Saturday, 14 November 2009

Bungay, Suffolk

Market town: pop. 4500
Timeline: Started November ‘07, became official June ’08,
unleashed May 09.

Sustainable Bungay was formed at the end of a Climate Change conference organised by the local Emmanuel Church. At the beginning the group were primarily engaged in discussing local environmental issues and the way forward before they became an official Transition initiative. One of the original group had met Rob Hopkins at a Soil Association conference and was keen to use the Transition structure. The core group then shifted its focus and began to hold stalls at local events, talk with local groups in the town (Rotary Club, Royal British Legion, Horticultural society) and to neighbouring towns, giving advice on local food and starting up initiatives (Beccles, Diss, Halesworth, Framlingham and Woodbridge). They also held a series of Peak Oil films during the summer at the local Fisher Theatre.

Bungay’s most successful events have been their Growing Local Food conference, A Give and Take Day in the Community Hall and a Carfree Day, as part of World Carfree day (Sept 22) in which local schools participated. At their Unleashing in May they invited Shaun Chamberlin to talk about his recently released book, Transition Timeline, and invited everyone at the celebration to join in with creating the Bungay Timeline for the next 20 years. Recently they have held an Energy Day at the local library (where they have a shelf for books on low-carbon living, climate change and peak oil) and presented their Carbon Audit, using the ReapPetite carbon calculator, which they plan to distribute to 400 households in different neighbourhoods in the town.

At present Sustainable Bungay has a core group of about 10-15 people, a mailing list of 100 and working parties engaged in setting up a solar panel buying club, a car share, a pig club, land share and community-supported beehives. The core group comes together twice a month, officially for a core group meeting and unofficially for Green Drinks at the Green Dragon pub. They also produce a quarterly newsletter which is distributed throughout the town and to their mailing list as a PDF, and have made positive links with the local press and enjoyed interviews on Radio Suffolk and the Politics Show on BBC1.

Their main focus in the coming year is the creating of a permaculture garden and Living Library in the local Library courtyard. Like other initiatives in East Anglia they are running a Permaculture course (taught by Graham Burnett of Transition Westcliff) which will take place this January.

After our initial permaculture course, the Library Community Garden was constructed, planted up and formally opened in September. The big news in 2010 was the extraordinary success of the Bungay Community Bees, the first Community Supported Apiculture in the UK, which attracted wide press attention as well as 35 members and six hives. The group also ran a second Give and Take Day, an Apple Day, gave a talk on economics, took part in Transition Suffolk, the Big Climate Connection and a local Cycle Strategy, procured a bio-diesel still, began a reskilling sewing sessions and a themed Green Drinks with speakers and enjoyed desseminating all Transition news on their new website and blog. Next year the food and farming group plan to start an Abundance of Fruit project and work with the local Black Dog Arts to create a Harvest Festival.

Contact Person: Josiah Meldrum
Tel: (01986) 897 097
Twitter: Sbungay

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