Transition Hull – What did we do in 2011?
It was a busy year for us, running our own activities like film shows, scrappy do workshops, barn dances and developing the Constable St Garden, whilst also working with other green groups in Hull, the East Riding and nationally.
We managed to gain two further grants to support what we do – £300 from the Tudor Trust specifically to kick-start the Constable St Garden, and £500 from Hull City Council Community Initiatives Budget (St Andrews Ward) for ongoing support of our activities, including the Garden.
The Constable St Garden is our newest project , and 2011 was our first growing season. We ran regular sessions on Saturdays and during the school holidays so that local children could become involved in all the range of activities involved in growing. Digging proved particularly popular! We established some beds and had modest yields of a variety of vegetables, began to establish a herb garden, and planted spring bulbs, onions and garlic, and raspberries and strawberries for 2012 – much of which was kindly donated to us. In March one of us attended a Community Allotment course at Trafford Hall to assist us in developing this plot.
Another local venture which got off the ground this year was Thornton Fresh Food Cooperative, the planning for which involved Transition Hull members. We also supported the planning application for an allotment in this area.
In February we organised the venue and arrangements for a two-day Introduction to Permaculture Course in Hull, which 12 people attended and which gave an insight into sustainable growing methods, and designs based on observation. Topics touched on included Forest gardens, polyculture, companion planting and the advantages of NOT digging!
Our spring programme of Film showings attracted a decent audience to the following:
- The Age of Stupid (Feb)
- No Impact Man (March)
- The Vanishing of the Bees (April)
Our regular Scrappy Do Workshops, where kids can make things out of scrap materials, took place during the half term and summer holidays, plus a December one for making Christmas cards and decorations. We held Barn Dances in January, May and November with an experienced leader and home-made supper.
In March we worked with Friends of the Earth and the Green Party to set up a local Networking Event for Environmental and Social Justice, to bring together the various groups active in this area. The key note speaker was Prof Gary Craig, and the event provided the opportunity for groups participating to present themselves to others.
After the local elections we wrote to all the Hull Councillors to introduce ourselves and our activities and events. We gave a number of talks during the year, to Hull Interfaith Group, to residents in Nafferton and to students at the College for International Co-operation and Development at Winestead.
We’ve kept ourselves up to date with current proposals in Hull, such as Energy Works, the Spencer proposal for energy production from waste, and Green Port Hull, the Siemens/ABP proposal for an off-shore wind farm facility. We support the Hull and East Yorkshire Credit Union as an alternative to international banking.
During the better weather we ran a number of stalls at outside events, including Hull Carnival in May, Ella St Festival and Hessle Rd Pram Race & Carnival in July, and Swanland Open Day in September. We took part in the Pickering Road Community Orchard May Day celebration and members supported open days at East Hull Community Farm and at Densholme Organic Farm near Hornsea.
A Transition Hull visit to the Rainbow Community Garden in May was an inspiration to us, and we returned in August with a party of children from the Constable St area to show them what a mature community garden could look like, and to take part in organised activities like making wood-burned signs and glass etching.
Several Transition members attended a Get Your Hands Dirty day in June organised by the Federation of City Farms and Gardens and supported by the Coop. This was held at Bransholme Enterprises and offered lots of practical sessions, such as bee keeping and compost-bin making, and was a great opportunity to meet others and find out about Green Bransholme.
In July several members attended the national Transition Network Conference, held in Liverpool, and met active members of other transition towns.
The autumn proved a particularly busy time for green groups in Hull and we were pleased to see so much going on and be part of it. Raw Hull organised Wild Exchange foraging in September and Green Exchange film & networking in October. The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens ran an October event which brought together different community growing initiatives across the Hull and East Riding area. The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers held a Big Green Weekend event in October at Western Cemetery on Spring Bank, and the annual Hull Green Fair, organised by Friends of the Earth, took place in November.
During the course of the year we developed some resources including the website http://www.transitionhull.co.uk/ and its events calendar, which allows us to advertise events put on by other green groups, and organisations whose local activities support the transition approach, such as the Skyride cycling events, Hull Warm Zone and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. We have accumulated a small library of books on transition/environment and a collection of DVDs on environmental themes. These are listed on our website and are available for members to borrow.
2011 saw the establishment of two other transition groups in the region, Transition Beverley and Home Grown Hornsea , by people who have been involved with Transition Hull, and we look forward to continuing to work with them.
We are going into 2012 with plans to attend a course on Fundraising for Environmental Groups at Trafford Hall in January, and we are awaiting the outcome of a bid to the Hessle Road Carnival & Pram Race Trust for further funding (they sponsored us in 2010). We hope to celebrate 2012 as the Year of the Co-operative in appropriate ways.
JP, Jan 2012