Transition Town talk

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Further to last week’s short piece on the Brechin Transition Town event on Saturday, February 9, this is a fuller report of the event.

The event was introduced by Grahame Lockhart, Convener of the City of Brechin and District Community Council which was hosting it.

Reverend David Mumford who chaired the seminar outlined the timetable and introduced the speakers Eva Schonveld from Transition Scotland and Sandra Davidson from Transition Mearns (TraM).

Eva, who now lives on Eigg, gave a presentation on transition towns Scotland quoting from her experience in Portobello and schemes in North Howe in Fife and the Black Isle. She highlighted a variety of ways different groups are making the transition and bringing benefits to their local communities.

Eva explained that she previously had a three year grant from Scottish Government to encourage Transition Towns. She also indicated that Transition Towns now existed across the United Kingdom and in many countries around the world.

The aims include making it open and accessible to all, looking at the things we want to change about the community e.g. local employment, high street struggling, climate change, cost of living, poverty, opportunities for young people, unpopular development plans. The important point is that you do not have to wait for someone else to do it.

Outcomes from such activities include:

Living more locally by supporting local producers and businesses

Empowerment

Sense of community

More local jobs

Aware of natural limits

Better local knowledge and care for environment

People know and look after each other better

Fewer slip through the net

Need for new and more diverse skills

Lively and enjoyable place to stay

Sandra has been involved with TraM for five years although it started two years before that. The group has tried different events. Laurencekirk has set up a Community Trust and land at Fettercairn has been leased at a peppercorn rent for a community allotment.

She highlighted some of the difficulties in keeping interest going and also mentioned that whilst Laurencekirk is less successful because its commuter focus, the smaller Mearns communities are more active. There are future events planned and they plan to look at starting up a social enterprise.

When Sandra was asked if grants are still available her response was that there are but a lot of money is going into the central belt, which is seen as poorer.

There was an opportunity for those attending to break into smaller groups to agree questions for the Q and A session for Eva and Sandra. Both responded fully to the variety of questions and gave some hints on how Brechin could start to look at becoming a Transition City.

This just gives a flavour of the meeting but anyone interested in finding out more can come along to the Cuban Evening in the Northern Hotel on Friday, April 5. The venue is confirmed and ticket price and details will be advised as they are fixed.