What should Transition Norwich be?

Observation: There has been concern from various corners of late as to the condition of Transition Norwich, its support and following, its structure, and its membership.

Discussion: Transition Norwich was “unleashed” in October 2008 at a meeting of approximately 400 citizens of Norwich, who formed a core group and working groups to take action forward.  Three and a half years later, many of those working groups have collapsed and the core group no longer meet.  Some projects that came out of Transition Norwich have been successful, and I applaud them wholeheartedly – This Low Carbon Life (a blog which I write articles for), Norwich Farmshare (A community supported agriculture scheme), The Low Carbon Cookbook, Norwich Community Bees, to mention just some of them.

There is still huge energy within the city of Norwich for the ideas behind Transition, even where no projects have yet come into action.  We can see this demonstrated in the support that the Green Party have within Norwich; the number of people who attended and showed their support when the Occupy movement came to town; and the support that there is for other environmental organisations in the city.

The problem is not a lack of energy within the population, but the difficulty of tapping into that energy without sapping it and destroying it, but instead letting it grow and become more mainstream.  And Transition Norwich has failed to do this over the past few years.  It is a fairly closed community of individuals who are all immensely busy with their own things and don’t have time for outreach and newcomers.  When I first tried to get involved with Transition Norwich, it took me several months to find a way in, as it were, and I was really trying to engage with the people already involved.

So what should Transition Norwich be to keep progressing its goals, without becoming bogged down in its own politics, sapping the energy of its most committed members, and excluding those who don’t have the time to dedicate to the cause?

Transition Norwich has always been more of an network of people and organisations [12/6/12 used to read “umbrella organisation” – see comments] than an entity in its own right, and I think this should carry on.  A single Transition organisation may work in a small town, such as Totnes or Lewes (or indeed Bungay, which I get the impression has a successful and thriving initiative), but in a city as large as Norwich, no single organisation can take enough action on its own, and when small, is just too fragmented.

But if Transition Norwich is a network [12/6/12 changed from “umbrella organisation”], rather than a single unit, what does it actually do?  It seems to me that the name of Transition Norwich has been used by local events, organisations and projects to garner support from like-minded individuals who are concerned about peak oil and climate change, whilst Transition Norwich has little to do with the event’s organisation, the organisation’s structure, or the project’s activity.  Rather than condemning this activity as leeching on the name of Transition Norwich (which is tempting), why not provide a structure to do this more officially, and make the biggest feature of Transition Norwich the name.

Should such structure have a constitution, or any legal entity?  In my opinion, yes.  Although we don’t want to form a hierarchical organisation, the lack of constitution altogether means that some people think of Transition Norwich as an organisation in its own right, whilst others think of it as just a name that they can stick on their own projects, without consideration.  Both of these are not really correct, and the only way of making this clear is by writing a constitution that pins down on what terms an individual or organisation should use the name.

Conclusion: Transition Norwich should be a consortium of organisations and individuals in the Greater Norwich area who acknowledge that we are in a period of transition from a world dependant on global oil to a world of local resilience and limited energy availability.

Any organisation or individual should be able to join provided that they acknowledge this fact, but there should be further requirements for members to use the logo and the communication network (i.e. website and mailing lists), which may be a subscription charge or services related to the cause (e.g. a fund-raising or awareness-raising event).

The consortium should have annual general meetings that are held on a consensus basis in which the aforementioned requirements are determined, and in which the communications network is reviewed (including the allocation of money and voluntary resources to network-building tasks).

You may notice above that any action to be taken by a Transition Norwich organisation is not included i.e. TN does not plant gardens, ride bicycles etc. – that’s what its members do, and TN will encourage them in whatever action they want to take in order to progress Transition.

The above is my opinion, and I would love to hear yours, or to hear changes to or development of the ideas that I outline above, so please leave your comments below.  Any relevant comments will be fed back to Transition Norwich via the Norwich In Transition googlegroup, so sign up to that if you want to hear more.

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24 Comments

  1. Jan
    Posted 6 June, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Totally agree, Simeon. I also found it difficult to see a way ‘in’ to Transition, although I find all the arguments compelling and tried a few different routes. I think it’s a great idea to have some guidelines around purpose and guiding principles, but at the same time to make it as open and welcoming as possible. Perhaps a role for Transition Norwich itself, if it becomes a specific entity, could be to organise training and facilitation in new ways of meeting, open democracy, empowering participants, positive action etc. We could all do with a bit of that. A great article.

  2. Andy Bodycombe
    Posted 6 June, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Good piece and very timely as we are looking to move to Norwich from Crystal Palace in London where we have spent the last 2 years getting Crystal Palace Transition Town off the ground. The fact that Norwich has a TT initiative and has such as high number of Green party councillors has been a very significant part of our decision to make the move (plus the fact that I was born there!).

    It’s interesting to see the points you’ve raised as we considered lots of these in CPTT too. There were already lots of very active community groups and organisations and we worked hard to get buy-in and engagement from other community stakeholders rather than reinventing the wheel. “Umbrella group” is a good way of describing it and the idea of bringing a form of coherence and real purpose to the activities of lots of groups has proved really successful. We realised really early on that we needed to change the name of the “Core Group” as it sounded too exclusive – it became a “Steering Group”. A subtle change of name perhaps but it made a big difference. We also realised that we needed a good constitution that clearly defined what we did as an organisation.

    Please don’t recoil but. . . Twitter, Facebook Group and other Green Social Networking sites (such as “Project Dirt”) have been a source of some amazingly dedicated and energetic people. You need to embrace them.

    I’m looking for a way to get involved too and hope that it doesn’t take me too many months.

    All the best. Andy

  3. Posted 6 June, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m not going to recoil at all, Andy! I agree that Twitter and Facebook etc. are great resources, and we do have a twitter account (which I believe Charlotte Du Cann updates fairly frequently), but amongst the initiative in general, social networking take-up has been pretty slow.

    Thanks for your comment!

  4. Posted 7 June, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Good post Simeon, and am important review at this time. I support your idea of an umbrella group. This is similar to what we were planning (but at a smaller scale) for Transition East, as a regional network.

    I am posting below the functions we thought of for Transition East, which would be just as suitable for Transition Norwich seen as an umbrella group. Hope it is useful:
    ============================================

    The Transition Movement is essentially about local people thinking through the problems that face us all for themselves and coming up with solutions that suit them and their communities. At the same time, they need to co-ordinate with each other and with the wider movement.

    This is our challenge: how to set up effective voluntary co-ordination and co-operation without hierarchy? I believe it is the key to the new kind of society we are pioneering in the Transition Movement and will enable us to develop resilient, sustainable communities.

    Thus we want neither a market approach, where all are in competition and driven by money, nor a large institution organised as a hierarchy in which command and control defines the structure. If we take our inspiration from nature we will re-think our structures as clusters of self-organising, autonomous groups which agree to work together to create a new, larger whole which benefits everyone. Fortunately, there are very good models from the best of systems theory.

    A Regional Support Group should be drawn from people within the local initiatives who are willing to take an overview of the region and its activities. It needs to take on the following functions:

    • Stability and conflict resolution: Help local groups to systematically monitor their activities. Are they going well? If not, what can be done? Support for handling conflicts between people is a crucial part of this.

    • Synergy: Look at the activities within a local initiative and across initiatives (ex. nearby food groups) and see where they affect each other or could benefit by working together. For example, by working together it may be possible to set up a regional transport infra-structure which would provide an effective means of moving goods around the region, saving both carbon and money.

    • External relations and planning: Keep an eye on what is happening in the wider transition movement, other relevant organisations, and the broader environment, and use this to help local initiatives plan in general, and to their develop their Energy Descent Action Plans in particular.

    • Policy and identity: Support the membership in formulating overall policy. Most policies will come directly from the Transition ethos but some may be needed for the region in particular.

    These functions are sufficient to enable the separate groups to function as a co-ordinated whole, providing the advantages of scale of a large organisation, but while retaining the autonomy of the separate groups.

  5. Richard Watson
    Posted 7 June, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi Simeon. I found your comments on TN interesting. However I have a feeling that you have not freed yourself from the restraints of “systemisation”. i.e. The need to wrap things up in neat little parcels. and put them in the right pigeon holes. When people get together as a community they normally act together in an emergency without thought for rules and regulations which can and do hamper or delay a solution to the problem. To bring a bureaucratic approach to localised transition initiatives would be like laying on the dead hand of ‘Health and Safety’ and PC, making people wary of commitment. Remember, where there is a shadow there is something causing it. Regards. Richard

  6. Posted 7 June, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I think we need practical projects, and the one I am particularly interested in at the moment is setting up a local currency, as a number of other Transition initiatives have done

  7. Posted 8 June, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Tranistion means lots of things to lots of people, and nothing to others, so while I wouldn’t want to get too wrapped up in navel gazing, I think it might be useful to clarify some key areas where we share views. Not rocket science, just stepping stones to invite those not yet in the know to join those already engaged, also to avoid being a co-optable brand, vulnerable to watering down by Greenwash. I see lots of this, as one of those Green councillors, watching other parties falling over themselves to up their green credentials. Beware the trendy label.

    I see Transition Norwich more like a network than an umbrella group – it’s a core that’s gone forth and multiplied from a shared vision to a diverse range of initiatives.

    The starting point is a recognition of peak everything, and a commitment to work for managed change, rather than sleepwalk into total collapse.

    A line in one of the early Transition books sticks with me – something like ‘if I wait for governments it will be too late, if I do it alone it will be too little, but if I work with others, we may just turn the Titanic’

  8. Posted 12 June, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Simeon,

    Interesting post and thank you for sharing your thoughts on what Transition Norwich is and where it can go from here.

    My view comes from a sideline point of view where I have been briefly involved with Transition in London and only to a small degree in Norwich, partly due to circumstance as well as a desire to not commit myself to things my heart has not fully connected with.

    I agree with Lesley (above) that TN is a network rather than umbrella group. It has and can continue to have involvement in many areas across the city both as a starter and as a co-operative force working with already established groups and events. I’m not sure how restrictions to groups/events coming from a TN background connection or being affiliated with the Transition Network as a whole can be applied without enforcing some sort of hierarchically managed definitions. Thus perhaps it is might be easier to let event/service organisers and users decide whether or not it is a TN organisation. Until a happy medium can be found, I’d rather risk a bit of greenwash than have an unapproachable and thus ineffectual TN.

    Perhaps the fact that TN seems to have dishevelled somewhat from its origins is to be expected, even celebrated. Transition, after all, is just that. A slow and steady move from one position to another that inevitably will morph several times along the way as the specifics of the destination are as yet unknown. I think this factor of BEING in transition (as well as BEING in Transition), is often overlooked amidst the desire to throw off oil and embrace an undefined something else. Whilst holding tight to a dream is essential it is also vital to allow ourselves to be here, in the now, in the process of transitioning on many levels and trusting the process to fulfil itself.

    That may sound a little abstract in these times of upheaval when many are looking for clearly defined answers to get from O to P. However I strongly feel, and this is perhaps why I have not been able to get caught up in the politics and minutia of TN, that an holistic, often abstract view is essential to break the holds that we have been under for hundreds of years.

    I feel we are at a point in time where there is a growing desire for something more than separate groups for spiritual, emotional, physical, practical and other self-defined genres. An embracing of all these aspects and the connections between them are vital if we are to move forward in a truly transitional way.

    Hope you find these thoughts useful.

  9. Posted 12 June, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all your comments so far. I’m not going to answer to any individual points at the moment, but I will do in due course. The one thing I will do is clarify the distinction between umbrella group and network in the original text.

  10. Posted 14 June, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    It’s clear that there are some big issues that Transition Town as it is cannot address so I get what you are saying. I would suggest there are three key areas that need to be addressed if the movement in general is to stay/become truly relevant. They are:
    1. CURRENCY – While the worlds resources are sold for bits of paper (and we work for paper) that banks can create out of nothing, progress is doomed.
    2. FREE & OPEN MARKETS – Every citizen should have the right and opportunity to trade free of charges (and unjust taxes) in the marketplace. Access to the markets is the real “fairtrade”
    3. FAIR CONTRACTS – We have to have a stance against usurious commercial contracts that virtually sell people into slavery and result in the confiscation of assets at home or abroad.

    Whatever the future of Transition Town Norwich it would be great to have some meaningful discussion and action on these points

  11. Posted 14 June, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for raising this Simeon.

    My question would be: If Transition Norwich became an umberella organisation which doesn’t do anything itself, why would I bother to volunteer my time for it? This version of Transition sounds very lacking in passion, and passion is essential if you’re looking for commitment from people.

  12. Posted 15 June, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Elena, what do you see Transition Norwich as if not as a network/umbrella group? What does “Transition Norwich” actually do? Transition Norwich does not plant vegetables (FarmShare and GHCG do that), TN does not keep bees (Norwich Community Bees does that), TN does not lower carbon emissions (individuals do that, or perhaps do so communally through carbon conversations etc)… so TN already is nothing more than a network of people and organisations, wouldn’t you agree?

    The problem that I have with Transition Norwich being a single entity (Not that anyone has actually suggested that it should be) is that it closes off possibilities. It already concerns me that someone who passionately wants to get involved in Transition in Norwich is unable to do so because they have to fit themselves into an existing framework (even though that framework has largely disintegrated), or find themselves half-in-half-out of Transition Norwich, not really knowing where they stand with other members of the group. If that’s not a passion-destroyer, I don’t know what is!

  13. Posted 15 June, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    As a long-standing member of Transition Norwich I find your ‘Transition Norwich doesn’t….’ rather difficult. Myself, Kerry Lane and Tom Harper sat down one night last winter and agreed we needed to get some more things happening in Transition Norwich. We organised a meeting, a venue, refreshments, a way to run the meeting to bring ideas out.

    Everyone there talked passionately about the things they wanted to be different, and Jon Curran was very passionate about community bee-keeping. Energised, he went away and set up Norwich Community Bees.

    Norwich FarmShare exists only because Transition Norwich inspired people to look more closely at Norwich’s food system.

    These projects have grown out of Transition Norwich. Now it’s probably time for the next brood.

    If Transition Norwich ‘doesn’t do’, it’s because people ‘don’t do’. There is no magic dragon keeping anyone out of Transition Norwich, no flaming sword is needed. If you or anyone else wants something to happen, phone five people who you know are associated with Transition and suggest a meet up.

    The whole spirit of Transition is about people just doing stuff- so just do stuff.

  14. Posted 16 June, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks for explaining your view, Elena. I’m not sure I totally agree, possibly because I’m not such a long-standing member of TN. I’ve got ideas about things I’d like to do with Transition, but don’t know all the people and therefore wouldn’t really know where to start when getting something together (in fact, I tried, when I took over responsibility for Economics and Livelihoods Group – it flopped, because I didn’t know the right people to keep the energy up). Also, if I were to just invite those already doing something in Transition Norwich, then we are putting stress on the time of those who are already busy with Transition things, rather than reaching out to new people who want to get involved but aren’t on the right mailing list, or don’t have the same kind of connections.

    I’d really love Transition Norwich not to be just a clique of a few people (however hard they might work to foster a transition to resilience), but an expanding movement that over time will inspire the whole city of the need for resilience.

  15. Alan Cottey
    Posted 24 June, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Some of you will be aware of the Visions for Change proposal which is in being discussed but many of you may not. I think it is relevant to this ‘What Should TN Be’ discussion so I offer a brief overview of the thinking to date about the proposal …

    “VISIONS for CHANGE
    There is a proposal being worked on to create a networking resource for all progressive (promoting a just and sustainable world) groups in the Norwich and District area. The idea is two-pronged
    (i) a website where groups could have and manage a small area to announce their existence and what they are for and to put their events on a calendar
    (ii) a regular slot and meeting place (maybe Playhouse meeting room) for *social* (not business) meetings. The thinking here is that we all have enough earnest business stuff on but Norwich and District lacks a networking tool that will make it easy for groups to know other activists personally and to make and extend friendships. One would would come as and when one felt like it. No pressure.

    The next meeting in the progress towards turning this embryonic idea into reality is
    Tuesday 26 June, 7 – 9 pm, Playhouse meeting room, Norwich. All all welcome.”

    If VfC existed and worked well and became widely known, it could mitigate one of the problems repeated mentioned above, namely the difficulty people find in getting into the loop(s) they want to, and indeed in knowing what is going on.

    I may add that, in my opinion, VfC would not interfere with any TN ‘umbrella group’ or any information service (which would be more detailed than the very brief group entries on the VfC website.

  16. Posted 24 June, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for letting us know, Alan. I do really want to go to the Visions of Change event, but unless a miracle occurs that means I can be in two places at once, I won’t be able to :( however, I eagerly await hearing of the outcomes and please send my apologies. Please do post any of the outcomes here. I’m sure they will be valuable to Transition Norwich.

  17. Polly Ashford
    Posted 24 June, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m quite relieved to read this post, as I don’t feel that I have a clear idea of what Transition Norwich is really about, even after you explained it to me. Incidentally, I’ve lived in Norwich for 6 years and never heard of it before!
    I get the gist of it, of course, but even from the website I can’t see what “I” the Norwich resident am being encouraged to support apart from the individual initiatives. The truth is, surely, that there are a few people who will whole-heartedly throw themselves into a movement like TN and totally understand it, but there are a LOT more who would be interested but fall at the first fence – the lack of a clear structure and definition.

  18. chris
    Posted 24 June, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Id like to be make connections and be involved with Transition Norwich, but I would agree with Polly (above).
    I think it is about widening the handshakes and creating connections with a wider spectrum of groups.
    For example, there has been movement on Norwich Freeconomy and a group is forming. There is hope to make some different activites to encourage new ideas and connections in the community.
    Having a central forum space to embrace ‘people and ideas’ I feel is what is needed.
    For those interested..

    http://forum.justfortheloveofit.org/viewforum.php?f=145&sid=cd3e6a96bc490e7406dc168838bff839

  19. Posted 25 June, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    @ Alan, Hello, I’d not heard of Vision For Change before. Is it a new venture. Sounds great. Also similar to Project Dirt which I used in London both as part of a Transition Wandsworth group and Fairtrade Wandsworth Campaign. Just wondering, if VfC hasn’t already set up a web presence, then Project Dirt might be a viable and useful tool for promoting the group and associated events…
    Also might be useful for other Transition Norwich Groups to advertise what they are doing or plan to do to non-Transition but interested parties?
    http://projectdirt.com/

  20. Alan Cottey
    Posted 26 June, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your interest, Racheblue. Visions for Change is a new venture, or indeed not even that yet because the idea is being worked on. As I said above, the idea is to be a brief info website + regular date when progressives could socialise. Thanks for the mention of Project Dirt. I did not know about it. It looks very good but is not the kind of thing we have in mind because it is big and has detail about many projects and also is specific to ‘green’. We are thinking of a small local venture, easily run by a very few people. The nearest model is Norfolk Mailing http://www.norfolkmailing.info which however is more more oriented to holistic therapy etc and in addition does not have the ‘social meeting for anyone’ element.

    Are you local? If so, it would be great to see you at tonight’s meeting, if that is possible.

  21. Posted 26 June, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Fair enough Alan. It’s good to know what’s already out there though huh. No point re-inventing the wheel!

    Would possibly be interested in participation with VfC but, if I’m out at all tonight, like Simeon, I’ll be elsewhere, at another community organised event! Enjoy :)

  22. Lynda Edwards
    Posted 26 June, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I joined TN during the early stages when it was being set up. When it was set up I subscribed to Transition Norwich e-mails so I knew what was happening in Norwich. I attended some early meetings but found many of them clashing with other meetings I had already decided to be at.

    Why oh why do we have to suffer a torrent of Transition Network e-mails which I have no interest in (no, I don’t want to travel to the Outer Hebrides for an event!) and I cannot work out how to unsubscribe from these annoying e-mails!

  23. Chris Hull
    Posted 27 June, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Hi Simeon and all,

    As one of those first ‘core group’ members/initiators of Transition Norwich, I feel a sense of responsibility and conscience, but also a sense of hope.
    There are a couple of factual corrections to be made as regards how T.N. was set up,however, and what the intention was.
    The ‘core group’ – consistent with the national transition primer – existed in the early stages to plan events leading up to the ‘unleashing’, after which some theme groups formed. There was some deliberation as to whether the core group should continue after the unleashing, and – by a process of detailed meeting and consensus from representatives of those groups – it was decided to continue the core group for a while. However, it did later disband.
    The issue of structure ever since has been consistently discussed. In my professional life I have, and still do, work in structures which by and large serve a purpose. However, in gatherings which have open invitations we are always faced with the challenge of sometimes extremely different starting points of individuals, and a huge diversity of expectation and experience. Some people are used to ‘meeting protocol’, whilst others simply do not like meetings. Some are already very aware and committed to existing organisations, and some are completely new. In one of the most successful organisations I worked for, this sort of scenario was planned for and structures worked out – both for meetings and for networks – which tried to take account of such diversity.
    In the transition network we do have a well-worked tool called ‘open space’ which works well in capturing peoples’ ideas and inspirations, but does not work well for planning in my view.
    I think in reading through your initial comments, Simeon, and some since, there is – not surprisingly – a sense in which some things that are happening, or have happened, have been missed. This is always going to be the case in a place like Norwich where a lot is happening anyway! However, it is important not to make judgments or plan on the assumption that certain things are NOT happening.
    On a more general note, I, personally, have never believed that Transition Norwich, or any other body for that matter, would change the face of Norwich. There are a lot of initiatives that ‘pass under the radar’, and this is likely always to be the case. For me, the projects that have sprung up via T.N. are more like exemplars of infrastructure which could or may be copied, and people can join, rather than big instruments of change in themselves.
    Finally: certainly there are big, latent, sources of people-energy out there waiting for inspiration to get involved. To capture that energy, however, takes a lot of sensitivity and imagination – particularly around levels of involvement and expectations ( Many people who consider joining things, hesitate because they imagine that they are not going to have the capacity/level of commitment required). In my experience this is one of the biggest repellents to new people joining anything.
    So…. on the whole I think T.N. has had some success, and there have also been some important learning points. One of those, by the way, is touched on by the comment above about the number of e-mails and googlegroups that T.N. seemed to spawn!
    The successes have been around the number and diversity of working, practical groups and projects which now operate.

  24. Posted 28 June, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi Chris (Lynda)

    Just to be clear for anyone not involved or on the Transition Norwich email list, Lynda is not getting a torrent of emails form TN (anymore… it was a real problem at the start) but somehow through the Transition Network – not sure how that works or how you might unsubscribe Lynda; I never hear anything from the Transition Network!! I think you might have to use their contact form or phone number here: https://www.transitionnetwork.org/contact and ask to be removed or, if you still can, log in and remove yourself. Sorry not to be more help.

    Speaking from Bungay (where we have and are working through all the same issues as Norwich) and as part of the team supporting FarmShare, I think TN has done and is doing some amazing things: An 8 acre organic market garden; A blog that gets an average of 4000 views a month, a whole host of small projects that, as Chris says, operate largely below the radar, but that are part of creating an atmosphere of change – creating connections and opening up new opportunities to help shape the future of Norwich. This stuff is incremental not sweeping. i know that feels difficult and frustrating when the problems Transition is set up to face seem so huge and immediate – but there its is. Transition is about creating conditions for change, new stories, new norms – not least (again to echo Chris) through practical exemplars.

    In Bungay we wrestle with structure and meeting protocol too and we don’t have any answers – we try to be as open as possible to new people and ideas, just as Norwich does, but it isn’t easy. Everyone is different and expects different things from our initiative – collectively we can’t satisfy all those expectations; sometimes individual projects do and people find they can really commit to something specific (as I think has happened for some with FarmShare in Norwich) .

    If it helps here’s how our approach in Bungay works (and doesn’t):

    We have a monthly planning (or core group if you want) meeting. Anyone can come – usually only 10 or 15 people do (and not always the same people). We fix an agenda at the meeting and nominate a facilitator, then we prioritise the agenda (starting with project reports and up-coming events). We’re strict with time, no one likes a long meeting and some of us go to the pub afterwards. These meetings are always in a public space.

    We have a number of projects running at any one time (5 or 6 at the moment) they meet between the main planning meetings to run their projects – in total probably 50 or 60 people are involved one way or another. We run project management accounts and everyone uses the same bank account and shares insurance and other core costs for their projects – this avoids replication of effort in a small town and allows us to keep track of work and present a coherent Transition Vision across all our efforts (…in theory!)

    We have a monthly social meeting – Green Drinks. This is where we explore new ideas and develop new projects… or just meet for a chat! We tend to have a theme. Sometimes we fill the pub, sometimes half a dozen people come.

    We publish a quarterly (paper) newsletter and print four or five hundred copies for distribution around town – it really works well and helps reach the off-line community and those not looking for us on the web.

    We run visible events in town, keep our website up to date (ish) and regularly send out press releases…

    But still there are probably hundreds of people in Bungay who’ve never heard of us… So in Norwich where SO much is going on and the population is so big (by comp. with Bungay) it’s no wonder that it is hard to get noticed – dont beat yourselves up too much!

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