Monthly Archives: March 2012

March 2012 Newsletter

1. Green Drinks – come and have a natter each month!
2. Community Design Process for Tavistock Development Area and Community Follow Up: March 24th (Open Meeting) and March 29th (WDBC Community Workshop
3. Energy Savers at Home event review and next steps
4. Energy and Food Group Meeting: Weds 28th March – 19:30. Come and join us!
5. Hearts and Mind
6. Introduction to Permaculture
7. Garden Share Scheme and first garden offered for use!
8. Help Wanted 5
9. Peace Day Pilgrim!
10. Earth Cafe Dates in Plymouth
11. A Request from a former Transition Tavistock member
12. Graft, Sow and Grow
13. Faster Broadband
14. Portas Bid
15. Greek Transition!
16. Why do things seem to come in threes?
17. Forthcoming Dates
18. And Finally…

1. Green Drinks – come and have a natter each month!
April Green Drinks – come and join our Green Drinks on Tuesday 10th April (19:30 till 21:30) at the Market Inn, corner of Whitchurch Road and Pixon Lane in Tavistock. March’s Green Drinks was very lively with seventeen of us catching up or getting to know each other!

2. Community Design Process for Tavistock Development Area and Community Follow Up: March 24th (Open Meeting) and March 29th (WDBC Community Workshop)
As reported in January, a Community Design Workshop was held in Tavistock on the 10th December. A summary of the workshop can be found at The workshop’s purpose was to enable members of the community to provide ideas for the design of the new development areas off Callington Road and Plymouth Road. Many of the attendees felt that we should get together and further discuss our thoughts and ideas. An option might be to clearly document the factors we consider should be taken into account. We would also like to support the design process and keep a watchful eye on how the design principles hold up!
To this effect an open meeting was held in Whitchurch Village Hall on Saturday 24th March – unfortunately we couldn’t get the newsletter out in time to tell you about this, but we will report on it next month. It turned out to be timely as West Devon Borough Council are inviting the community to join a workshop ‘Designing the Okehampton and Tavistock Developments – STAGE TWO’ on Thursday evening March 29th at Kilworthy Park, Tavistock (There is a similar event for the Okehampton developments on Tuesday March 27th). For more details contact; The Strategic Planning Team, West Devon Borough Council, Kilworthy Park, Tavistock, PL19 0BZ. Tel: 01822 813563.

3. Energy Savers at Home event review and next steps
Our partnership with the Tamar Valley AONB launching ‘Energy Savers at Home’ has proved to be very successful. Our first 2 events (Feb 12th & Mar 10th) enabled us to work with 17 innovative householders willing to share their expertise and help us document the work they’ve done. We now have a valuable set of case studies we can build upon (more later). They also opened their homes to share what they’ve done, advise on lessons learnt and their future plans. We’ve also connected with local experts and service providers prepared to give their time to provide advice and share expertise. Importantly, its provided a chance for you to consider how energy conservation and generation measures might work in your own home.

There were over 70 visitors to the Tamar Valley Centre and to the Open Homes on Saturday March 10th. Once again the mini-bus tours proved to be popular and our thanks to the volunteer drivers from TASS who contributed their time in February and March.
Andy Metcalf (New Generation Energy) set the scene in the morning with a very informative presentation on key points to consider in reducing energy consumption and renewable energy generation.
The audience also enjoyed Ben Dancer’s straight forward overview of the key planning considerations for energy saving and renewable projects. Ben is a Senior Planning Officer at West Devon Borough Council. He emphasised the value of the interactive planning model on the planning portal ( Ben was kept very busy through the day discussing projects.
Visitors really appreciated the chance to spend time discussing their ideas with the exhibitors (listed below). We were very grateful for their time and look forward to working together in the future. Refreshments were available throughout the day and particular thanks to Ginsters, Tamar Valley Foods, local cake baking volunteers and Sam Bates for keeping them flowing!
The closing presentations from Stephen Frankel (Chairman – Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network) and Tim Selman (Tamar Valley AONB) were inspiring.
Stephen Frankel’s pragmatic approach is very engaging. He emphasised the added economic value that a local community energy network can bring. Tangible benefits to the community can include new jobs and skills development and importantly reduced energy costs. Why should the Big 6 energy companies gain from our energy spending when at least some of this could help fuel our local economy?
Tim Selman shared the work being developed by the AONB and others around Social Forestry. He explained that significant biodiversity loss was resulting from the lack of active management of non-commercial woodlands. These have the potential to revert to community management and support a number of social enterprises and community activities, delivering real community benefit. There will be more about this in future months.
Presentations are, or will soon be, available on

Community Energy Network Development
There was much interest in establishing our own Community Energy Network and we look forward to moving this forward. We are also seeking to focus on better engagement with those in the community finding energy costs a struggle and providing support in energy reduction, exploring the local opportunities from the Green Deal and seeing if we can get one or two innovative renewable energy projects off the ground.
If you have any ideas or would like to be involved contact Kate Royston  or come along to our next Working Group meeting on the 28th March (see below).

Householders Case Studies
These will provide a valuable ongoing resource for others to learn by. Please feel free to download any of the case studies which are available at savers at home. If you’d like to speak to the householders or see if you can arrange a visit, please get in touch with them. If you’d like to share your experiences in energy saving and/or generating please get in touch or download the Home Information Sheet, complete as much as possible and return to Kate Royston. We’ll write them up into a case study ready for sharing (we’ll make sure you’re happy with the details first).

Exhibitors and other supporting organisations
Our thanks to the organisations supporting Energy Savers at Home including:
o West Devon Borough Council Planning Team, Tavistock (
o New Generation Energy, Crelake Industrial Estate, Tavistock (
o Bellinus Renewable Energy, Broadwoodwidger (
o Celtic Solar, Launceston (
o The Fell Partnership, Merrivale (
o S.C. Cox Building Contractors and the Dartmoor Stove Company, Crelake Industrial Estate, Tavistock (
o The Tamar Joinery Company, Bere Alston (
o Forest Fuels, Okehampton (
o The Silvanus Trust (
o Pure vision LED lighting, Pannier Market, Tavistock (
o Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network, Wadebridge (
o Ginsters, Callington (
o Tamar Valley Foods, Callington (

We’ll keep updated as far as possible with contact details and useful links to other organisations and support. If you have any feedback concerning the programme, its outcomes, the material available on the website … and/or what you might like to see as next steps or future actions please get in touch.
Kate Royston, Transition Tavistock (****) or
Simon Bates, Cordiale Project Officer (****,

Last but not least, our heartfelt thanks to Ilaria Rilievo for all her hard work as a volunteer during her short visit from Italy.

4. Energy and Food Group Meeting: Weds 28th March – 19:30. Come and join us!
Our next meeting will be hosted by Beau & Liz Dobson on 28th March at 19:30 (Stourtown Farm, Sampford Spiney, PL20 6LD). All welcome! Our key focus will be on reviewing our ‘Energy Savers at Home’ programme and planning our next steps; and identifying the key Food related areas we’d like to progress in 2012. Garden Share is an important element (see below). If you can’t make it but would like to get in touch, contact Kate Royston  (01822-*****) or Mike Dennis on 01822-XXXXXX. We can also arrange lift share if you get in touch.

5. Hearts and Minds
When the Transition Movement was started they proposed a sub group entitled Heart and Soul. The idea was to identify what motivates people to change and to explore ways that we can help others to take change on board and develop changes in behaviour to prepare for a new society which is resilient and just.
Al Head is keen to open up an opportunity for Tavistock residents to develop something similar under the heading of Inner Transition or Hearts and Minds (you have the opportunity to influence the choice of name). The group may explore the emotional side of transition, consider what do we need to do to prepare ourselves emotionally for the new society that is coming, and that we are hoping to help create? How are old patterns of feeling and thinking stopping us from thinking positvely about change? How do we help those around us to embrace new ways of thinking, rather than clinging to the past ways of seeing the world?
If we can engage with those in the community who may think that transition is all about large scale projects or are frightened to face the new world ahead and provide them with positive insights into what individuals can do to change from within, then this may help form a more secure foundation for them to step out into what will be our shared tomorrow.
The first meeting of the group will be Wednesday 25th April at 7.30pm at Mike Dennis’ at XX Milton Crescent, Tavistock.
If you are interested and cannot get to the first meeting, please let Al or Mike know and they can feed back to you on the outcomes and future dates.

6. Introduction to Permaculture!
Rebecca Harris, a welcome newcomer to Tavistock and our Transition group, is offering an ‘Introduction to Permaculture’ course on 13th & 14th October 2012, 9am to 5pm at 4 Canal Road, Tavistock.
Permaculture is a systems approach to sustainability. It is a holistic way of thinking, in which we can consciously create productive environments that work with nature rather than against it. We can design for abundance, and enjoy better, healthier, and happier lives, through making more sustainable choices.
The course will provide an introduction to the ethics and principles of permaculture in a practical and hands on way. It will show you how to apply Permaculture to your window-sill, garden, farm and personal life, through observation, design, and getting your permaculture thinking cap on.
£74 with membership to the Permaculture Association of Britain included.
£50 without membership to the Permaculture Association included.
Concessions available – please contact Rebecca.
Please send your name, e-mail address, phone number and home address, along with your payment, to: Rebecca Harris Introduction to Permaculture Course, XXXXXX. Your place will be secured upon receipt of payment.
For more information, please e-mail Rebecca at

7. Garden Share Scheme and first garden offered for use!
We’re aware that there is a lot of demand locally to get the Garden Share scheme off the ground … particularly with spring quickly advancing. Garden Share brings together people who have too much garden and would like someone to come along and make productive use of the area … with those who would love to grow their own, but don’t have any garden. Kit Harbottle and Jackie Eadie have kindly agreed to help adminster the scheme and get it up and running.
Garden Sharers can decide whether they would prefer an informal relationship or something more formal.
If you are interested in sharing your garden … or are looking for a space to garden please get in touch. Drop an email to or call 01822-*****.
Further details will soon be available at

Garden offered for garden share use. Available straight away: A 5m by 15m sheltered but sunny garden plot on the north side of Tavistock, near the Manor estate. Some fruit trees in place, and good soil. Fenced all round with lockable shed. Owner lives offsite and would like to find 1 person or a couple to use it (no children or pets). No mains water or rubbish disposal available, and about 50m from road. If you’re interested please contact as per above.

8. Help Wanted
(a) Tavistock Methodist Church has a strip of land behind its hall which it would like to develop into a wild life garden. The site is mainly enclosed by old walls and is not easy to access so wildlife would be undisturbed. If anyone has any experience of setting up a project like this or can give us any advice, please contact Peter Mawer via the Church Office (01822 611049 between 10am and noon on weekdays) or email We would be grateful for any help.
(b) Some of our members will be aware that the United Reformed Church in Russell Street where we have previously held events applied last year for planning permission to install photovoltaic panels on its roof. The reasons for refusal seem to have been related to the visual appearance within a conservation area and anticipated objections. The church wishes to show an example to the community and is proposing a revised scheme with fewer panels and at a lower level. However, they are keen to garner support in advance of the submission of their application and have requested that all who would wish to show their support would send an email indicating that support to Tony at XXXXX. We need major buildings and prominent social bodies in the community to be setting an example and I would urge you to take 2 minutes of your time to send an email to Tony  in the hope that the local council officials may be persuaded to support examples of renewable energy within the town.
Mike Dennis.

9. Peace Day Pilgrim
Dear All,
As the chair of TaVi Network I felt it was important to let you know about one of our own Community Champions who is doing a fantastic journey this summer…
Did you know that the 21 September each year is the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE? Perhaps not. Did you also know that in 2007, the organisation that persuaded the UNITED NATIONS to adopt the resolution for this day, PEACE ONE DAY, travelled to Afghanistan? On their trip, they managed to persuade the Taleban and the Allied Forces to ceasefire for 24 hours and in that one day they orchestrated aid workers to vaccinate 1.5 MILLION CHILDREN against polio!!
In just one day!!
This year, Peace One Day are aiming to make the 21 September the GLOBAL TRUCE 2012 by recording the LARGEST EVER REDUCTION IN VIOLENCE the world has ever seen and gathering the largest number of people together in the name of peace. In order to raise awareness for this epic task, Maxim Laithwaite is WALKING 1200 MILES through the UK and Ireland. As the PEACE DAY PILGRIM, Maxim will be talking with as many people as possible to encourage them to mark Global Truce in whatever way they see fit. Inspired by SATISH KUMAR, Maxim will be walking the three months WITHOUT MONEY and RELYING ON THE KINDESS OF STRANGERS for everything from food to shelter. This means that the success of the journey relies on the SAME HUMAN SPIRIT that will make Global Truce 2012 work. It will also prove that we have what it takes to make these big changes, even if they are ONE STEP AT A TIME.
Maxim needs support for this amazing journey and there are many ways to get involved:

For more information from his website visit:
To follow on Facebook visit:
To follow on Twitter visit:
To DONATE to the cause to make the journey possible, click here and follow the PayPal link:
And of course don’t forget to sign up to Global Truce 2012 at:

Thank you for your time and kind regards, Christopher Kirwin, Chair of TaVi Network

10. Earth Cafe Dates in Plymouth
The EARTH CAFE is a friendly space for environmental, animal and human rights networking, where relevant local groups can promote their activities. Food served from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Bar open 7pm to 11pm. Guest Speakers, discussions and announcements from 9pm, approx. £1 on the door. Where possible ingredients will be fairtrade and organic. And of course all food is vegan 🙂
The next Earth Cafes are on the following Saturdays at the Fortescue Cellar Bar on Mutley Plain, Plymouth:
– *24 March*
– *21 April*
– *19 May*
– *16 June*
There will then be a break in July & August, and Earth Cafe will return in September.

11. A Request from a former Transition Tavistock member
I was a member of Transition Tavistock until my relocation to Wales last year. It is great to hear what is going on via the newsletters and please say hi to everyone from me. I am currently working on a project for a wind turbine with the Open University and hoping to start building one very soon. I would be grateful for any assistance any of the members could offer by completing my online survey. It is completely confidential and only be used by myself and my tutor to aid my design specification.
The link to the survey is:
Many Thanks, Kenny Edwards

12. Graft, Sow and Grow
The Graft Sow and Grow weekend at Cotehele ( was a wonderful event, and I for one was thrilled to be able to take home an apple tree I’d grafted myself. I’m hoping it will be able to survive the Devon Consols soil!
There were many other things to do and see including a seed swap and some great guest speakers on ‘no-dig’ gardening, moon gardening, poultry keeping, bee keeping and Maristowe’s walled gardens. I thoroughly enjoyed Charles Dowding’s talk and am inspired to move forward with getting my first raised bed in this year!

13. Faster Broadband
Your chance to get better connected!

Devon and Somerset County Councils together with North Somerset, Plymouth, Torbay and Bath & North East Somerset are working to bring you faster broadband and are among the first authorities to secure money from government to do this. Faster broadband not only supports our businesses to be more competitive but also helps communities access services, information and learning opportunities more quickly and cheaply.

This is our one big opportunity to shape the future of our digital services, so it’s vital everyone gets involved to help get Devon and Dartmoor get better connected and up to speed. We need to show there is strong demand for faster broadband and show what current speeds and coverage we have in the area.

To do this you need to fill in a simple survey and say what your current speed is. This helps build a picture of where the worst areas are and what the demand is for better broadband. If you cannot complete the survey online then call the Survey Hotline on 0844 4636887 to register (charged at local rate – 5p/minute). The survey is live until at least August, but please do not delay!
Joanna Rumble, Communities Officer, Dartmoor National Park Authority.

14. Portas Bid
You may have heard that a local partnership is looking at entering the competition to be a Portas Pilot.
The competition has arisen following a piece of work undertaken by Mary Portas for the government on the future of the high street. The purpose of the Portas review was to identify what the government, local authorities, businesses and others can do together to promote the development of new models of prosperous and diverse high streets. The review contained a series of recommendations and can be found at
Although the government has yet to formally respond it has identified the potential for piloting some of the ideas developed by Mary Portas and is inviting high streets to apply for funding to do this. Tavistock will only make a submission to the Department for Communities and Local Government if we believe it is credible. We are therefore also looking to see whether, whatever the outcome, we can use this process as a catalyst to improve partnership work in the management of Tavistock town centre. Tavistock Town Council, West Devon Borough Council, Tavistock Chamber of Commerce and the Tavistock BID (Business Improvement District) are working together, with support from other local groups and organisations including Transition Tavistock to identify how we can improve the management of Tavistock’s ‘High Street’ and what an application could look like.
The bid must be submitted by next Friday (30th March) and the outcome is expected during the second half of May. Competition is very fierce. It is understood that up to 500 towns may be competing for 12 pilot places! We’ll keep you informed of developments!

15. Greek Transition!
Thanks to Sue Hepworth for this!
As incomes fall and retail prices rise, Greeks have found an ingenious way to pay three times less than they usually would for potatoes.
The craze, which some are already starting to call the “Potato Revolution,” began in the northern town of Katerini two weeks ago. A group of local activists set up a website to allow people to order potatoes directly from local farmers, and then pick them up in a parking lot on the weekends. Their project was an instant hit. In the past two weeks, they’ve already sold 100 tons of potatoes, and inspired agricultural students in Thessaloniki to launch a similar program. Dozens more cities across Greece are planning to follow suit.
Since the farmers sell the potatoes for a higher price than they would be able to sell them to distributors – but for less than what supermarkets charge customers – both the farmers and their customers win.
Every little bit helps for crisis-hit Greeks. Austerity measures have led to pensions and salaries being repeatedly slashed, as well as to a steep rise in unemployment – one in five Greeks are now jobless. On top of this, the government has raised taxes in a bid to curb its debt.
To read more, go to:

16. Why do things seem to come in threes?
First there was a bit on the radio this morning that mentioned how pollution of beaches was getting less but that the number of balloons found washed ashore was on the increase and how they were killing marine life.
Second Kate sent me a link to a seminar in Bath about tethered wind turbines which I thought was a bad idea because some must be using helium to keep them airborne and helium is getting scarce.
Finally this article that links the two. Originally from the Guardian ( it does confirm the scarcity of this resource and the dual stupidity of using it to make your voice sound as stupid as you really are and the folly of letting it take balloons into the air as rubbish to kill wildlife. After all the balloon and the message it might carry is no longer of any use when it is out of sight. It annoyed me to have to pick the remains of one of these balloons out of a thorny hedge before curious livestock tried to eat it. It carried a label asking me to contact the charity it had been released by as part of a balloon race.
Please think next time you want to donate to a charity, celebrate a wedding or other event and please don’t use it to lift wind turbines into the ‘stratosphere’. Let’s be a bit more down to earth.
Adrian Hepworth.

17. Forthcoming Dates
March 2012
Energy & Food Group Meeting Weds Mar 28th

April 2012
Green Drinks Tues Apr 10th

May 2012
Green Drinks Tues May 8th

June 2012
Green Drinks Tues June 12th

July 2012
Green Drinks Tues July 10th
Smallholders Weekend, Cotehele Sat/Sun July 28/29th

18. And Finally…
If you go to the cinema at Tavistock Wharf in the near future and get there in time for the advertisements, look out for Recycle Devon’s “Don’t Let Devon Go To Waste” campaign – it’s a really fun advertisement with a strong message about food waste. Perhaps we should start a recipe section in this newsletter or on the website with the emphasis on using leftovers as well as all the tasty items we grow in our gardens and / or find for free.
Tel: 01822-****
c/o Tavistock Taskforce
Unit 2, Pixon Lane Trading Centre
Devon PL19 8DH