan. The gathering represented an excellent cross section of the community from Town Clerk to teenager. Jennifer Gray attended from Penwith and on her return Transition Penwith emerged.
We followed this meeting with fortnightly sessions in The WI Hall and homes. Some film showings (using a computer monitor, a bit taxing with an audience of 30), ‘End of Suburbia’, Power of Community, ‘Oil, Smoke and Mirrors’, ‘History of Oil’ etc. At Christmas we had a ‘Power Down Party’ using ‘Wallace, Gromitt and Carlotta’ to help us design sustainable festivities for 2026 and set our goals to achieve it.
Currently we have added Jubilee Wharf to our venues and speakers to give inspiration for our subgroups and start the process of ‘skilling up for power down’.
The Interest Groups
The Building Group: following a presentation by Andrew Marsden (of Jubilee Wharf fame) worked out our current goals to: raise awareness on low impact design through visits to existing projects and hold a ‘Planning For Real’ exercise to explore all aspects of integrated planning.
The Food Group: Talk by Nick Swallow on Food and Agriculture. The group in partnership with Allotment Association, Falmouth Green Centre and Community Energy Plus are holding a ‘Seedy Saturday’ seed swap event on April 21st.
The Arts and Crafts group, ‘Darnit’, is currently developing experienced knitters and banner makers.
The Health group has a talk on Herbs in April and a course on ‘Coaching for Change’ is being offered.
The Waste/Resources group are collating a wealth of information.
The Transport group: Local activities with FalFoE, Transport Infrastructure Group and Town Forum working party.
Central to the ethos of TF is to create partnerships with existing groups and interested individuals. The intention is to offer practical opportunities for public engagement – information, skill sharing and having fun.
Existing partnerships with:
Falmouth Town Council
Falmouth Town Centre Forum
Local Youth Strategy Forum
Falmouth Poverty Forum
Cornwall Waste Action
Falmouth Green Centre
Falmouth Allotment Association
Falmouth Friends of the Earth
Community Energy Plus
Cornwall Community Climate Forum
So far our aim has been to be financially self sustaining, hence our activities have been kept small and manageable. Rob Hopkins came for the cost of his train ticket. Venue hire has been covered by donations. The leaflet print run is being funded by donations from individuals in the promotion group. And Rob F has donated this website.
Low key activities to date: Leafleted various events including film showings of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Word of mouth.
Used www.reallifetools.org.uk to offer information and contact until this TF website went online in March.
Set up two google groups (discussion and info).
Posters for our first partnership event: Seedy Saturday being distributed.
TF leaflet coming soon.
Until we have big promotional events we are offering power down parties/hostings. e.g. Someone sets a date and offers the showing of a film in their home to a small group.
V&V: TF Veterans (people comfortable with explaining the gruesome details of Climate Change and Peak Oil whilst reassuringly explain the hope that local collective creativity offers) to support TF Virgins.
We have been offered some excellent information/awareness opportunities both from the local University and The Poly. These take time to set up so watch this space.