Report on Activities 2012/13

We are one of over 1,000 Transition initiatives around the world, working on community-led responses to climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy, building resilience and happiness.

HKD Transition had a busy year, working on a range of activities all linked to our aims:

  1. to promote awareness of ‘peak oil’ and climate change in our area;
  2. to promote enthusiasm for preparing for the consequences of peak oil and mitigate the effects of climate change;
  3. to develop groups and projects that involve local residents in creating a sustainable future by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, reducing our carbon footprint and increasing our resilience to the changes that lie ahead

We worked on food and energy projects, and some new activities on bees.  We increased our membership and built stronger working relationships with other local organisations

Communications

Our brilliant editor, Astrid Stubbs, continued to produce an excellent and widely read monthly newsletter through the year.  Almost 250 members are now signed up.  Guest columns from Sarah (Made and Making) and Colleen (Ashurst Organics) as well as snippets of all kinds of sustainability news make the newsletter varied and interesting.

Astrid also keeps up with our tweets (@hkdtransition).  She produced publicity materials for all our events during the year, and wrote pieces for Talk About/Village Voice to publicise HKD activities.  In her spare time she’s doing a revamp of our website, due to take to the airwaves in January 2014

 Autumnfest

The Autumnfest was held at Downlands School on 29 September 2012 and was very successful in gathering a large number and an interesting selection of local food and energy related suppliers, along with craft demonstrations and examples of recycling, re-using and other aspects of sustainable living.  There were talks and workshops, as well as refreshments, teas and cakes.  20 dedicated HKD volunteers helped set up and clear away, ran the cafe and provided information to visitors.  There was a great deal of very positive feedback from those attending, but total numbers attending were rather disappointing as we had hoped for more than the previous year.  Stall-holders made similar comments, i.e. a well organised event let down by the limited numbers attending.  (As a result it was decided not to repeat the event in 2013.)

Winter Ceilidh

On 26th January 2013 we held our second very successful Ceilidh, this time at the Hurspierpoint Village Centre. We sold over 100 tickets.  Again, we showcased local suppliers with our ever popular ploughmans, bar and raffle. The band (The Unreel Ceilidh Band) and caller were excellent and great fun was had by all. A special thanks to all the volunteers who helped to make the night such a success, and brought in funds for HKD to use for publicity and for the other activities during the year.

Seed Swap

Our first ever Seed Swap at the Hassocks Village Market on 23 February 2013 was a great success.  Lots of families with children came by to make seed bombs, seed bird feeders and cress’ eggheads’, and take home seeds to grow their vegetables and bee-friendly flowers.  It was such a fun event that we plan to do it again in 2014

Bee Day (‘Join The Buzz’)

On 4th May 2013 we worked in partnership with South Downs Garden Centre to run a ‘join the buzz’ event, which aimed to raise the profile of the importance of bees and to encourage people to look after their gardens with bees in mind. The early May bank holiday weekend is a hugely popular time for people to visit garden centres, so this event was a great success, with hundreds of people collecting information and talking with experts about bees and bee friendly gardening. A repeat is planned for 2014.

Queen of the Sun Screening 

This film show was timed so that it could continue the bee-friendly theme of the Bee Day and Seed Swap. The screening was held (with the much appreciated support of the Ditchling Film Society) in Ditchling Village Hall on 14th June 2013.  There was a good attendance (approx 27 paid entries) and the film was very well received.  After the film, bee-keeper Philip O’Connell led a lively discussion about some of the key issues for our bees.

Partnerships

Making the Transition to a zero-carbon future is going to take the best efforts of everyone in our community, so it’s important for HKD Transition to work with other organisations to achieve that goal.  In the last year we have been involved with a wide range of groups, from the Hassocks Community Partnership to the Mid-Sussex Sustainability Partnership, from the South Downs Garden Centre to the Hassocks market traders, the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere Project to the Mid-Sussex Council for Voluntary Service.

Balcombe Against Fracking

You will all be aware of the anti-fracking protests that have taken place in Balcombe. Several HKD members gave their support in the early days before drilling began by joining the demonstrators and taking food supplies. Those who went were impressed by the thoughtful organisation, determination to engage the local community and educate people about the wider environmental issues. In spite of misrepresentations by the press, most demonstrators at the permanent site were local people though there were representatives at various times from other transition groups.

We note that such widespread community action and a desire for energy security is encouraging co-operatives and a move away from conglomerates, with efforts to democratise the whole sector seeming to be gathering pace. That recognition is leading HKD to look for positive alternatives to fracking, including reducing energy use by energy efficiency, and community-owned renewable energy projects, the theme of our 2013 AGM.

HKD Transition Management Committee

Carolyn Barton, Sarah Furey, Bec Hanley, Juliet Merrifield,

Astrid Stubbs, Chris Thomson, John Willis

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