Update on Community Hive project

Hive Project goes into Deep Freeze! There is much irony in a name, did we but know it.

Sadly, three months into a major effort by Transition Town Farnham core group to secure use of a vacant retail premises in The Woolmead, East Street, we have decided that the property is not suitable. Following an electrical survey last month it came as a shock to us that there was no heating available for the premises. The previous tenants, Iceland, used their freezers to provide space heating – very sensible idea as it saved on the installation of any other form of heating. It left us with the considerable additional cost of installing a heating system and this on a temporary basis of six months occupancy. Although we had been able to secure financial backing for normal running costs of the premises, the additional amount required to install a quiet heating system would mean considerable further fund-raising and delaying the project yet again.

The intention of the Community Hive was, and remains, that of establishing an urban hub for Transition Town Farnham somewhere in the central part of the town. We have asked the managing agents of The Woolmead if there are other smaller premises with services still connected that might be available to us. On the basis of the work done it would be a fairly simple matter to agree on the same terms given suitable condition of the property.

This is where we stand at present: our practical ideas regarding the use of a suitable property remain very much those that we have developed in relation to the old Iceland premises. Though adapted to a smaller space we still hope to offer a Yo-Homies social workspace for digital homeworkers. At other times the hub becomes a flexible open-space for arts based engagement with Farnham in transition and for TED style talks and LED workshops.

Local artists have already expressed interest and a start-up group called Collabor-8 has been formed. In the meanwhile a Collabor-8 facebook group will be holding this initiative.

If you are interested in either project, Yo-Homies or Collabor-8, please add a comment here and Angela (for Collabor-8) or Chris (for Yo-Homies) will contact you.


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We have a Facebook Group at last! Try putting a Fb group link up on WordPress…. click on the tag below

Join our Facebook Group”  or scroll down side bar to Social Media

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Crisis on high – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

This extraordinary piece about the Third Pole in China has been circulated by https://radicalecologicaldemocracy.wordpress.com/   So I take the liberty of forwarding it– very sobering, considering that, following that tragic farce of Paris, still nothing substantive is actually being done to reduce emissions.


This quote from the above is especially alarming simply because this will only accelerate the process of melting:

‘But the scientists are discovering another factor that is causing the big melt: pollution from vehicle exhaust and coal burners is now making its way up to the region.

Black carbon particles and dust land on the glaciers and absorb the sun and heat, unlike the white ice that reflects it.’

And he says the current models for global climate do not really know how to take account of the third pole. The implications are obvious.

via Crisis on high – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Swimby Musical

A talented team of artists, actors, musicians and students are making Something Wonderful in My Back Yard – A sparkling new crowd-funded musical about the Transition Movement!

Think of a musical and you might imagine the romance of West Side Story or the razzle dazzle of Chicago. But this new musical [currently being written] has a different setting and tackles a very different subject: how do a motley group of ordinary, argumentative people persuade their make-do-and-mend, muddle-through  market town to embrace community food and energy schemes and become more resilient?

Writer Matt Harvey and composer Thomas Hewitt Jones are well known in their fields – and their allotments – and have previously collaborated on The Same Flame (published by Boosey & Hawkes) and the musical Rumpelstiltskin, produced at the egg, Theatre Royal Bath, last Christmas and set to be revived this year at the MAC Belfast.

Matt and Thomas have been talking to people involved in community energy groups and the Transition network about to develop this heartening new story for our times.

You can download a FREE E-COPY of the SWIMBY Musical songbook right here! We’ve been working with lots of people to trial the songs and you can see all the songs being trialled here in November 2015 Early Material Show!


SWIMBY musical will produce:

  • Something Wonderful in My Back Yard : SWIMBY Musical a sparkling new musical for amateur groups telling the story of a community encountering some of the questions and issues around peak oil and climate change through catchy songs and exuberant dance numbers – we hope this touring show will be available after the July 2016 premier
  • A songbook and backing recordings for the show that will be available for community groups and choirs
  • Merchandise – Postcards, badges, tee-shirts will also be produced during the project.
  • Workshops / engagement tools – to support people in using the musical

To find out more or to get involved please visit our news page

We are still raising funds for this project and would be grateful for your support

Donate Button

This project has been crowd-funded through Kickstarter as Transition Town: The Musical and is currently seeking funding for phase 2 of the project as SWIMBY: The Musical and we are very grateful to our 132 backers from 5 countries!

We are grateful for support from Regen SW, The Big Lottery, Arts Council England, NatraCare and NatureSave Trust.

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The Grassroots Directory

An A-Z guide to the most exciting community-led projects in the UK by Charlotte Du Cann and Mark Watson

246 more pledges needed

📖 Pledge

A Short Midsummer Update

Please sign up a pledge to help get this book published.

Hello everyone – Greetings from grassroots Britain where, no matter how you vote (or don’t!), the key to navigating topsy-turvy times is to get together and do stuff that benefits everyone in the neighbourhood (and beyond).

Most of the projects starring in the Directory have been created in response to current crises, whether global climate change or local economic downturn: repair cafes that regenerate relationships between people as well as umbrellas and mobile phones, community-run bakeries and cafes where everyone can discuss what goes down in the area, local currencies that keep money in local circulation, tool libraries that share shears and stories, allotments that share beans and raspberries, alongside labour and laughs.

Here’s one of our favourite kind of hubs, the South London Makerspace, whose members own, run and maintain three workshop spaces with sewing machines, 3D printing, woodworking, laser cutting, electronics and more:

‘We’re not just a workshop; we’re also a community. We have regular social events, and meetups. Members are encouraged to work on their projects with each other, to collaborate and share skills and knowledge. We also take care of the workshops together. With no paid staff, everyone has to pitch in to keep things safe and tidy.’

Meanwhile as summer kicks in (rather soggily) and elderflowers are foraged and tables set for street parties, we are happy to report that The Grassroots Directory has passed the half way mark and is now 56% funded. We’ve had a busy month sorting out some great projects that have come through from the now long-running sewing cafe in Lancaster and the recently established Glasgow Pound to the just-renovated Real Junk Food Sheffield and the upcoming two-wheeled festival of Tour de Tooting on 3rd July.

This week we’re also going up to London to the Demain (Tomorrow) premiere. This is the documentary by Cyril Dion and Melanie Laurent that has stormed France and had over a million viewers since it launched last December during COP21 in Paris. It’s a world-wide investigation into ‘the most successful experiments in agriculture, energy, habitat, economy, education and democracy, and pieces together a puzzle that might ‘tell a new story of the future’.

Here’s to finding that missing piece of blue sky…


Images: Brixton Pound fiver, designed by Jeremey Deller; Restart party in Belsize Library, by Jonathan Goldberg; Big Lunch, England 2016

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Your invitation to Green Drinks with Transition Farnham, this Tuesday, 21st June, 7.30 pm The Albion,  1 Hale Rd.

 Hi all,

This is to remind you that our next Transition Green Drinks starts at 7.30pm on Tuesday – tomorrow – in The Albion! The pub is a friendly one, family-run and has good food. Our numbers at GDs seems to vary quite a lot: last month we were only four, of whom one, Peppy, was a newcomer. Come along, it you can, as a meeting of 8 -10 people is more dynamic and we can fit snugly into one of the back rooms.

There is quite a lot going on: much preparation has gone into the Community Hive project, most of it shouldered by Chris Homes, and the project is by no means yet secure. I hope we will hear an update from Chris tomorrow. Angela has done sterling work generating interest among UCA graduate alumni in using the Makerspace.

Plans are afoot to develop some outreach “pop-ups” for the Repair Café; it appears that the real challenge is to demonstrate that alternatives to a “throw away” culture exist, are easily accessible and provided on a voluntary basis by skilled “fixers” in Farnham on a regular basis every second Saturday of the month. Just need to rewire the dominant default response: “if it’s broke, bin it” to “if it’s broke, fix it”.

Good news from FLF: they have permission for car-parking adjacent to the new social hub at their Dippenhall site. The new production site at West Farm, Runfold, is ploughed and harrowed ready for a green manure crop. Their Fete on 6th June was a success, raising extra funds and, importantly, a dozen new members to the CSA co-op.

Some Farnham Hoppers have just returned from a weekend away visiting the world’s finest hop museum at Poperinge, in the Westhoek hoplands, near Ypres, Belgium. Fantastic museum; we are mightily inspired! Farnham must have one! However, sad news is that there appears to be a near universal failure of our 2016 hop rhizomes. Urgent commiseration calls to all novice Hoppers required!  Interestingly, our nurseryman puts it down to a mild winter without an adequate “cold shock”; if this is a trend driven by climate change we are going to have to make some creative adaptations. Mike has offered to replace any failed hops next year: we do have a good relationship with our grower!

The spring season of Eco-cinema screenings finishes next month on Tuesday, 12th July, with Project Wild Thing, David Bond’s whacky attempt to reconnect children with nature.

Visit the websites/fb:



Repair Café; Farnham Local Food; Farnham Eco-cinema are all on Facebook too.

See you, tomorrow,  Rob.

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Latest Transition Network Newsletter

June 2016 – Transition Network Newsletter

Themes that include energy in an Entrepreneur Forum, an Energy company and local currency open this newsletter. Plus responding to linguistic diversity, collecting oral histories, reimagining sustainable business, reflections on 10 years transitioning, a film review, an events checklist and the Brexit/Bremain debate continues and there is more.


Demain Petition – please sign

The film Demain that has been received with great acclaim across Europe has so far not been able to agree a distribution deal for the UK. To help in negotiations with distributors, we have started a petition on Change.org to show them that there is a demand for ‘Demain’ to be screened in the UK. Please sign the petition:

The Magic of a LEF
A Local Entrepreneur Forum (LEF) could prove to be one really key piece of ‘technology’ for Transition groups. Here are 7 things a Local Entrepreneur Forum can unlock from the experience in Totnes.

BECBristol Energy Cooperative:
“it felt right for us to be ambitious”

Two directors of Bristol Energy Coop chat to Rob Hopkins about what they do and their ambitious share offer which aimed to raise £10.5 million for renewable energy projects in Bristol.

card and moneyWhat if: ATMs issued local currencies?
Would local money in an ATM be a fig leaf for a system that has run very low on legitimacy? Or could it offer us the possibility of ‘normalising’ local currencies?

Planning for People – an update from the Transitionese Translations Project.
Transitionese is the name we’ve given to a project aiming to expand the International Transition movement’s translation capacities and, therefore, to highlight and support its linguistic diversity writes Deborah Rim Moiso.



Crowdfunding for Transition in Belgium.
The Belgium national Transition hub, Réseau Transition, have just launched a crowdfunder to support their work. Here’s a beautiful video they made (en francais) as part of it…
oral storiesOral histories in Kilburn.
Transition Kensal to Kilburn recently came together with Brent Museum & Archives to do an amazing oral history project and exhibition. Here Carol Low introduces the report they’ve just published about it all.

On ‘renewal’: the story of Pocheco.
Pocheco is a remarkable business near Lille in France who are busily reimagining what a sustainable business could look like. We spoke to Emmanuel Druon and Elizabeth Dinsdale about how crisis offers us the opportunity to “change everything”.

StroudAn evening in Stroud: ’10 years and beyond’
Since forming in 2007, Transition Stroud has been extremely active, and as it enters its 10th year, is focusing on how best to move forward and how to put the best foundations possible beneath the work it has already done.


1 YT logoOne Year in Transition
This life-changing programme for young adults is now recruiting for its fifth year in the UK, and getting ready to welcome the new cohort of students in September. While we help people gain clarity about the work they want to do in the world, and get very practical around Transition Livelihoods, we also offer a deep inner journey towards courage and wisdom. The total cost for the four week-long residentials and a year of tuition fees is £3000.
1YT Portugal is now live http://um-ano.transicaoportugal.net/programa-1at/ and 1YT Sweden launches this September. Email Isabel Carlisle if you want to apply at:isabelcarlisle@transitionnetwork.org  You can find out more from our new website:www.oneyearintransition.org

Brexit or BremainBrexit/Bremain
Our reflections on the topic published in March generated much debate. As our next item on the topic before the Referendum coming soon (a debate with Just-IN Kenrick and Al-EX-is Rowell) will miss the newsletter we include it here as place to continue the discussion before the big day on 23rd June.

meetingActivity of the fortnight:
Planning and Putting on Events: a useful checklist and suggestions to help you create good events.

this changes everythingFilm Review
This Changes Everything
We take a look at Avi Lewis’ recent film interpretation of Naomi Klein’s book ‘This Changes Everything’ and find some key things missing.

“I’m just quite blown over really by the …. number of businesses that now are … making commitments now to get to zero carbon by a certain date.”
Andy O’Brien, Bristol Energy Coop

A record 63.5 GW of wind power was installed worldwide in 2015, demonstrating the maturity of the sector; and showing how renewables are supplying competitive, reliable and clean energy to fuel economic growth and cut CO2 emissions.http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/01/renewable-energy-smashes-global-records-in-2015-report-shows

Cities, communities and companies are leading the rapidly expanding “100% renewable” movement, playing a vital role in advancing the global energy transition. Distributed renewable energy is advancing rapidly to close the gap between the energy haves- and have-nots.
REN21 global status report

Continue reading

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