Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change

Monday, 12 March 2018

TTT's new series of practical & participative local 'Carbon Conversations' is running in April and May

Carbon Conversations is back! Our new series of six free meetings in April & May in SW16 - organised by TTT's Ben Cuddon. The six facilitated workshops enable individuals to explore how they can reduce their personal carbon footprints. The meetings bring together small groups of local people to discuss the areas of our lives where we can reduce our own carbon emissions: travel, food, domestic energy, consumption and waste.

A quote from a past participant: "The beauty of Carbon Conversations is the optimism, creativity and shared ideas"

During the six weekly sessions you'll discuss in a supportive atmosphere all the practicalities of making your own 'low-carbon lifestyle' changes. Making these changes is never one size fits all. 

Exploring your own situation, start point and preferences is so valuable and makes the series personal and practical. 
The meetings are well structured with a mix of games, activities and exercises.

Click here for the flyer and see below for summary details:
Venue: in SW16 near Streatham Common Station 
Timings: all meetings run from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm 
Dates: six Thursdays from April 19th to May 24th, one a week
Free: there is no fee to take part. The only cost is currently £14 for the workbook and learning materials, which TTT charges at cost. Sessions are led for free by TTT's trained Carbon Conversations facilitators. 

TTT has run over 10 series of Carbon Conversations since 2011. 
On average participants are able to identfy how to reduce their own carbon footprints by a third - by over 4 tonnes of carbon.
Wait a minute! 
What does 'four tonnes of carbon' mean? 
You may already be worried about shorthand & jargon. The way we facilitate the meetings means that you do not need to be an expert
Although it's a complex subject, we guarantee that by the end of the sessions you will learn useful new language and concepts and understand the practical elements of household carbon reduction.

This is a great place to start if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, meet some friendly and like-minded people and explore the topic as it affects you, rather than being lectured at!

As a participant said: 
"At the last session I don't think anybody wanted to leave!"

 Join us to find out how to reduce heat loss from your home! 

Friday, 9 March 2018

Visit to Ecobuild 2018

Ecobuild was on this week at London's ExCel and as usual showcased the latest developments in sustainable approaches to the built environment. As well as the stands for the latest in high performance building materials, renewable energy sources and innovative design, a few more specifically environmental issues were also represented from WWF and the Woodland Trust to Airlite pollution neutralising paint, UN Sustainable Develpoment goals & Population Matters.
Man's impact on the Planet (Population Matters)
Particularly enjoyed this graphic sculpture of human impact and a thought provoking seminar with architect Dr Walter Stahel (see on the Circular Economy. Stahel promotes a different way of thinking about resources that incorporates all the costs from cradle to cradle with re-use and recyclability embedded in building and product development from the start. He thinks of human labour as the "ultimate sustainable resource" which can replace mechanised energy consumption to reduce the human resource footprint. "We should design objects that don't end up as plastic waste on a beach in Hawaii". I think we could all agree with that. 
Meanwhile locally Adam David Ge-Saelis creates buildings, furniture, lighting and interiors using a minimum of 95% recycled waste. He helped create Ecobuild's Waste Zone this year and will be showcasing some of his work to the public in Brixton in April.  
Adam has a lot of great ideas and has made some impressive structures with re-used materials. See for more details.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Funding awarded for 2018 'Welcoming Signs' partnership project with CARAS. Plus: new creative community workshops running March-May.

We're planning the fourth year of TTT's partnership with CARAS the Tooting charity working with refugee and asylum-seekers. 
We're thrilled that the partnership project has been awarded funding for 2018 from Team London and Thrive LDN's ‘Young London Inspired’ fund: "improving the lives and mental health of young Londoners by helping them to volunteer".

So, in 2018 one of our main focus areas will be enabling young people from CARAS to volunteer in the community. That means working with young people to imagine and design what they could contribute locally and what benefit that would have, as well as carrying out the voluntary time.

The whole 2018 young people's project is called 'Welcoming Signs'. Many elements of our CARAS project involved community benefit and relationships in the past: for example these pallet-benches made with the CARAS Youth Club with welcoming invitations written in many languages had starring roles at TTT's Tooting Twirl in July 2017:


We're fortunate and grateful that several local partner organisations in Tootings have been 'reaching in' to CARAS, seeking and offering voluntary projects. 
We'll share more very soon on the range of activities we're exploring. 

Plus we'll continue to work through 2018 with other age groups served by CARAS: families, the women's group, adults.

The first community events with young people from CARAS included as contributors are starting in the next few weeks: on March 16th and 23rd we're facilitating Signs of Welcome workshops across the border in Wimbledon, at The Sound Lounge pop-up venue. 
It's the same event run two times. 
Six other local venues have agreed to offer more Signs of Welcome sessions between March and May as project partners. 
The materials from the 'Signs' will always be re-purposed, saved from going to waste. Thanks to another partner, the Work and Play Scrapstore in Tooting for your support!

The details: Signs of Welcome creative workshops this March

“What would you like to say to welcome people who are new to the community?”

Dates: Friday 16th March & Friday 23rd March
Venue: The Sound Lounge, 8 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1RE
Timings: 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
What to expect: (download the flier here)

o   All welcome to join us for a free, facilitated and fun crafts workshop using re-purposed materials – we’ll provide everything you need

o   Create your own messages of welcome to people new to the community. You can write in any language!

o   Take the signs home, or leave them with us for exhibition during Refugee Week in June 2018

o   Adults and children will all enjoy the workshop

o   We’ve chosen afternoons after school to allow children and families to take part together

Tooting friends are welcome to come over to Wimbledon to enjoy the first workshops and the familiar faces at The Sound Lounge.

Please contact Charles by email here if you have any queries. Up-to-date news on the workshops will be on TTT's facebook page & shared by twitter.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

A party marking the end of our Gardens of Refuge project year with asylum-seekers and refugees. Plus 'Signs of Welcome': to be continued in 2018.

It's the end of the project year for our partnership with the CARAS team and the refugees and asylum-seekers they serve.

Of course we are going to do more all together in 2018, and we're planning that now.

Yesterday was the end-of-year CARAS Saturday Youth Club party, enjoyed by over 50 young people and volunteers. 

It was a high-energy afternoon with continuous home-made food to keep us going.

 Alongside the ping pong and games:
  • we did more carpentry on the big pallet-table we're making for the Tooting Community garden
  • we made lots of Christmas baubles as gifts
  • we made over 20 macramé knotted hanging planters, using offcuts of T shirts as the strings. We were thrilled to have Tooting spider plants and tradescantia from Share Community garden.
  • we finished the party with a gift game of choice and chance from the roll of the dice to select, give, and swap presents
The youth club is always a wonderful few hours when lots is offered and appreciated - all at the same time. 

So we're sharing photos mixed together, like the day itself. Its impact and welcome always feels much more than the sum of all the separate activities spread over 3 or 4 hours.

Signs of Welcome workshop
Late in November we had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop at the Museum Of London. CARAS is included in the fascinating exhibition called The City is Ours. It's on until 2nd January and all ages would enjoy the mix of imagination, facts and ideas about living in complex diverse city like London. It's well worth visiting!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Leo's Garden - a green gem in the heart of Tooting. Plus: valuing our local green spaces in London.

Leo's Garden, the highly-valued and hidden-away balcony garden at South Thames College in Tooting held a celebratory event this week. STC staff and friends marked two years on from its opening (see our 2015 blog report here) and did some autumn planting.

This kind of local oasis is so relevant to a new study published this week by the Mayor of London, the National Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund. It's called Natural capital accounts for public green space in London & is intended to help shape future policy and decision-making. All the info here. In turn the report is relevant to the Tooting Bec & Broadway Neighbourhood Forum's work on developing a local Neighbourhood Plan.  

Back to Leo's Garden:

A sunny November day...
The photo shows, from left to right: 
Peter Mayhew-Smith, Principal of South Thames Colleges (STC) Group,  
Rosemary Scott, (STC Branch UCU member),  
Angie Birtill (STC UCU H&S Convenor),  
Kate Turney (STC UCU Environment Convenor),  
Jamie Stevenson Director of Business Centre STC.

Named in memory of STC Facilities Officer 'Leo' Mumuney Olusanya, the garden is a great example of a green space that's developed because people in the team had the vision and perseverance to create it. 

Angie Birtill said at the opening: 
> "We wanted a place where workers could rest and enjoy our own garden right above Tooting Broadway: an area badly lacking in green spaces.

> We know this garden isn’t going to get rid of our stress all by itself, but it will always be a lovely place for people to recuperate when they can find time to do so.

> We know that Leo’s Garden won’t do away with the toxic air we breathe daily in London. However plants in Leo’s garden help restore clean air while offering us a place to rest. The tests that the University and College Union, Greener Jobs Alliance and Furzedown Low Carbon Zone have carried out directly outside this Tooting site show that the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide are over twice the legal limit. We need to continue campaigning on this."

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

November update on our 'Gardens of Refuge' refugee & asylum project partnership with CARAS

This time last year we were in the middle of the voting period for the Aviva Community Fund, where the Gardens of Refuge joint project with the Tooting charity CARAS won £10,000 - thanks to the votes of many friends near and far. 
This time last year...the voting was hot!
We're nearing the end of 2017's diverse activities with refugee and asylum-seeker beneficiaries. TTT has co-facilitated over 20 workshops in 2017 with the project...there's two more to go before Xmas.

Here's an update of activities since the summer - and a view forwards as we plan for 2018. We've included notes about each of these: 
  1. Family Group
  2. Youth Club for unaccompanied young people
  3. Adults Group
  4. Stay With Love exhibition
  5. 2018 plans
  6. Would you like to contribute?
1 Family Group
With the CARAS team we co-facilitated a Family Activity Day over October half term in the Hall at All Saints, Tooting. 50 people joined in to meet and reconnect, do some fun creative activities for all ages and enjoy lunch cooked by members of the group.


The big activity was carving pumpkins - and before that of course you have to get hands-on to scoop out the seeds. Any reluctance to get sticky hands was very quickly fact this stage became an activity of its own as hollowing-out took over and the children shared their new skills (none had ever done this before). Then: sketching and designing, cutting and admiring, collecting candles to take home: adults and children made short work of 20 pumpkins.

We created more Signs of Welcome:
These narrow strips of timber - some of them are the slats from discarded bed frames - are a design challenge where the artist develops what they want to say as a message, works out the fit, and paints directly or uses stencils. 

The arttist can also tidy up an earlier it's a collective project too.
Thanks Jeni, Nikki, Chuck, Hannah, Isabel and more.
We're going to continue creating 'Signs' in other workshops with adults and children. The Signs evolved as a combination of our Community Garden crop markers and the welcoming words in many languages that decorate the four pallet-benches made by the Youth Club in July.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

All welcome to the Pollinator Paths Wandsworth Project Celebration, Sat 11th November

We're very pleased to invite everyone who loves urban gardening with insects and other wildlife in mind to our free Pollinator Paths Wandsworth Project Harvest Celebration. This is a celebration sharing ideas, experience, fun, citizen science and community.

Here's the basic info about the project which has been running all year, linking together dozens of local gardeners and four community gardens in the borough and led by the London Sustainability Exchange.

We'll be thanking participants, sharing experience, enjoying workshops and other fun activities, networking and celebrating.

We're also welcoming anyone - gardener, community garden or other group - who might like to join a future project aimed at enhancing London's green spaces and biodiversity.

Project methods will always be accessible, encouraging people to grow pollinator-friendly plants in gardens, planters or balconies.

Plenty for families, friends and neighbours of all ages to do:
  • Enjoy the 'Your Local Insects Need Your Love' workshop 
  • Marvel at 'Worm Composting For Salads and Herbs Indoors'
  • Design and build Plastic Bottle Ladybird Houses to take home
  • Play 'Match the Pollinators to their Plants'
  • Design and make Insect Badges to wear with pride
  • Gasp at the Pollinator Paths project map
Date: Saturday 11th November 2017
Venue: The Penfold Centre, 1 Neville Gill Close, SW18 4TJ. The venue is right in the middle of the borough, on the west side of Southside Shopping Centre facing King George's Park.
Timing: 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Delicious snacks and drinks provided

Download the Harvest Celebration invitation and venue map here 

Free entry: please register online here

For more info: contact us by email here

All welcome!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Pop in to Stay With Love at the Sound Lounge on Saturday 28th and help us explore ideas for 2018

Last chance this weekend to see the lovely Stay With Love exhibition of refugee and asylum-seeker arts and creativity at The Sound Lounge  210 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EJ.

CARAS and TTT will be there at the exhibition ready to share tea, ideas and conversation from 3:30pm to 5:00pm on Saturday 28th Oct

Look for us on the two long tables at the back, right next to the exhibition.

All welcome on Saturday to:
  • have a cup of tea with us
  • see the exhibition of expressive and exciting creativity from many people and in many media
  • share ideas for 2018's activities and local partners for projects with the varied groups supported by CARAS with TTT
  • help us plan what's next in contributing to a welcoming and inclusive community in Tooting
 There's plenty to explore for the future together!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Pumpkin Party - This Sunday 29th October

Come and join our autumn festivities in Tooting Community Garden.

Following on from our normal open gardening session (11am-1pm), we will celebrating all things pumpkin – you can carve your own creations into the pumpkins, help make some fresh pumpkin soup and learn how to make delicious damper bread over a fire. All activities are free and suitable for children and adults

Pumpkin carving, pumpkin soup making and campfire cooking
Date: Sunday 29th October
Place: Tooting Community Garden, 5 North
Drive, London SW16 1RL (see map)
Time: 1pm-3pm

Following the activities on Tooting Community Garden, Friends of Tooting Common will be holding their annual Pumpkin Parade on Tooting Common by the cafe, from 3.30pm to 5.15pm.There will be competitions for the funniest, scariest, and most artistic pumpkin
(entry fee £2 per pumpkin, up to a maximum of £5 per family), plus competitions for fancy dress (in four different age groups). In addition, there will be storytelling, refreshments, tree dressing, and the event will finish with a grand parade of lit pumpkins.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Restart this Saturday on International Repair Day

This Saturday 21st October sees the first International Repair Day and happily we are hosting another Restart Party with the Restart Project from 2pm at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Rd, by Nandos.  All are welcome to this free event.  International Repair Day will be a chance to shout about the importance of repair and the growing global community repair movement; so far, there are 36 events in seven countries.  TTT is proud to be part of this celebration of repair and the important effort to think differently about electronics and waste. 
A Tooting Restart Party in 2015

Restart is a community repair event where skilled volunteers will try to keep your broken electronics out of landfill by repairing them.  The aim is to extend the life of electronic items from kettles to gadgets to laptops - we'll have a look at fixing anything!  At the last event the chef from Mirch Masala dropped in with an impressive looking metre long power tool, sadly not functioning. We found out what was wrong with it and hopefully many more masalas have since been mixed! 

We combine this in Tooting with Sewstart our community mending and sewing project, where Jeni will be on hand with her sewing machine and box of tricks to help you fix, improve or remodel your perhaps tired but much loved wardrobe favourites.  Come along and ask for advice, you might be surprised what you leave with!

Do remember to take back-ups of any electornic data on devices before handing them over to fixers as we cannot be responsible for loss of vital photos, files etc. 
And in the words of Restart Founders Janet & Ugo:
"Obey your conscience, disobey the throw-away economy. Repair!"

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Foodival Growers Poster

Here is this year's montage of growers from the Tooting Foodival 2017, the 10th TTT Foodival - wow, the first one only seemed like the other day!  We are really grateful to all our donors of fruit and vegetables without whom the festival could not happen.  More on the Foodival blog about this years event back in September. 

Can you spot yourself or someone you know?!

In this picture we should be able to pick out some of our individual donors: Jon, Kath, Hilary, Debbie, Richard, Indrajit, Heide, David, Mal, Jane, Richard, Barbara, Maggie, Judy, Kelly, Chris, Esther, Eleanor, Chrsitine, Lucy & Helen!

Thanks also to Tooting Community Garden, Paradise Co-op, Doddington & Rollo Community Garden, SHARE Community Garden, Abundance Southfields & Tamworth Allotments for your amazing contributions!

We really love Foodival and hope if you came along to this year's street festival version that you had a good time, whether eating sutainable home grown live cooked dishes, getting involved with our Craft or Green Stage activities, or chilling by the Sound Lounge stage.  Maybe you even had a rant on the Soap Box?!  More on the festival here.

Roll on 2018?

Friday, 13 October 2017

"Shazifim yerakim, gojeh sabz, jarareng, erik, janarek...." Tooting Community Garden's plums

Did you try the sour plums at the Foodival?

'These sour plums are known as shazifim yerakim in Israel, gojeh sabz in Iran, jarareng in Lebanon, erik in Turkey, and janarek in Jordan.'

These plums were saved after pruning the Greengage trees that grow in the tooting community garden as part of a pruning workshop. They were not ripe for eating but nothing goes to waste so Charles experimented with pickling the plums. They were certainly delightful at the Foodival. Something Unique.

The pruning workshop was delivered by Ryan O'Kane from The Orchard Project and we were joined by people from other gardens that could benefit from advice on pruning fruit trees.

Once we knew which trees were remaining then we needed to prune them  to provide space for air and better light to help them be healthy trees. Ideally this would be a vase shape but our particular trees are grown from 'suckers' - that is a  self propagating system connected to the main tree.

While we all wanted to get going with the variety of exciting tools they had brought along it was important that first we decided what the aims of the pruning were. The trees have been allowed to grow a bit wild which makes them great as a habitat but the pruning would help to promote tree health and improved crop. The aims are not complementary and that made it difficult in the beginning to decide on a strategy.

This is often something that we can struggle with any of our gardening aims. Balancing the needs of nature and the needs of humans are not always compatible and these decisions are hard. Particularly as a group who may have divergent views, or feel they do not know enough to choose a course of action. In the end we were able to agree a compromise with half reserved for habitat with some pruning for health and the other half would be cut back quite dramatically to get to a spacing that would promote fewer but stronger and more productive trees.

There was also time to look at the Victoria plum and identify branches that we could prune to promote healthy and strong growth for the tree.

While there were many people helping the plums are close together and it wasn't practical to prune more than two trees in the area at a time. So there is still more work to do but we now have a strategy that should be maintainable in the future.

It was a fantastic learning experience and if you have fruit trees in your own garden then check out for more advice and opportunities for you to learn about caring for your fruit trees.

Maybe you're inspired to start a new orchard? This year our friend Martin Cobley has helped establish the first Community Orchard in Wandsworth Borough. Congratulations! If you want to visit, contact him at

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Moth Night on Friday 13th October - all welcome!

This Friday 13th October as a part of Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project, all invited to a Moth Recording Walk at Putney Heath
This is a fun mix of citizen science and being outdoors in the city. If you have never seen live moths close up, it's a great opportunity.

Poplar Hawk moth in summer

Timing? Meet 6:30 pm 
Start Location? Boyd Court, 101 Carslake Road, Putney SW15 3DD
Activity? We'll set live moth traps, go for a short evening walk and then return to the traps to see what moths hve been attracted to them. 
Then, those that wish to can return to the Green Man Pub nearby to continue the discussion.
Clothing? We'll be working and walking on the Heath at dusk, so wear appropriate shoes. You could bring a torch.
Who is this for? Anyone interested, including children of course. Have they seen live moths close up?
Organisers & info? Contact or

We'll be guided by David Howden from London Natural History Society and hosted by Putney Community Garden representatives.

Moth Night is the annual national celebration of moth recording organised by Atropos and Butterfly Conservation, with local events aimed at raising awareness of moths among the general public.

Come and enjoy getting close to moths - and many of us are not aware that moths are significant pollinators. Time to change that!
Let’s learn more and help promote those great pollinators together.

More info about the the Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project - click here.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Opening night of Stay With Love exhibition - we celebrated with poetry, music and good company!

On October 3rd the opening night of the Stay With Love exhibition at The Sound Lounge in Tooting saw a very diverse group of 75 join in to celebrate the exhibition. There were teenagers, families and young children from the asylum-seeking and refugee community who are served by CARAS. There were many of the CARAS team of staff and volunteers, and lots of TTT volunteers. All have been contributing to the creative and expressive work that makes up the exhibiton.
Plus there were friends old and new from the wider community - it was a great welcoming mix from many countries!

Carrie was our MC for the night. She welcomed everyone and reminded us that the offer to 'Stay With Love' had been written in July on one of the pallet-benches made in the Youth Club. That's a poignant invitation for a young refugee to make.
We saw the delightful CARAS Youth Club short film: two minutes capturing the experience of sharing and value that many of us have enjoyed as volunteers over the past two and a half years. We'll add a weblink asap.

Hannah White, co-founder of the Sound Lounge, celebrated the work and good humour of the young people from CARAS who are doing certificated training as coffee baristas and as sound engineers at the café.

We shared poems and prose linked to the experiences of living in and valuing a new place, of changing perceptions and of new languages and relationships. Here is a poem read and written  by Resina Chowdhury:

To move away from a land
We must break ourselves off it completely. 
The split leaves a wound
a loss of memory, huge and gaping
which nothing material can fill. 

O Mother of a false birth, 
you were not ready for me. 
Where was the milk to offer your baby, all drained of blood? 
Dying, I was taken to where
the milk was plentiful
where there was blood to give, rich and warm
and we survived, 
more or less, weaned by another. 
But cannot forget those who held us before. 

What is the treatment for the loss of a culture? 
To see oneself continue in history? 
What can be said when the spirit is forgotten? 
When a life is not nurtured
because it is not understood? 
Still we seek out a tongue that will define. 

Teach me who I am. 
Give me knowledge to recover myself. 
Give me understanding to fill the loss. 
Give me strength to withstand hostility. 
Give me love to endure.  

We had live music of many kinds -
Dermot and Gerri led half an hour where the children 
used all the percussion instruments we could find. 
They were the backing band for extempore songs with words taken from some of the CARAS participants' statements about their heroes or ambitions.
David sang about Cristiano Ronaldo, Carrie sang
'I Want to Be a Dentist', Emiliano drummed...all fantastic!

Shonar Spiral from London played two gutsy songs.

Fadhil Alfadly and Kaspar King from Iraq rapped in Arabic over iPhone tracks and live drumming. One of the children stayed on to accompany their songs: she was very composed.

Dermot played a solo set as conversation continued until it was time to tidy up and head home after a lovely evening together.

Please visit The Sound Lounge and enjoy the exhibition any time the café is open. There are two interactive pieces alongside the wide range of creative work done by the Youth Club, the Family Groups and the ESOL classes.
There's a comments book set up, you can take a CARAS or TTT leaflet and please get in touch with CARAS or TTT if you want to know more, or if you want to find out how to volunteer. 
Please take a #StayWithLove sticker or two and ask your friends to visit!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Restart and Sewstart in Tooting Saturday 21st Oct

  • Have you got electrical or electronic items that you don’t want to throw away?
  • Got a sewing machine that is broken or you’re not sure how to use?
  • Have a favourite piece of clothing that needs mending or altering and you’d like to learn how?
  • Simply good at fixing and mending stuff?
Fancy a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a chance to find out more about 
Transition Tooting and what we get up to?

Whatever the reason - come along on
Sat 21st October - 2.00 - 5.00pm
Mushkil Aasaan, 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW
(next to Nando’s)

(Restart Parties are a community self-repair space where you take responsibility for your own gadgets and data, so please don’t forget to take any back-ups beforehand, if relevant – and if possible arrive during the first two hours to allow time for fixing!   More info about Restart including details of regular skillshares at www,