Saturday, 14 November 2009

Norwich, Norfolk

City: pop. 137,000
Timeline: Started January ’08,

Transition Norwich began with a core group of five people who focussed all their attention on awareness raising and the build up to an Unleashing which was to feature Rob Hopkins and local Labour MP, Ian Gibson. These steps included the showing of films, talks with local schools and churches and a day of activities shared with other Climate Change groups with stalls, a Cuban band and screenings of Power of Community at the city’s Arts Centre. The night before the Unleashing the City Council passed a unanimous motion to give support to TN.

The Unleashing was a highly successful event (in spite of the fact Hopkins could not make it – Ben Brangwyn stepped in at the last moment) with 450 people attending, most of whom joined TN’s mailing list. Following shortly after that event 14 theme groups began to meet in the city centre on a regular basis and explore the many aspects of Transition. A year later TN have reorganised their core group which now numbers six people. Outwardly TN is actively engaged with other groups to bring about sustainable change. They are looking at government plans for the region, supporting the sustainable inititatives and challenging the pressure for more roads, houses etc. as well as supporting national campaigns for climate action. Their main in-house focus has shifted towards building up the Resilience Plan (formerly known as the Energy Descent Action Plan!) and the theme groups, ranging from Heart and Soul to Transport to Textiles, having undergone many changes, are now concentrating their efforts on working with this plan. The other two drivers are the Transition Circles and the Communications group which organises events, outside communications, press and publicity and the website (with two blogs) and a monthly bulletin.

Transition Circles mark a departure from the structure set out in the Handbook (though paralleled by the Totnes Together scheme that began at the same time). Their focus is on personal commitment and includes a hub circle known as TN2 and several neighbourhood groups (TN2 is made up of a group of “descenters” who have committed to radically reducing their carbon footprint). All groups discuss the effects of carbon reduction, especially home energy, transport and food, as well as the wider, more philosophical issues. The future plans of TN include the training of several councillors on the City Council and the development of several growing projects – a CSA, a community mill for local flour, a school market garden – as well as their own Transition allotment. The Communications group has also recently been invited to join the co-operatively run OneWorldColumn on the EDP, specifically to discuss the Transition movement.

This is the year the original community blog This Low Carbon Life took off. We also received major funding for the CSA and other Food Projects and work began at our first two sites in Postwick and the Hewett School. our neighbourhood group, NR3 ran a highly successful Magdalen Street Celebration in October which drew enthusiastic crowds from all over the city. We also ran a series of Carbon Conversations, in tandem with our 4 home-grown Transition Circles. Meanwhile the building of a powerdown culture continued with seed swaps, climate actions, skill-shares, cook-ups, celebrations and of course, a LOT of meetings!

Contact Person: Chris Hull 01603 664928

Twitter: tnnorwich

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