The power’s out in the heart of man – take it from your heart, put it in your hand!

On Saturday 10th May three of our North London Transition groups came together with local (and in some cases from further afield) empowered residents to discuss the feasibility of setting up a North London community energy company! On a day which typified the ever-baffling nature of the ‘British Summer’, we were delighted to welcome around seventy attendees brimming with enthusiasm and support.

nlpFirstly, we heard from Agamemnon Otero who gave an enthralling overview of the mightily impressive work he has done as a Director and Project Manager of Brixton Energy;  driving the creation of the first inner-city, co-operatively owned renewable energy project on social housing estates as well as two further projects of the same model. He highlighted the role that such projects can play in fostering community empowerment, citing the apprenticeships that are undertaken by the young residents who reside in the estates. This is an aspect that Hackney Energy are also hoping to adopt, according to our second speaker Millie Darling, who provided an inpiring insight into the work she has done in creating the energy co-operative from scratch. Her main tip – take the initiative and just do it! We then heard from Nigel Farren of Energise Barnet who provided the group with a wealth of advice on the key aspects that need to be considered for such an ambitious project, such as company structure, funding, council support, and the focus on energy production and/or efficiency. After a stimulating and exciting Q&A where the thirst for knowledge was extraordinary, Nigel’s food for thought led us nicely into the second part of the event – our open discussion.

Our enthusiastic energy producers split off into tables to brainstorm some of the key themes of the day; funding, location, company structure, communicating with local authorities, district heating, and marketing. Discussions were vibrant and productive, as well as being a great opportunity to meet some new friendly local faces! Each group then came back to present their interesting and inciteful findings, and as the clock ticked past ten past four we realised that we’d reached the unfortunate time where we needed to wrap up.

The emphasis in Sara’s closing remarks and over the ensuing days has been that of momentum – let’s ensure that the positive energy and can-do spirit is capatilised upon over the coming weeks and the aim is for real and tangible action to be taken over this period to help develop the project.

Finally, thank you to everyone that attended on behalf of TKT, TTP, and TDP – all of your enthusiasm and support was infectious and has filled us all with much excitement and positive energy that we can make a real difference by turning this incredible idea into a wonderful reality.

PS. any ideas and feedback on the event and the discussion going forward are welcomed!

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Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it…

We set up Transition Kentish Town four years ago. We’ve done all kinds of things together – film showings, marmalade making, nettle and elderflower workshops, gardening adventures, apple pressing, draught busting, seed swaps, talks and films.

One of our bigger projects was setting up our community-led veg box scheme in 2012. The idea was to start something that went beyond volunteering, something that could generate income and jobs, build an alternative food supply chain outside the supermarket economy, and lock in social change.

We’re coming together today with our neighbouring Transition Initiatives in Dartmouth Park and Tufnell Park to see if we can create another ambitious social enterprise: a community-owned energy company.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

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Kentish Town Keg – 80 local growers sign up!

Last night saw the distribution of the first batch of prima donna hop plants at The Grafton Pub. A great time was had by all sampling all the local brews and looking ahead to our very own craft beer. Whilst in Brixton, the first year launch of Brixton Beer saw 40 growers sign up – we have been completely amazed to have already 80 local growers on board. Wow!

The Grafton have offered to host a ‘sampling and beer growing’ night for us in May/June….more news soon!

 

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Calling all budding TV stars! Interested in featuring on the new BBC2 ‘Big Allotment Challenge’ programme? Read on!


Hi there,

 

I hope this email finds you well. I’m contacting you from Silver River Productions, a TV company based in London. We are currently in production for a BBC2 primetime gardening show ‘The Big Allotment Challenge’.

 

The series follows a handful of talented amateur kitchen gardeners as they transform a plot of earth into a patch of beauty and reveal all the wonderful possibilities that can be unlocked from allotment growing. Kitchen gardening and growing your own produce is an amazing way to live and this series celebrates that.

 

We are looking for contestants to feature in the series, those who have the skill and dedication and who could dig their way to victory and be crowned the winner of The Big Allotment Challenge. People who can cultivate the perfect carrot, make their green tomatoes into award winning chutney and turn their dahlias and sweet peas into floral arrangements fit for a Queen.

 

So whether you’re an allotmenteer, a city living window box grower, or a gardening enthusiast, we want to hear from you.

 

It couldn’t be easier to apply; all you need to do is email grow@silverriver.tv for an application form. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your help, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards,

Davinia

 

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Gospel Oak Regeneration Project

Since last autumn, some of us have been trying to make sense of the Gospel Oak Regeneration Project – known as “GO Regen” – from a Transition point of view.

Several Kentish Town Transitioners live in or near the borders of Gospel Oak, and it makes sense for TKT to check out what is happening there.

Our impression is that the “GO Regen” project is quite fractured. The Council is nervous about creating a Community Project Group, having been savaged by local residents in the past. So there are bits and pieces of projects going on without much coherence. Most recently, there have been working groups on health, transport and local economy. But meanwhile major demolitions are taking place – the Wellesley Road old people’s home, the former Social Services and Housing office next to Lismore Circus, and soon 8 workshop units on Vicars Road are to be demolished. Have local people had enough say in these major changes?

There is a community meeting planned for February, we think, and perhaps more will become clear then. But it would be good to know if TKT thinks it would like to get involved, or not. There are focussed issues that could be tackled, like recycled packaging for take-away food in Queen’s Crescent, planting nut trees, cycle paths, more planters etc – let’s make a list!

Tom Young has been campaigning on the loss of workspace in Gospel Oak, e.g. a block of workshops in Allcroft Road were demolished recently, and no plan made for replacement workspace. This is surely a Transition issue, since mixed use of buildings in an area make for a stronger and more resilient community, with fewer people travelling to work, and lower cost space available for new start ups – like our own Kentish Town Vegbox – to establish themselves. The same applies to Kentish Town, where a similar loss of workspace is happening.

Tell us what you think!

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Let’s grow some beer!

Our new hop growing project in collaboration with Transition Belsize is now up and running!

You can now buy your own hop plant for £10 and we’ll be planting them all in late February / early March.

Buy your hop plant here.

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Our response to the HS2 proposals

Transition Kentish Town has written a letter in response to the HS2 plans and their impact on Camden Town. You can send your own letter by email to the official consultation at HS2PhaseOneBillES@dialoguebydesign.com or see the consultation website here. The consultation closes on 10th February.

Dear Sir/Madam

We are residents in Kentish Town, London NW5, who form the group Transition Kentish Town – a small part of the worldwide Transition movement which started in Totnes, Devon. We want to make Kentish Town less dependent on fossil fuels, and a happier, greener, more neighbourly place to live. We believe there must be a transition to a world that uses less energy and resources, and that this must be done fairly.

We wish to comment on the HS2 Environmental Statement, which affects our area under CFA2 Camden & HS1 Link, as well as CFA1 Euston. Our urgent overall suggestion is that the HS2 project should terminate at Old Oak Common, with its link with Crossrail. This would obviate the huge disruption and damage to the borough of Camden altogether.

Here is the detail of some of our concerns about the disruption to local communities here in Camden. The Environmental Statement reads like a catalogue of disasters for our area, with little attempt at mitigation. Some of these disasters are:

The proposed loss of 188 socially rented dwellings on the Regent’s Park Estate and surrounds. This is a shocking scandal, affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our borough. What’s more, the Statement does not even seem to get the figures right – saying, in one place, 214 dwellings to be lost, and elsewhere 188 to be lost. This feels like a measure of how little the project cares about this catastrophic loss.

A remaining 50/60 dwellings on the Regent’s Park Estate will be permanently affected by noise and vibration, as will many other properties in our borough.

2 schools will be badly affected – Hawley School’s future is very uncertain; Haverstock School will be adversely affected.

4 community facilities will be lost in the area around Euston Station. Cheerful statements are made about replacement space for St James’s Gardens, for example, but what happens during the 10 or so years waiting for such replacement space? A generation of young people will be grown up in that time.

6 roads around Euston Station will be closed for up to 10 years. Do you have any idea of the consequences to an area already frequently in gridlock, and with some of the highest levels of air pollution in Europe? You can be sure that Kentish Town Road will feel a major knock-on effect with these closures, being already full to capacity.

Re: Grade II listed buildings, you state in the introduction that none will be demolished, but then mention demolition of Grade II listed 14-15 Melton Street, and partial demolition of Camden Road station’s listed facade. These anomalies within the text do nothing to inspire confidence.

Our area of Kentish Town is one of the places affected by the Overground track changes. Did you realize that the Overground line has recently settled into being one of the best used, and highly valued new means of transport in this part of London? The idea that it is to be pulled up and re-arranged so soon is really absurd. If this proposal goes ahead – which we hope it won’t – the disruption to our community in Kentish Town will be significant. Disruption, noise, and gridlock on our main artery road Kentish Town Road, not to mention the knock-on effect of other works. This is not an area waiting to be a construction site. It is a finely balanced community which will suffer seriously from the consequences listed in this Environmental Statement.

We strongly support the idea of putting the Overground link for HS2 underground. This would be an appropriate mitigation, in line with your stated policy of changes in alignment which can be made to avoid excessive problems. We have heard that the costs of such a tunnel will be only £180m. more than currently budgeted – a minor detail compared with £812m. for tunnelling in the Chilterns and £2.7bn. on other tunnels on the rest of the line.

You know it makes sense not to rip up an entire community for the sake of £180m. Please revise your plans to include such a tunnel. Best of all, please take this train to Old Oak Common only, rather than inflicting such damage on our borough.

Yours faithfully,

Transition Kentish Town

Our concerns are similar to those raised by Frank Dobson MP recently in the Camden New Journal.

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Is there any community in fracking?

We had an interesting discussion evening on fracking in November at The Grafton, a debate that led to pretty much everyone in the room coming out against it. We thought that Camden Council should follow Brent’s lead and declare the borough a “frack-free zone”.

Rob Hopkins has just written an interesting blog post about shale gas from a Transition perspective, looking at whether there is any substance to David Cameron’s contention that shale gas will benefit local communities.

Read Rob Hopkins’ blog post on shale gas

I particularly enjoyed this quote:

Why is it OK for large energy companies to buy the rights from the government to a resource that really belongs to the people of this country, in order that they extract it, sell it back to us, take the bulk of the profits elsewhere, leave us with the mess, and having to live in the warmed and more unstable climate thus created?

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The Well-beeing garden at the Kentish Town Health Centre.

This is a very exciting new project. We are working alongside Mel and the team at the Kentish Town Health Centre to create a wonderful Well-Beeing garden by the end of Spring.

We will have monthly events on the last Saturday afternoon of each month between 1pm-3:30pm, please do come along, or join the group.

Coming up:Saturday 25th Jan – Soil improvement. Come and learn how to turn your soil into a rich, diverse and productive soil in which plants will prosper and grow. We will be digging over the site to prep for the Spring plantds

Saturday 22nd Feb – Fruit trees and wildlife tank. Come and learn how to plant bare-rooted fruit shrubs to have delicious soft fruit this Summer!
Ever wanted to learn how to create a mini wildlife pond? Come and join us in helping create a pond for the site. With the name ‘Well-Beeing’ a water feature is a must, and how better than a wildlife pond – ready to attract those March tadpoles!

Saturday 29th March. Lettuce be friends. Come and learn how to grow your own salad and help us create a wonderful bed of salad which we hope to supply to local business Flapjacks on a regular basis.

Saturday 26th April – Planting time. Come and learn about lots of beautiful and  beneficial plants that are not only butterfly and bee friendly, but have healing properties too.

Future workshops/sessions will include: building a green roof, installing a solar powered fountain, horticultural mosaic creation and a host of tincture making whilst drinking site grown chamomile tea!

If you would like to join this group, please get in touch.

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Hop growing campaign launched in Kentish Town

We had a launch event at The Grafton pub on Monday for a new Transition Belsize and Transition Kentish Town project – growing hops to make a batch of local beer!

We’re signing up people to the project over the next couple of months and distributing hop plants in the spring with the audacious aim of using them to brew our very own Kentish Town Keg next autumn.

Interested in getting involved? Sign up to our newsletter to hear more about it soon.

Kentish Keg poster

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