February 2012 Newsletter

Generation Food If you missed the Food Programme on Radio 4 last week there was plenty of ideas about local food growing and trading:

The Food Programme hears from the people coming up with new ideas and fresh thinking about how and where we produce food for the UK's future.From computer programmers creating networks for people trading food locally through to community supported market gardens, Sheila Dillon finds out how a new generation is coming up with radical models for growing, buying and selling food.

Support the Health and Wellbeing Park
Transition Shipston has received the letter bellow from the Shipston Medical Centre asking for our support for the proposed new Health and Wellbeing Park.
I am writing to ask for your support in raising awareness of and securing support for a proposed new Health and Wellbeing park in Shipston.
As you may know, the Health and Wellbeing Park project, led by Warwickshire County Council (WCC), NHS Warwickshire and the South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT), includes proposals for GP and care services, a community hospital and an Extra Care Housing Scheme, alongside a number of other community services.
Work is now beginning on an Outline Business Case (OBC) to determine whether the project can deliver a financially viable, modern health and care system. The OBC has been jointly commissioned by WCC and the NHS Arden Cluster (comprising NHS Warwickshire and NHS Coventry Primary Care Trusts). They will use the OBC findings to decide whether to proceed to a full business case, which would include site identification and public consultation.
To help ensure the success of the OBC, the support of the local community is vital. The League of Friends of Shipston Hospitals has launched a Pledge of Support, which will be presented to the WCC-led project team in early 2012.
I would be grateful if you would be kind enough to include this information in your next Transition to enable your members to pledge support atwww.shipstonhealthpark.co.uk should they wish to do so.
If you would like further information about the proposals, please call me on 01608 661845.
In the meantime, may I take this opportunity to with you a merry Christmas and happy New Year.
Sent on behalf of Dr Andrew Whiteley, The Medical Centre

Warwickshire Transition Hub
The first meeting of the Warwickshire Transition Hub has been organised for Tuesday 31st January, 6.30. The groups in Warwickshire now include Leamington, Stratford, Shipston, Nuneaton and Warwick. This meeting is an informal get together in a members house in Warwick but it is intended to hold a Warwickshire Hub public event in the Jepherson Gardens, Leamington at the end of March.
For more information contact Dave Passingham.

Renewable Energy for Shipston Businesses?
In November the government announced the Local Energy Assessment Fund, a £10m fund aimed at encouraging local communities to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Transition Shipston in conjunction with Stour United Businesses and the Town Council put together a bid for around £30k aimed at helping local businesses invest in new energy technologies. This would make local companies more competitive and hopefully create jobs... as well as helping the local economy in general. The Town Council agreed to lead the bid which was submitted on 20th January. Here is a summary of the proposal...

This proposal to apply for LEAF funding to support an energy assessment of the commercial, industrial and public buildings (this is unlikely to include retail buildings at this stage due to scale and lower potential), to include an Energy Efficiency Survey, Renewable Energy Assessments, and a Community Engagement plan.
It is envisaged that this will be a collaborative application between Transition Shipston, SUBs and the Town Council as the lead organisation. This funding application, if successful, will aim to provide plans for engaging the local community in decision-making and ensuring that the results of their LEAF-funded activities lead to long-term community benefits.
It will include the forming of a Community Energy Company which will raise money from organisations and individuals in the town in order that investments can be made in some or all of the renewable energy installations that have been identified through the renewable energy assessment.

Wind Energy News...
Wind farms hit high of more than 12% of UK electricity demand
RenewableUK praises National Grid's successful management of high levels of wind output
  • Wind farms reach high of 12.2% of UK's electricity demand on 28th December
  • Strong winds in December allowed UK's wind fleet to meet an average of 5.3% of demand

Top scientist says renewable energy offers best value for money

Developing renewable energy saves £84 per person per year in UK
  • Cost of relying on gas and coal nearly £4,700 per person per year
  • Meanwhile Government reveals companies investing £2.5 billion in renewable energy projects since April, creating 12,000 jobs.

How much does it cost to make electricity from the wind?

Wind energy is one of the cheapest of the renewable energy technologies. It is competitive with new clean coal fired power stations and cheaper than new nuclear power. The cost of wind energy varies according to many factors. An average for a new onshore wind farm in a good location is 3-4 pence per unit, competitive with new coal (2.5-4.5p) and cheaper than new nuclear (4-7p). Electricity from smaller wind farms can be more expensive. For more information see our factsheet on Wind Energy and the UK's 10% Target.

How much of the time do wind turbines produce electricity?

A modern wind turbine produces electricity 70-85% of the time, but it generates different outputs dependent on wind speed. Over the course of a year, it will generate about 30% of the theoretical maximum output. This is known as its load factor. The load factor of conventional power stations is on average 50%.

Transition Thrive...
last November the Transition Network ran a new 2-day course for Transition initiatives who have been going for some time called “Transition Thrive”. The course was at Totnes – where Transition Towns started and where the offices of the Transition Network are based. I travelled down with James Pavitt from Transition Stratford-on-Avon. There were 24 people from Transition initiatives across the country, from London Boroughs to Chesterfield and from Nottingham to Fishguard.
Just strolling through Totnes you feel that it is a different from most towns. The busy main street must be half a mile long with many small, locally owned shops. Most of the streets are narrow with very little traffic which makes it so much easier to get around. None of the historic buildings had been spoiled by neon lights or plastic fa├žades and the Sunday market square was buzzing with local food stalls. The Co-op supermarket is in a discrete little precinct off the main street. At the drink we had in the first pub we walked into we felt immediately at home... the landlord was a big supporter of the Transition Town!
It was a great weekend for socialising and learn from other Transition Initiatives. Some of the groups had achieved some amazing community projects. Totnes themselves have a community energy company which is going to erect a wind farm which will provide up to half of the town's needs. Most of the groups had thriving community garden projects of one sort or another. One or two were not doing so well – like Transition Belgravia (yes there really is a group there!) which had been thriving and then almost collapsed. The delegates without exception were all full of inventiveness and enthusiasm.
The course was new and they were trying out a method called ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ [sic]. The approach is to be positive (hence ‘appreciative’) by concentrating on things that succeeded. It uses the “5D model; Discovery - reflect upon and share positive stories; Dreams - for the future; Design – how do you realise the dreams; Destiny - how do you deliver your dreams.
The best thing for me about this approach was that there was virtually no lecturing... instead we shuffled into various workshops and activities in where we discussed what we had been doing and in this way learnt from the successes of other groups.
Some of the delegates were expecting more formal training but the transition trainers, Naresh (who was one of the founders of the Transition Movement with Rob Hopkins) and Jenny adapted the course on the hoof to give it slightly more structure. They listened to the delegates and didn't pretend that they had all the answers despite their longer experience and the achievements of Transition Totnes.
Here is just a few of the projects carried out successfully by fellow delegates:
Fossil Fuel pedal power – a project to promote pedal power... ‘Transition Teas’ – social gatherings that anyone can come to with tea/coffee and a subject for discussion... Thermal Imaging; can be done on a basic level or professionally but is excellent at building community... Very brief newsletter email that are just have news headings, each one linking to web page with full details... A ‘Transition Pack’ for newcomers, with details on what we are and what we do and ways to become involved... Comic nights. There are comedians who specialise in Transition style comedy (for example Matt Harvey)... ‘Unplugged’ and or candle-lit entertainment is great at involving new people... Trees, or woodland planting projects are popular with families... A ‘stitch and bitch’ club for sewing
This was the first THRIVE event and therefore not perfect but everyone seemed to enjoy meeting like minded fellow transitioners. It was more of a “facilitation” weekend than a conventional course but the knowledge and ideas from the other delegates made it a great learning experience!
Dave Passingham