A year of Transition for more resilient lives

Looking back over 2023, it’s been a positive year for Transition Town Totnes and the projects we support, all of which are actively building a more resilient local community, financially, socially and environmentally.

Our flagship project, Transition Streets, supported 13 streets to reduce energy use and carbon in their homes and involved 175 participants. It resulted in annual savings per household of £818 and 1.4 tonnes CO2e (as calculated by CarbonSavvy). One of the biggest benefits reported among almost all those who took part were the neighbourhood connections made.

Carol said: “I’ve met people I hadn't met before, even though I’ve lived here for 25 years! We’ve shared all kinds of things, details of our energy-saving tactics and tips, and even feelings about it all... It has helped motivate me, as a single householder and pensioner to seek much-needed support and advice. I’m in the process of applying for a Cosy Homes Grant”.

Many groups went on to establish even more improvements that benefit residents on their street, such as timed road closures to allow children to play safely free of traffic, a Share Garage for safe storage of equipment for everyone to share, as well as communal growing spaces. The project was expertly managed by Ruth Leonard-Williams whose influence has inspired new Transition Streets across the UK including Kingsbridge, Sidmouth, Hertfordshire, and the Isle of Man. 

Incredible Edible is another highlight that has continued to grow throughout the seasons. The winter months saw the pruning of fruit trees in our three community orchards thanks to our volunteer gardeners, the advice of an expert, Charles Staniland from OrchardLink, and the coordination of Paul Bradbury who has taken this community growing initiative to the next level. In Spring, new living walls were installed and in Summer, a series of Garden to Gourmet events took place at Steamer Quay where Paul prepared a delicious meal for volunteers and passers-by from the edible plants grown and picked on site. Who said there was no such thing as a free lunch?

The REconomy Project ran its 11th Local Entrepreneur Forum (LEF) in June at The Royal Seven Stars in Totnes. Four community projects were supported by local people and businesses offering their time, money and resources to help them step up to the next level. This included Bowden Pillars Future, Circlewise, Jamming Station and Wildmoor Tannery.

Inner Transition continued its programme of events, including a fortnightly Book Group, weekly Time to Breathe sessions and regular meetings of its Pulse group members who coordinate these activities.

Totnes Climate Hub has now been open at The Mansion on Fore Street for over a year. It’s been open to the public four days a week, hosting hundreds of residents and visitors, as well as being used for workshops, events, exhibitions, and talks aimed at bringing people together and empowering them to respond to the climate crisis. 

Transition Tours bounced back after a few quiet years following Covid, with a group from Bangor, as well as international visits from France, Korea and China all keen to find out what makes Totnes a town in ‘transition’. Thanks to the support of Hal from Futurebound for coordinating these tours along with the support of Schumacher College, Ambios and The Apricot Centre.

Two popular events from previous years received a welcomed return and a great turn out, including the Open Eco Homes Weekend and the Transition Town Totnes Film Festival.

The Energy Wise Show took place for the second consecutive year, helping people to cut down on their energy use, save money and transition to sustainable sources of energy in their homes.

New activity included foraging walks, engagement with children in EarthStories, Energy Champion trainings, and a conception day for Mother Roots, which supports 'emotional resilience' and 'inclusivity' in the transition by honouring the mothering role in our communities.

You can find out all about our activities and how to get involved on the project pages of this shiny new website, another highlight of 2023. Please also check out our events page. Looking ahead, we will continue to seek opportunities to support people and projects helping us transition away from an uncertain future and finding local solutions that help us to live up to our motto - taking positive action together in a changing world.





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