The Great Get Together in Wilmslow

On 17th June, Transition Wilmslow joined forces with Wilmslow Quakers, Cycle Wilmslow and the Artisan Market to put on The Great Wilmslow Get Together. This was one of many events that took place that weekend to remember Jo Cox MP. Over 100 stall holders entered into the spirit of the day, many wearing the red and white gingham theme, and decorating their displays. A Great Wilmslow Family Bike Ride including cyclists  from 8 to over 80 took place in the afternoon. The day engendered a spirit of love and peace and hope for our communities to go forward in harmony and understanding. Visitors to our stall signed a book which will be sent to the Jo Cox Foundation (https://www.jocoxfoundation.org) and took photos with messages reflecting Jo Cox’s words: “We have more in common than that which divides us”. Thank you to everyone who came along and in particular to Denise and all the stall holders on the Market who helped to make it such a lovely community event. Special mention for Hoopers who transformed one of their windows! Messages 25A full set of photos are on our Community Connections page.

The Great Wilmslow Get Together and Bike Ride!

We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us: 

Jo Cox MP, murdered a year ago, was a passionate campaigner for a fairer, kinder and more tolerant world. A campaign was recently set up in her name to tackle the silent epidemic of loneliness, and in her memory, her family are supporting the Great Get Together Initiative (www.greatgettogether.org). On the weekend of 17/18 June, communities all over the country are holding events that bring people together in harmony and friendship.

Here in Wilmslow, Transition Wilmslow with the Wilmslow Quakers, Cycle Wilmslow and the Artisan Market, with support from Cheshire East Council,  are celebrating with the red and white gingham Great Get Together theme. So come along to the Wilmslow GGT stall on Saturday 17th June at the Market (from 10am), say hello to your neighbours, have a selfie taken with our Wilmslow GGT team, follow us on twitter (@GGTWilmslow) and most importantly, join our GGT bike ride: fun for all the family, leaving from the Library at 2pm, registration from 1.45pm. Bring your bike!!

We do hope you can come along and join us  any time during the day on the stall and certainly on our bike ride. It should be great fun! wear something red and white if you’d like.

We are looking for volunteers to help on the day or in advance, if you can help out we’d love to hear from you: contact us on the Transition Wilmslow email account.

We hope this will be a fun event to demonstrate that we are one community in Wilmslow: please do join us.

The Inaugural Transition Wilmslow Lecture

The Inaugural Transition Wilmslow Lecture, 10th October 2016

We had a full house for our very first Transition Wilmslow Lecture!

We thought an Annual Lecture  might be a way of appealing to a wider audience, demonstrating that Transition towns are not just about “green” issues but about sustainable communities in general. The Transition Network has set up a website “Reconomy”  http://www.reconomy.org talking about different ways of thinking about the economy, and of course a number of Transition Towns (Lewes, Totnes, Brixton, Bristol, and even…at one point in history..Ambridge!) have their own currency. We invited Derek Whyte, Deputy CEO of Preston City Council, to talk about the work they have done with CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies) in Manchester, and a European Consortium, to look at how they procure goods and services, and ways in which they can procure more locally. It was good to hear they have significantly increased their local procurement, with benefits for local businesses and jobs.

We were delighted to have an expert discussion panel, with Dominic Oakshott from CEC, Richard Jones who was Director of Social Services for Lancashire and now undertakes consultancy work in social care and the charitable sector, and Catherine Mackenzie, Chair of Wilmslow Business Group. Dominic told us that CEC have been working to get more local procurement, and are up to around 25%; Catherine pointed out the challenges for small businesses in negotiating procurement challenges (large companies may have groups of lawyers negotiating these which makes it difficult for small enterprises) and Richard pointed out the real problems in local authority funding at present which make any economic model difficult. There was a lively discussion with the audience  which, as always, raised more questions than it answered, but we agreed that there is a tension between local procurement and having processes in place to ensure fair tendering.  There were lots of positive comments from the audience so we’d like to organise another lecture for next year: any suggestions for speakers gratefully received!

 

Wilmslow Community Energy scheme at risk by Government apparent attacks on solar generation

North East Cheshire Community Energy (NECCE) fears their community solar scheme cannot go ahead due to the Government’s proposed plans to savagely cut support for rooftop solar energy systems.

Before the last election its parent group, Transition Wilmslow, was encouraged by Government support to start a community benefit society to invest in local energy generation and provide funds to plough back in to the wider community. This would build on the work Transition Wilmslow has done with Wilmslow Town Council doing household energy surveys, using a thermal imaging camera.

NECCE has been working hard for the last 9 months to identify suitable community buildings, raise awareness and set up the right structure, engaging with students who were keen to reduce costs for their school. They were particularly excited about getting solar panels on Wilmslow High School as it was spending over £100,000 per year on its power bill.

The benefits would be:

  • cheaper electricity for the school
  • a rate of return to people who invested in the scheme
  • income for a community fund.

In August, our local MP, George Osborne said:

“I am happy to support you wherever I can.”

Andrew Backhouse acting chair of NECCE has said that many people have been very keen to invest into something local that will:

  • pay them a level of interest
  • reduce our carbon footprint
  • help local schools generate their own electricity
  • help children learn about this in the process
  • and cut their costs.

This is now unlikely to happen!

The expected policy change is going to stop any chance of progress. We understand that the Government might want to reduce the cost of energy in the short term – but they should be thinking long term to cut carbon emissions further, taking advantage of local investment, and doing more to boost local community involvement.”

Here’s what Caitlin a sixth form pupil at the local school said

“I think it’s disappointing that the government has changed their stance on the Feed in Tariffs (FITs) considering their huge positive effect on the UK’s energy supply. The initiative’s removal has had a major impact not only nationally but also locally. Our school could really have benefited from solar panels, both environmentally and financially, not to mention the valuable learning resource that would have been created”

The community group have written to George Osborne asking him to support their cause and back subsidy for solar, but so far he is awaiting a response from the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

If you want to know more about community energy locally, or to ask for help in reducing your energy consumption, contact Andrew on Andrew.backhouse@phonecoop.coop or 01625 537087

More details of NECCE  are on – http://necheshirecommunityenergy.org.uk/

Also see http://keepfits.org/news//we-should-call-community-energy-the-mailman

 

12 Monthly Challenges

Our monthly challenges have begun!

Join us each month on a new challenge, a year-long journey towards a more sustainable way of life.  We are more than half way through June with the WWW challenge: Why Waste Water?  Check out our simple water saving tips, and send in your stories and anecdotes.  And keep it up!  Next month, it’s the first part of a Rubbish Diet: reduce food waste!

Smooth Weekend

Successful ‘Big Weekend’

Thanks to all who came to our Skills Share Event Saturday 14 June and learned how to knit, do patchwork, make herb tea, make raised beds for growing vegetables, pedalled the bike to power a blender to make smoothies, drank tea, ate homemade cakes…and much much more.  Look out for our next Skills Share event later in the year.

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The following day Transition Wilmslow was out again, this time at the Wilmslow Artisan Market.  The main feature was the family bike ride, setting off from our stall with 25 cyclists participating in the eight mile route, taking in the new multi-use path through The Carrs.  The pedal powered smoothie maker was once again a crowd puller.  Thanks to Wilmslow Sainsbury’s for providing the fruit on both days.

The smoothie maker will be making another appearance at our stall at the Wilmslow Show, Sunday 13 July.

See you then!

‘Wilmslow to Music’

Transition Wilmslow encourage you to attend the Lindow Singers 50th Anniversary Concert ‘Spirit of Lindow’ at Wilmslow United Reformed Church on the evening of Sunday 10th November at 7.30pm.

Poems, by local poets, about Lindow Moss, the Bollin Valley and Alderley Edge have been set to music by Sasha Johnson Manning and will be performed on the evening.

This performance promotes Wilmslow, its wider community and its natural surroundings – Transition Wilmslow’s aim too!

Read more: www.lindowsingers.org.uk/lsnewscomm.htm

Green Infrastructure Plan Published

This important document, Making the Transition: A Green Infrastructure Plan for Wilmslow and Handforth, was rolled out to the public at the Artisan Market on Saturday 18 May.

Despite it being a cold day, the interest displayed was encouraging and many people stopped at our stall to hear more. Transition Wilmslow’s Environment & Planning Group were especially pleased that the Manchester University students – Jake, Becky, Simon and Matt – who had researched and written the report for their MSc course, were on hand to explain their project.

The report highlights how important our gardens are in making the area a green and pleasant place and additionally underlines their role in protecting against climate change, so we handed out a leaflet Top Tips for Wildlife Gardening giving information on capitalising on this asset and encouraging wildlife in our gardens.

Click the link for more information and to read the full report http://wp.me/P2mX4O-dg