Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change (FOR TEN YEARS!)

Friday, 1 February 2019

Jellybrella: TTT's creative project for spring 2019

In Spring 2019 TTT is inviting everyone to join in with Jellybrella, our free and participatory community arts sustainabity project reusing waste to celebrate creativity, diversity, welcoming, wellbeing and making alongside others.  
We'll be popping up in February, March, April & May. All invited!

It's early days to be sharing this, but we've started to share info on Jellybrella so it's an opportunity to tell the full story on the blog. Yesterday we created an Instagram account - have a look.
Thanks loads to David Pitt for donating time to create our logo!

We're proud that the May 11th event will be part of the Wandsworth Arts Fringe. It will be a free family creative workshop for adults & children where we'll use scrap materials to create exciting sculptures. 

Specifically we'll be transforming the lost and found umbrellas of Tooting, getting together to enjoy some community making -  we'll all become artists making our community beautiful with stories & hands-on making together.


Why umbrellas? We've realised they are everywhere - in pubs, stations, public spaces; left behind, lost, broken...or maybe usable.
 



Umbrellas represent shelter, put you into your own little umbrella-world and we use them to express ourselves, to look and feel good. They are so diverse...and that's before we have decorated them.

Why Jellybrella? Think umbrellas transformed into jellyfish: we’ll re-use waste materials to make giant sea creatures, sea flowers & jellyfish.








Before the public event on May 11th we're also doing a series of workshops with diverse local adult groups. Those will be differently-facilitated from the family day - an adult group's response to creating with umbrellas will be different if, for example, they are visually impaired or a dementia group. Please get in contact here to chat if you are part of an adult group that may be interested to host a workshop.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

What's happening with the knitted bees of Tooting? - Update #2 on our partnership project with CARAS

We've enjoyed and learned so much from our partnership project with CARAS which has been running since spring 2015.
Here's Update #2 on one more of the project strands - this one involving the CARAS Women's Group for refugees and asylum-seekers. We shared Update #1 a fortnight ago - read it here.


The knitted honeybees of Tooting
It's not often you can ask "what’s happening in the world of Tooting’s knitted & crocheted bees?" We’ve been busy since spring 2018 on a fascinating quest that started with our beekeeper friend Richard who is Chair of the London Beekepers Association asking "Do you know anyone who could make some model bees as teaching aids? Toy bees available online are all hopelessly inaccurate...we need about 50..."
I immediately said "yes!" and a new project was born...which has developed to include the CARAS Family Day and Women's Group, a wonderful local group of knitters, beekepers and TTT.

It's been so moving to us all that this novel partnership has come together: local craftspeople with experience and skill plus refugee women with skills and desire to create plus our own TTT colleagues. We've got together for the interest and challenge, in order to work with a London-wide group's own fascinating project in an imaginative way.

Attaching wings and legs at the CARAS Women's Group
Richard and the LBKA are developing participative classes for schools. The bee models would need to have the correct number of legs (6), eyes (5) and wings (4), with antennae (2) in just the right place on their heads ("not like antlers and not like whiskers"), triangular downward-facing heads, a waist: all giving the general look of a honeybee with correct details while also being imaginative prompts for LBKA workshops. The bees should definitely not have cartoon smiles.

We chatted: Jane suggested crochet or knitting rather than sewing; Nicola knew just the right people - a group of Knitters and Natterers including Margaret, Dora, Joan and Mandie who regularly make dozens of stuffed textile toys for local charities. Co-ordinated by Margaret, we settled on finger puppet bees and over 50 bee bodies were knitted and crocheted. Margaret created patterns and templates for the bee parts - a first for her (maybe a first in London?).

Dora
Joan













Friday, 18 January 2019

Vegetanuary! meets... Wicked Vegan!

As part of Vegetanuary this year I've been going along to meet the Restauranteurs of the area who are focusing on either vegan or vegetarian food to ask them some simple questions about why open that kind of place and what the feedback has been... first up, Wicked Vegan on Hildreth Street in Balham. You must go, its delicious casual food for hanging out with your mates. I heartily recommend it.

Wicked!

What is Vegetanuary??

Vegetanuary! is our annual, month long sharing of vegetarian and vegan food. Anyone can join in, you'll find lots of new recipes, ideas and articles being shared about food. Come join us on the Facebook group HERE

Open 7 months ago, Wicked Vegan is run by businessman Gurkan Bozdere, but as he says, "I'm not a vegan, but I'm trying! My Sister in law and wife encouraged me to do something ethical", so he opened a vegan restaurant. I think that's awesome and the kind of change this exciting to see. Gurkan explained how he was excited about how the food business is changing, with lots more vegan restaurants opening. "I'm a businessman, motivated to be making money, but why not be ethical at the same time?" Yes! Yes! Yes! Earn a living and be ethical, let's do that!

Gurkan, his wife, Betty and sister in law, Necla, enlisted some expert help by the Stokey Veg & Vegan Chef Daniele Aloi to develop the menu, test out ideas and discover what Wicked Vegan has become - a restaurant full of super tasty, indulgence food in the shape of burgers, salads and wraps, washed down by smoothies, local beers and juices.

Gurkan on the left and Head Chef Robert Drajna. Check out that menu!
I continued by asking Gurkan, do you now eat more vegetarian and vegan foods as a result of opening the restaurant?

Friday, 11 January 2019

Eco-checking, a memorial bench, school planters, knitted bees and Jellybrella - 2019 Update #1 on our partnership project with CARAS

We've enjoyed and learned so much from our partnership project with CARAS which has been running since spring 2015.
Here's a short update on several of the strands - taking the first three in the list above, each of which has involved the Youth Club for asylum-seekers and refugees. We'll share Update #2 soon.

As ever, if you are inspired to contribute to the projects - offering good ideas or simply your time, sharing specialist skills, as a donor in kind, as a partner group - you are very welcome to contact Chuck at TTT by email here.
Over 40 individuals and a dozen local organisations locally have been involved with the TTT + CARAS partnership in many ways over the past 4 years.

Eco-Checking the CARAS offices
CARAS has achieved a gold standard London Youth Quality Mark for carrying out participatory and youth-led eco-check of activities across 3 sets of sustainability criteria: Energy & Water; Healthy Living and Litter & Waste. Helped by Egle from CARAS and Sara from TTT, a team of young people identified relevant issues and then analysed how well the organisation as a whole deals with the challenges.

The intention was not to blame, but to make an action plan for 'things to change and put right' as well as 'things we do well already...and so we should keep doing them!'




Examples from the action plan:
  • stop purchasing single use plastics for the many meals that are prepared as part of the CARAS programmes
  • renew the planting boxes outside the offices for 2019 so that we're growing what we might like to eat, and so that there are beautiful plants that are welcoming, that we like and that are good for pollinating insects

Here are the brand new colourful plates, bowls and cutlery which will be used again and again at CARAS and on Family Days at other local venues.
You're welcome to read the eco-check detail - click here.
It's admirable because it is short, practical and understandable, and transferable to many other community voluntary settings.


Congratulations to the multi-language group who came together in Tooting to put the eco-check together!


Benches and Planters
Since last summer we've been designing and making a bench for The Spires, a local charity working with homeless people. The bench is a memorial to past users of The Spires who have died.

That's an example of this whole past year's priority with CARAS young people: to engage them directly with community groups with needs that the youth club can respond to with energy, skills and creativity.
It's been a fascinating design and build experience. Later we'll share a summary of the project from model making onwards, showing how many hands have been able to contribute.


The final stage is to add the names of the people for whom the bench is a memorial, and this is being done using laser-cut adhesive copper tape.
TTT's bench project co-ordinator Dermot says:
"It's moving and humbling to see the young people taking such care with typefaces and the fiddly details necessary in order to a high-impact bench which celebrates people they have never met. Seeing the bench all the way through to completion over months of work is a big achievement".














The next project that we'll do with the Youth Club is another example of a local group 'reaching in' to engage with CARAS young people alongside their own team. Chestnut Grove Academy want to create set of planters located right at their newly-created entrance - perhaps to grow ingredients for Food Tech, perhaps to make a quiet space for the Library which looks out on the site, certainly to create a beautiful space. The school wants to commission these planters in an original and creative way.

The entrance to Chestnut Grove, with the site on the left.
We'll be facilitating CARAS young people to work on site with the school community including parents and students. This is a new challenge - for for the first time in 4 years of our build projects we won't be doing mobile carpentry on the steps of the Hall at Derinton Road!

In our next update we'll share news on knitted bees and Jellybrella. We look forward to teasing your interest and sharing details. - Chuck

Sunday, 23 December 2018

ReSparkle! Celebrating Creativity and Christmas crafts at Tooting Library

TTT have been ReSparkling with Tooting Library since 2012 - it's always a magical event upstairs in the beautiful children's library. 

Indoors last Saturday the library was full of colour, light and energy as it became darker, wetter and stormier outside. 

It's a free and simple event: for two hours we offered 5 activity tables, with eight of us helping.  

Why is it so fun and rewarding?

We think it's because:
1. There are familiar faces and new families every year - diverse, multilingual, positive, keen to experiment.
2. Creating a special occasion together is a good feeling 

3. The Library is such an excellent trusted community social hub in the buzzy retail heart of Tooting. Everyone is welcome, nothing is for sale, everyone can work at their own pace and  materials and goodwill are shared freely.
4. Children, parents and carers are discovering and making together - all generations trying out very different activities, getting familiar (again?) with using glue, scissors, staplers, velcro.
All these activities and more can be repeated at home.

5. Everyone creates using simple materials - making beautiful decorations and presents out of everyday things and scrap saved from waste.  
6. There's always new ideas - new activities, new facilitators from TTT, creative solutions from participants (turning the drinks cartons inside out to show off the silvery liner was very neat!)

There's more photos by Bryony, Chuck & Annie to look at online - please click here. And there's more of just Bryony's beautiful photos of ReSparkle online here - thank you Bryony!

ReSparkle! exactly six years ago on Dec 15th 2012
We value our long-lasting partnership with Tooting Library very much and want to say thanks to the Library team for hosting us so many times since 2012.

Many thanks to our TTT team of fab facilitators: Annie, Bryony, Elly, Jane, Jeni, Nicola, Resina & Chuck.
We're looking forward to December 2019 - please put ReSparkle in your diary!

Saturday, 8 December 2018

A Magical Festive Feast

St Marks United Reformed Church in Balham festooned with vine leaves, fairy lights and candles, offered the perfect backdrop for a magical festive evening at TTT’s Christmas Dinner last night. The invite to “Norah’s Magical Feast” promised a festive culinary celebration and what a feast it proved to be!  Norah won the overall Top Tooting Cook competition at Tooting Foodival in September scoring not only for the taste and look of all her entries to three categories, but also for her exceptional use of locally sourced ingredients including fruit, vegetables, eggs and honey.
In true MasterChef style, Norah delighted the guests with a sumptuous three course meal starting with a platter of sharing plates of courgette and haloumi fritters and three different kinds of homemade vegetable dips. Generous mains of roast salmon, lamb shank or a winter vegetable tagine followed. Dessert was a splendid affair of sticky fig pudding with salted caramel & coconut topping, roasted fruits with black cherry sorbet or a selection of artisan sheep & goats cheeses served with a variety of chutneys and oatcakes.
Aided by her assistants Dani and Chris, Norah gave us a Christmas dinner to remember for years to come. If you want to sample the delights of Norah’s Kitchen please get in touch with her here. 
Thanks to Bryony Williams #findmeintooting for her photos.


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Restart Party & Toy Mending this Saturday

Our next Restart Party in Tooting is at Mushkil Aasaan this coming Saturday 8th December, 13.30-16.30.  At this event, as ever, you can bring in broken electronics and see if our team of volunteer fixers can give them a new lease of life or at least identify the problem.  The ethos behind our Restart parties is to keep items out of landfill by repairing and re-using.  It's an antidote to the throw away culture that can sometimes prevail.

Mending Toys Too!
Just in time for Christmas this event also includes toy mending.  Why buy yet more new stuff when we could help you to repair some old things that you or your family love?  Dig those cherished broken items out of the bottom of the cupboard and bring them along.  What better gift than a surprise repair for the kids?  Our Supermen (and Superwomen) fixers will do our best to make them good as new!
 Image result for picture of broken toys
And our usual reminder ...
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 the Restart Project here

Friday, 30 November 2018

Mushkil Aasaan Needs Our Support!

Mushkil Aasaan could be under threat because the Council has withdrawn its contract to provide social care to vulnerable people in our local community.

Of course the Council has a right to seek the best deal for constituents, but in this instance one wonders whether commercial expedience is trumping common sense in the Council's offer of the contract to non-specialist providers, who may lack MA's local experience, knowledge and cultural sensitivity.

Local people are getting together to try to get the Council to change its mind. 


The flyer above explains how to get involved in either the public meeting at Mushkil Aasaan on Monday or at the Council meeting on Wednesday of next week.

You can follow latest development on the Mushkil Action twitter feed and website.

From TTT's perspective we are incredibly grateful to Mushkil Aasaan director Naseem Aboobaker for her offer of free meeting space in the hall over the last 10 years, and provision of a space for Tooting Community Garden in the grounds of 5 North Drive for the last 7 years.  Many reading this will have been to Foodival, Restarts, Gardening sessions or other meetings all of which have been faciliated by Naseem's kindness and community spirit.

Now Naseem requests that the Council reinstate Mushkil Aasaan's contract and status as a Specialist Provider and TTT strongly supports this.  Do get involved if you can over the next days.  Naseem and Mushkil Aasaan have been a great help to TTT;  let's see how we can offer support in return at this stressful time.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

ReSparkle! with TTT at Tooting Library, 2pm to 4 pm on Saturday 15th December 2018

All welcome to join TTT's free Christmas crafts workshop at Tooting Library, creating beautiful presents and decorations to take home.

We've been inviting everyone to ReSparkle! since 2012, and it's always a magical event.

 
When? Saturday 15th December from 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Where? 75 Mitcham Road SW17 9PD
We'll be upstairs in the lovely children's library.  
Free, drop-in and for all ages.

All materials provided - and everything we'll use to make beautiful creations is waste that's being saved from going to scrap.
"Reduce...Re-purpose...ReSparkle!"

Thanks loads to our partners at Tooting Library - if you have any queries, please phone the Library on 0208 767 0543. NB children under 8 must always be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Come and join the fun - please spread the word and tell your friends. Click here to read or download the poster.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Time for New Leaders - Could It Be You?

Transition Town Tooting is looking for new leaders ready for the AGM in February 2019 as the current leadership team will have completed their two year terms and we will be voting in new role holders. Do you fancy getting involved?

If you do you could be joining an evolving and collaborative team making change in how we live, where we live, in light of climate change. There’s a spirit of celebration and creativity in everything we do, be it south London’s biggest sustainable food festival, urban growing in the community garden, carbon reduction workshops or neighbourhood planning. We open up spaces for local people to connect with each other, imagine possibilities and make positive changes for the community and the environment.

We have evolved a system where 2 people share being chair of the group for a two year period and both of these spots are up for grabs in 2019.  We are also interested in hearing from anyone who would like to try their hand at being Treasurer or Secretary and help shape and re-imagine our activities and impact over the next two years.

You’ll be joining a great team of volunteers and core members who coordinate projects. There are also other ways to volunteer with us from just attending events, leading a specific event or perhaps you would like to try being the newsletter Editor.  

For more information about these roles click here.  

We would love to hear from anyone who is interested.  Even if you are not sure but want to find out more do please CONTACT US and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have, or alternatively come along to the next meeting on Tuesday 13th November at the Antelope in Tooting to find out more about these opportunities.

Monday, 29 October 2018

TTT's next series of Carbon Conversations is postponed until early 2019 - in time for New Year's resolutions!

We're postponing our new series of Carbon Conversations until the New Year.
Tonight's first session is cancelled, as are the following 5 meetings. The series of meetings needs a critical mass of local people to join in so we have rich and diverse discussions - we are nearly there but not quite for the series due to start this evening. So we will find new dates early in 2019 with that existing participant group, and encourage more people to sign up and join them. Let us know if you are interested!
Very early New Year's resolutions, anyone?
All the info on the six free meetings organised by TTT's Ben Cuddon in a recent blog post here. Just ignore the dates.

The facilitated workshops enable individuals to explore the areas of our lives where we can reduce our own carbon emissions: travel, food, domestic energy, consumption and waste.
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. 

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

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Pumpkin Party Sunday October 28th

Come and join our autumn festivities in Tooting Community Garden!

Pumpkin Party Poster 2018
click for pdf poster
Following on from our normal open gardening session (11am-1pm) this Sunday, we will be 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. And once you’ve enjoyed our campfire feast, you’ll be able to head to the annual pumpkin parade on Tooting common!

We look forward to seeing you!
Sunday 28th October, 1-3pm 
Tooting Community Garden, 5 North Drive, London SW16 1RL

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

We are POSTPONING our Saturday Oct 20th 'Local Stories of Sustainability Success' event

We're postponing this community event in Tooting until a later date.

We've had a number of messages that people would like to participate in our event but also wish to join the Brexit vote-related People's Vote March for the Future on Saturday 20th.

We want our Local Stories of Sustainability Success speakers to have the largest possible audience, and we'll get together to find a good date and share that asap. Event info here.

Thanks everyone for your support and flexibility, especially the fab four speakers!



Carbon Conversations, due to follow 'Local Stories..', will still go ahead starting on November 1st. All the info on this super free series of 6 discussions and action planning on our blog here.
To sign up or ask questions contact Ben Cuddon by email here.  
All welcome to join!

Monday, 15 October 2018

My Fracking Opinion, What's Yours?

Quite amazing in the week where the IPCC tells us we have even less time than we thought to take action to avert the dangers posed by warming of 2°C, that fracking is underway today in Lancashire courtesy of the delightful Cuadrilla Resources.  What planet are these people on?  Thankfully there are some brave people from our own planet out there (including a Transition Network trustee!) taking direct action to try to stop them.
IPCC Graph

Fracking involves the high-pressure injection of 'fracking fluid' (water, sand and a cocktail of chemicals) into the ground to create cracks in deep rock formations with the goal of extracting fossil fuels that may lie there, in the Lancashire case natural gas. It’s bad enough that fossil fuels lead to climate change and the associated disasters for humanity and the planet, but this special type of extraction can also involve the risk of earthquakes, toxic chemicals, water pollution and poor air quality[3]
Image result for fracking picture
source: Friends of the Earth
On the BBC’s Today programme the Chief Executive of this life affirming operation, Francis Egan, was asked whether he would be quite happy to have a house on the site with his children breathing the air there and he replies “yes of course” (podcast here about 5m 55s in). What a great idea!

Surely this should be a mandatory condition of the granting of any fracking licence? Namely that the chief executive, indeed why not all senior executives of such a company, commit to raise their families beside fracking sites so that they too can benefit from the clean air abounding, discover new unusual chemicals and marvel at the array of visiting industrial vehicles, as well as anticipate the excitement of a potentially rumbling landscape plus aftershocks. I’m all for it but I wonder if Mr Egan and his ilk really would be?!  Methinks not, it is others who must take such risks for the sake of their profits.  But maybe I'm too cynical.  What's your fracking opinion?

Resources: 
1. More on fracking from the Guardian
2. Anti-fracking with Frack Off 
3. Fracking facts from Friends of the Earth & Greenpeace
4. In America meanwhile you can even light your own methane laced water

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Restart Sewstart Reupholster Party!

The Fixed It List
This afternoon's Restart & Sewstart event saw a lot of smiling faces both on the Fixed It List and in the hall.  Thanks to everyone who helped out and attended!

While fixers battled to fix seemingly broken radios, lamps, toasters and phones, Shaz and her able helpers reupholstered a sofa that had been dumped in the street.  Check out the time lapse video of the work!



Phew, that's better!

At our events we aim to keep electrical or electronic items out of landfil by repairing them, and also mend and alter old clothing to give it a new lease of life. If you are just curious or would like to learn new skills come along to one of our Restart Parties

Our next Restart Party in Tooting is at Mushkil Aasaan on
8th December 13.30 - 16.30

and will include toy-mending as well - watch this space!

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.therestartproject.org

Don't forget more upcoming dates for you diary:
Local Stories of Sustainability Success is on Saturday October 20th and the start of a new series of Carbon Conversations on November 1st. 

Friday, 5 October 2018

Local Stories of Sustainability Success - four vivid can-do examples of reducing carbon footprints and increasing wellbeing

We're hosting a new free event: Local Stories of Sustainability Success in the afternoon of Saturday 20th October, from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Mushkil Aasaan Hall, 220 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EW.

The event will illustrate vivid can-do stories by local people who have reduced their carbon footprints and increased their wellbeing 

Martin, Susan, Tanya & Dermot - clockwise from top left
  • Martin Cobley and several hundred worms will demonstrate why he is the borough guru for how worm composting
  • Susan Venner will share the steps to make a 19th century family house in Balham warm and cosy, emphasising how to tackle the high-impact things first. More detail on Susan's experience on the Superhome Database at https://tinyurl.com/y94mqnsb
  • Dermot Jones will share his experience of switching to an electric vehicle. Dermot also tweets as @ElecticVanMan about the story of his first 4000 miles - and the myths and memes
  • Tanya de Afonseca will share her own experience of reducing (refusing?) household plastics. Tanya's BYO Zero Waste Shop is in Tooting Market https://byo.london/
We'll discuss these inspiring examples of what can be done, share ideas, be energised, make some new resolutions & links.
For the 'Local Stories' flyer, please click here.

The session is designed for anyone who is interested in these lively local stories. You do not need to be an expert!
Please share with friends and colleagues who you think would appreciate the event.
Bring the family! We'll have a crafts table alongside for some making.










Thanks to the Zero Waste Shop for sharing this diagram of five core elements of zero waste.


We'll also introduce the next run of Carbon Conversations starting on Thursday November 1st. For details, click here. Please encourage friends to join in with this 13th series!