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Transition City Bristol

Stencilled man rubbing eyes on wood-effect background

Background

The Transition City Bristol project was set up in January 2007, by one of the three co-founders of the Transition Town Network. In response to an email, sent to like-minded individuals, a group of six people came together to work out the mechanics of creating a city wide initiative that would reach the 400,000 residents. Using a plethora of flyers, local media publicity, word of mouth and established email networks, the group’s first activity was to hold a public meeting outlining their vision, namely, tackling peak oil and climate change, together and as a community. This was attended by 40 people. Following the meeting came a series of gatherings to inform the population of the plans afoot and to encourage involvement, looking at preferred structures, desired activities and projects. The reception was highly positive with lots of local interest and enthusiasm. Progress was limited only by capacity to deliver.

The Group now has a voluntary Steering Group, meeting monthly, and Project Team meeting weekly. It has also got ten neighbourhood sub groups, which set up by themselves, rather than in response to a ‘plan’, and so in all about 40 voluntary members. It is incorporated as a company and limited by guarantee.

What are they doing?

The aim of the group has been to focus on local residents and communities although increasingly the city council are becoming involved with the project, as are schools. The project is clear that in the initial stages it is very important to ensure its branding is clearly marked as a grassroots community venture in order that the activity is not seen as a council initiative. The activities are numerous and varied – there is the dual role of ensuring cohesion between the transition neighbourhood sub groups and supporting them in action on the ground, as well as the city-wide strategy and key events. Events and actions include practical projects, film showings and lots of media presence. The core role is to raise awareness via a huge range of activities to ensure that all potential audiences are reached.

One very popular activity that the group carried out was in conjunction with a local plant nursery. The group bought 600 fruit trees at cost, and then sold them on at cost, with advice on how to plant them. Not only did the entire stock go, but since the project completed, hundreds of enquiries have continued to come in to take up the offer.

The group has received small grants to about £4,000 which have been used to cover training costs, capacity building activities, equipment, printing, and a bursary for office space. It now is contemplating applying for grant funding to cover the cost of a coordinator.

Transition City Bristol Top Tip

Find people who’ve done the activity you want to so and see what worked what didn’t work. Then go and do it your own way. Make it fun!

Helpful resources

Reading: Energy Descent Pathways (PDF); The Transition Handbook

Websites: http://transitiontowns.org; www.transitiontowns.org/Totnes; http://transitionbristol.org. Also Rob Hopkins’ blog at http://transitionculture.org

Contact details

Name: Transition Network
Web address: http://transitiontowns.org

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