Forming working groups
How best to ensure that your Transition initiative is taking a rounded approach to building community resilience, rather than just focusing on, say, energy and food?
Transition works by harnessing the different passions of its participants. Unlike a single-issue campaigning organisation, there are many different ways into Transition, depending on your interest – hence the role of working groups. Working or theme groups come into being in different ways.
Actively initiate or facilitate the emergence of working groups on food, energy, education and so on; whatever people see as important. See the role of the wider Transition initiative as being to support this.
Transition works by harnessing the different passions of its participants. Unlike a single-issue campaigning organisation, there are many different ways into Transition, depending on your interest – hence the role of working groups. Working or theme groups come into being in different ways. Sometimes the initiative tries to kick-start particular groups: for example, by running events about energy to initiate an energy group. Sometimes groups form spontaneously. Sometimes a Transition initiative ‘adopts’ a group already active in the community, to support and build on their progress. Here are a few tips for how to maximise the success of a working group.
A group usually works best with a core of people who steer it and who meet regularly, but who are open to whoever else wants to come. Each group should continually ask itself ‘who isn’t here who should be here?’, looking for new people with relevant skills, in addition to asking ‘what is a vision for a low-energy [insert name of community] in relation to this and what might a timetable for that look like?’ By asking these questions, the group is assembling ideas and information that will enable them to put together their section of the Energy Descent Action Plan, as well as forming and developing practical projects.
Each group should have access to the relevant section of the project’s website and be able to use the logo in its publicity materials. Also, it is worth remembering that you cannot assume that everyone who offers to form and facilitate a group can do so effectively. Offering early training in RUNNING EFFECTIVE MEETINGS (Tools for Transition No.4, page xx) can make the difference between success and failure for some groups.
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Transition in Action: Which working groups to have?
There is no ideal mix of groups. Each group is determined by those involved. For example (to chose a few at random), Transition Town Lewes has the following: 10:10, Arts, Business, Currency, Energy, Food, Health, Heart and Soul, Schools, Textiles, Transport, Village Connections (linking the town to the surrounding villages), Waste and Water. Transition Town Berkhamsted has Energy, Food, Transport, Waste and Food groups, and Transition City Lancaster has Energy, Building and Design for Life, Food and Growing, Heart and Soul, Real Wealth and Livelihoods, Skills for Community Building, Transition Arts, Transition Education, Travel And Transport groups and the Transition City Lancaster Networking Group.