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Transition: a Year in Numbers

Is it possible to quantify the effect you are having as an initiative? We are usually so busy ‘just doing stuff’ that we forget to look up and take stock. And it’s not always easy to get a sense of how much difference our individual efforts are making until we look at the bigger picture.

Sometime about now (no-one is sure exactly when we officially shimmered into existence) is the fifth anniversary of Ealing Transition. The following is a numerical account of our fifth year.

5 films. Awareness-raising remains important. Amazingly, our film nights are still popular and always bring new people through the door. This year we repeated the wonderful A Farm for the Future, and showed new films Chasing Ice, Spirit of ’45, Do The Math and More Than Honey. Cumulatively, about 400 people came through the door.

500 renewable energy leaflets. Do The Math in particular really got us thinking about investing positively in the future as a way of galvanising local residents and businesses. So we have set up a partnership with Good Energy and are having some success in chipping away at the big energy companies. A large local window replacement business is now giving out leaflets on our behalf every time they change a window. We have also put in place information about divestment for those interested in investing more ethically.

1000 newspapers. We are also putting the energy leaflets in Transition Free Press. Ealing Transition distributes 250 copies per quarter, which means we have put out 1000 copies this year. Local businesses have fed back that these are very popular with their customers.

1 council leader. Networking has also been fruitful, with links now established with the University of the 3rd Age, Quakers, and Friends of the Earth. We linked up with Streetbank and launched it locally, and met up with Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council.

3 Passive House events (and counting). Energy has moved up our agenda this year. One of our members has completed a Passive House retrofit and is now running regular open events for interested parties. Another group is making great progress with DIY secondary glazing.

400 veg boxes. Food continues to generate a lot of interest. Our community garden group has breathed new life into a largely abandoned allotment, with all plots now in cultivation and regular group get-togethers. The model is one that we are looking to extend out to other allotment sites around the borough. Edible Ealing, our fresh fruit & veg box scheme, celebrated its first year of trading in November and looks good for 2014. The community ‘BeeShare’ scheme had a good crop and was able to distribute a healthy dividend to all 40 shareholders (whilst leaving plenty for the bees, who seem to be enjoying this winter rather more than the last!) And an initiative to grow highly nutritious rose hips was well supported.

1 forest garden. Workdays were held at our two orchards, and off the back of our efforts we managed to secure a grant of £2300 towards a longer-term project to develop a forest garden in a nearby park. We were also thrilled when one of our orchards won second place in London in Bloom (particularly as didn’t know we had entered it – this was done by the local park rangers!)

6 Macy Tuesdays. We started addressing ‘internal’ transition this year, establishing and running monthly meeting based on Joanna Macy’s ‘work that reconnects’. We also invited Chris Johnstone to talk about the idea of Active Hope, another well-attended evening.  

1600 members. I have written separately about our reskilling event, attended by 150 people. Add in eight steering group meetings, fifteen mailers sent out to a database of 1600 people, attending a Green Fayre, a workshop with Ealing Friends of the Earth, a joint initiative with a plastics recycling business, and a relaunched book group and there you have it, a year in Transition and literally thousands of positive connections made.

All that remains is one big 5th birthday party. Cheers!



Caroline Jackson's picture

Pretty impressive, Grant. 

Pretty impressive, Grant.  It's amazing just how much one group can do to put Transition "out there".  You all deserve plenty of birthday cake.  We used to have initiative birthdays but seem to have forgotten in the last couple of years - i think we grew up to quickly. There's a place for celebrating what we have all done and being utterly impressed with ourselves.  May 2014 be even better!