30 Sept 2021 Avenue St Andrews, Southampton
After some socially-distanced “mingling” over delicious nibbles from Cafe Thrive, we heard from the co-chairs about all the work that had happened during lockdown, including funds from the Transition Network Bounce Forward funding which (with match funding from the Southampton Collective) enabled projects in St Denys, Bitterne Park and Northam/St Marys/Nicholstown using the “What If…” process of imagining our future to inspire local action. These resulted in a local newspaper launched in St Denys, a mobile refreshments milk float, a Postbox of Imagination and a great video of the imaginings of attendees at TriFest. Bounce Forward funding also supported Bitterne Park Growing Places which resulted in a huge quantity of vegetable seeds being given away, a community wide seed and plant trail, and our Top of the Crops event at the Trifest festival in August. With help from the Mayflower 400 project we created a video of thanks. Two new projects have recently launched: Planting Native Plants and Make’n’mend.
Other projects (notably the Green Garden Consultancy and Rat-proof composting) continued during lockdown. The repair cafe had to close but repairers helped with ad hoc requests, we held an online repair tuition event and several outdoor bike repair sessions at St Denys with funding from Cycling UK. We had been on the verge of reprinting our Sustainable Living Guide when lockdown began. We have funds for a reprint now but first need to update the Guide.
The treasurer’s report noted that although our income had fallen during the pandemic we still have funds which could be used to help get further new projects off the ground.
Next, participants had the opportunity to meet people involved in various green initiatives in the city. In alphabetical order:
Adrian explained our rat-proof composting project, which aims to get people composting a wider variety of items, thus removing problem materials from the waste stream. Our new designs have been very successful and we would like to see them taken up more widely.
Kevin, the ecologist who runs our Green Gardening Consultancy and Planting Native Plants projects realised that whilst many people understand some of the features of green and wildlife gardening, the principles that underpin them are less well understood. Knowing some of these underpinning principles would help people better adapt their own gardens. It was suggested a longer session on this topic might be useful.
Liz led useful discussions about how asking “What if…” can help focus others on positive responses. Imagining our city in 2030 evoked pictures of tranquility – tree-lined streets where birds could be heard – a slower pace – a much more pleasant life. And, on returning to 2021, it all felt achievable.
Eco-home owner Lyn answered lots of questions about Air Source Heat Pumps, offered simple water saving ideas, discussed what should and shouldn’t be put in Southampton’s recycling bins (and where to recycle the things that can’t. The conclusion was “It’s easy being green” – do what you can at big cost/small cost/no cost.
Milo, standing in for Margaret who was unfortunately unable to be present, explained the Southampton National Park City project. This aims to create more spaces that are safe to play in and where nature can flourish. More info at https://southampton-national-park.com/
Simon, Mark and Angela described their experiences of volunteering at repair cafes. Modern manufacturers do not make repair easy! Nevertheless our repairers are resourceful people and there is scope for much more repairing, and maybe more repair cafe venues.
Feedback from participants was positive, and we may run a similar event again.
Proceedings closed with the election of committee members for the next year.