Minutes from Steering Group 11 October 2008

Transition Edinburgh – City-wide Meeting
11th October 2008, 2-4.30pm
City Chambers, Edinburgh
(Minutes version 2)

Meeting format
Around 12 people were present including: Lukas Lehmann (chair), Ric Lander (minute taker), Louise Maguire, Johanna Carrie, Michèle Hipwell, Joe Payne, John Ireson, David Somervelle.

Low attendance was attributed to the meeting coinciding with both University Green Week events and the church’s Climate Change conference.

The first part of the meeting was to regard the election of a Management Committee and the second part of the meeting to include updates from local groups. However, since the discussion covered a many other areas, the minutes are set out in to summarise related discussion rather than adhering to a strict chronological format.
Appointment of a Management Committee
It was explained that the group has already approved a constitution for Transition Edinburgh in order to facilitate making funding applications. In accordance with this constitution a Management Committee of 15 members was to be elected at this meeting. However, the group agreed that the low turn-out and lack of prior discussion about nominations and process meant those present did not have the legitimacy to approve a committee. Therefore it was agreed that the Management Committee should be elected at the next meeting with nominations made prior to the meeting. Furthermore, the following candidates were nominated by those present:
● Eva Schonveld (Portobello group, not present) was nominated by Lukas Lehmann.
● Justin Kenrick (Portobello group, not present) was nominated by Johanna Carrie.
● Lukas Lehmann (Leith, groupless!) was nominated by Johanna Carrie.
● Brian O’Hare (Central group, not present) was nominated by Lukas Lehmann.
● Johanna Carrie (Deep South group) was nominated by Louise Maguire.
● Michèle Hipwell (South Side goup) was nominated by Johanna Carrie.
● Joe Payne (South Side group) was nominated by Michèle Hipwell.
● Hamish Ross (groupless, not present) was nominated by Joe Payne.
● Alister Hamilton (South Side group, not present) was nominated by Johanna Carrie.
● John Ireson (groupless) was nominated by Lukas Lehmann.
● Mandy Meikle (groupless, not present) was nominated by John Ireson.
● Gill Kelly (Central group, not present) was nominated by Michèle Hipwell.
The idea of having committee members from a spread of groups was supported and the group wished to encourage more nominations from local groups.
It was also iterated that local groups should encourage members to come to city wide meetings.
Improved communication systems would aid this and Lukas outlined a number of ideas being worked through to support this including revamping the website. Lukas said he will work more on this and Ric volunteered to help. Local groups looking for wiki-space are encouraged to look at http://www.scottishsustainability.net and Yahoo-groups were recommended for intra-group communication.
Structure and legal issues
There was considerable discussion about how local groups could formally organise themselves under or alongside Transition Edinburgh. Some were in favour of local groups registering as formal organisations and applying for funding as their own structure. David advocated local groups using locally constituted organisations as sources of support where available. Others supported fundraising being organised, for the time being, primarily via the city-wide organisation. The group agreed that local groups should discuss the issue and to revisit this issue in the future.
Local groups reporting
Johanna reported on what was happening in the Deep South group:
● There was five people present at the inaugural meeting, considering themselves as an informal steering group.
● Their next meeting will be on the 27th October in preparation for a big meeting on 26th November at Pentland Community Centre. They are promoting this meeting with flyers and adverts in local free-sheets.
● A number of other ideas have been put forward including food growing spaces, offering free gardening in exchange for growing spaces, allotment sharing, polyethene bottle re-use schemes, toy-swaps, magazine-swaps, car sharing, bus service improvements.
● They discussed that some regeneration of growing spaces may need funding support.
Michèle reported on what was happening in the South Side group:
● 14 people attended the first meeting and there are now 24 on their mailing list giving the group the enviable problem of finding a large enough meeting space!
● Michelle reported that those present came from a wide diversity of skills and the group had lots of energy.
● Ideas they discussed included permaculture spaces, fruit tree collections and energy.
● To progress the group has created five working groups which will have their own meetings.
● The group is also planning to show films at the Forest Café.
● They will meet next on 20th October.

Ric reported on what was happening in the Central group:
● Around seven people attended the first meeting where the main point of discussion was finding some growing space.
● Various options were discussed and the group had ideas of local volunteers they could enlist to help. The space would be a community focal point with involvement from schools etc.
● The group is planning a film and discussion night for November to widen participation.
● There was also brief discussion about secondary glazing, fruit tree collections and consensus decision making practices. The group agreed to consider funding further when there was more of an imperative.
Concluding thoughts
Johanna brought forward the issue of council engagement and the worry of the council hijacking the scheme. David said it’s important to communicate with the council to avoid doing things twice.
Publicity was discussed with Johanna proposing a biannual newsletter to promote the various initiatives being undertaken by members of Transition groups in the city. The creating of a logo based on the ‘TT logo’ was agreed.
The group also discussed some ideas of how to make the meetings more inclusive including rotating the location around various city locations. There was concern about the relative difficulty of accessing areas other than the city centre although it was agreed that the issue could be revisited when local groups were more established.
It was agreed that the next city-wide meeting will be the group’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). It will be held at the City Chambers on Sunday 9th November, 2-4.30pm (or 16th November if the space is not available) and will include:
● An introduction to the Transition movement.
● The election of a Management Committee.
● A summary of what’s happening in local groups.
● Local food (brought by attendees)!

Finally the group agreed that it despite the low turnout it was really encouraging to hear about all the activity taking off in local groups.