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

Sunday, 23 July 2017

One week ago today... The Tooting Twirl!

Transition Town Tooting asked the buses and cars to budge over for the day and created a pop-up village green on the Bus Turning Circle. With lots on offer and nothing for sale, we invited everybody to re-imagine this space in a spirit of peace and celebration, what if it was something different? What opportunity would that create?

Over the afternoon, we played music with The Sound Lounge (thank you!), made things, whittled wood with The Furzedown Oak (thank you!), talked on benches made by Caras (thank you!), ate tremendous food from Dawat Restaurant (thank you!), got our bikes fixed with Dr.Bike (thank you!), drank Ethiopian coffee with Mona (thank you!) and gently and deeply asked the question, what if this place was something other than a Bus Turning Circle?!?!?

Our friend Rob, co-founder of the Transition Town Movement, came along from Totnes, he's written great blog and podcast about the event with reflections on the meaning of doing things like this for communities, you can read Rob's blog here

Huge thanks to all who supported the crowdfunding campaign via Fundsurfer and to Wandsworth Council, London Buses, Tooting Town Centre Management, London Sport, Batca, Khalsa Centre, Mushkil Aasaan, Work and Play Scrapstore, SLSC, Furzedown Community Network, Tooting Daily PRSS, Tooting Town Centre Business Partnership, Centre for Catholic Formation, Crowdfund 360, Tooting Bec & Broadway Neighbourhood Plan and all who supported and enjoyed the day. Let's keep the conversation going!

Here's some photos...

Along the way, there was a lot of making...
And workshops imagining our Village Green...
Jeni presents... and the fruits of making at Franciscan Primary School 
Jeni presents... a mini-make at Ravenstock! Summer Fair
Once the van was packed... we headed off to The Bus Turning Circle and did a bit of this...

Let nobody say after today that its not possible... Lucy, Jeni and Richard

Thursday, 20 July 2017

'Stay With Love': Gardens of Refuge Project update

We're reporting back every six weeks on the Gardens of Refuge Project. That's our local project running throughout 2017 with refugees and asylum-seekers living in and nearby Tooting, alongside our project partners CARAS and The Grange.

Our previous summary at the end of May can be read here.
In June and July we've worked with the CARAS Saturday Youth Club. 

Elly Brown, MD at CARAS says:
"We've already witnessed the
transformations that take place
when people from far and wide
can use their skills and knowledge
to create something shared."

What have we been doing together?

'Stay with Love' Making instant pallet benches:

In one mighty 4-hour session, a loose and changing group from the CARAS Youth Club co-designed, shared ideas, problem solved and brought in new team members to make four of these pallet benches.

Hats off to that dedicated group whose pride meant they insisted on eating their communal lunch sitting on the new benches.
Part of the production line was to write messages of welcome and invitation on the seat backs. 

These are in many languages.
These young people have come to the UK in search of a welcome, safety and to put down new roots. It's poignant that they felt comfortable to contribute their own personal invitations so directly to all-comers.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Foodival Menu

For the 10th Foodival on September 16th we need lovely local growers to help us deliver this free menu to the streets of Tooting:

Starter: Pakoras : Onions, cauliflower, courgette, spinach 

Main Course: Vegetable Stew : Onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, peas and any other veg including tomatoes, garlic, herbs etc.

Dessert: Fruit Crumble : Any soft fruit – apples, pears, plums, berries 

Are you growing any of these? Can you help?

Some home grown donations from 2015
For details on the Foodival and how to get involved growing, cooking, eating or celebrating please visit THE FOODIVAL BLOG

Monday, 17 July 2017

Restart and Sewstart are back in Tooting this Wednesday

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 next Wednesday (we're back in October too!)

Wed 19th July -   6.30 - 9.00pm
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,

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

All welcome at The Tooting Twirl! This Sunday 16th July, 12noon - 4pm

4 days to go to Tooting's Pop-Up Village Green comes to life at the Bus Turning Circle, Longmead Road.

We'd love for everyone in Tooting to come along to the Tooting Twirl on Sunday to celebrate all the cultures of our town, make a grey space green and have a good dose of fun by opening a highway to games, music and food!

What's happening when?

12noon - 1pm: Come join in building the Village Green - hang some bunting, place some benches... give the Bus Turning Circle a beating heart!
1pm - 2pm: Twirling Street Games and a sharing picnic
2pm: Parade around the Bus Turning Circle in your Twirly best!
3pm - 4pm: Meet, mingle and relax on the pop-up village green

Do you do social media?

Please do tweet, Facebook and share on the day #TootingTwirl

We'll also be joined by the Tooting Bec and Broadway Neighbourhood Plan...

What is it about Tooting that you love? What might you want to change? What do you think we don't have that we need? What stories or places from the past do you cherish? The Tooting Twirl is the perfect place to collectively imagine what good change might look like for our town.

Would you like to take part? It'll take all of us to make the town green... 

Bring a colourful potted plant for the Giant Twirly Flowerbed or plant up a wheelbarrow to turn this grey space green...

Make something Twirly to wear in the 'What's your Twirl?' parade...

Bring a skipping rope or a street game you'd be happy to share...

Decorate your wheels to cycle in the 'What's your Twirl?' parade...

Bring a sharing picnic and a blanket...

All images: Rachel Miller

Jeni, Lucy and Rich - Co-Twirlers from TTT!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Welcome to TTT's new governance team!

There's been another election recently in Tooting: TTT has a new governance team who will be carrying out their roles until spring 2019.

TTT was established in 2008, and by 2011 we agreed to formalise the key governance roles and also fill them with willing volunteers who serve a term of two years. That means that:
  • no one has to do (or get stuck doing) the same role 'for ever'
  • there's an expectation that different individuals can step into these roles and carry them out in their own diverse & fresh ways
  • we share between us the responsibility for doing these useful roles which support us all in TTT
Give them a wave! Welcome to TTT's new governance team:

From the left: meet the Treasurer David, the two Co-Chairs Jeni and Sharon and the Secretary Eleanor. They look forward to meeting you!

All these roles are voluntary, and these four people work alongside TTT's project co-ordinators - and maybe lead TTT projects themselves. Earlier in the year we shared the role profiles. The Co-Chairs, for example, fulfil a leadership rather than a management role for TTT as a whole.

The election was part of TTT's Annual Celebratory Extravaganza, where we invited partners, volunteers and the curious to join us to recap strategy and activities in the previous year and look forward to the next.

We had an evening full of energy and heard from many colleagues who explored 15 projects large or small, long-term or one-off:
  • Thank you to all who spoke about projects and asked questions - and brought refreshments
  • Thank you to Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP for her vivid summary of the value of bringing people together in a practical and creative way across the Tooting community's diversity of views, voices and concerns.
One group game we did was partly aimed at meeting new people and finding out who was in the room, and partly aimed at imagining (on the spot) some new potential taglines for TTT. There are some great comments written on these balloons! You'll have to click to read them.

There's plenty to be involved with right now in TTT - no need to wait for the 2019 AGM. Please read the events listing and blog, sign up to our monthly email and keep an eye on facebook & twitter. Come and chat!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Fancy a Twirl in Tooting? Crowdfunding Campaign launched!

Imagine if the buses moved over for the day in Tooting's busy town centre to create a pop-up village green where children could dance and play and families and friends could share a picnic and watch the world go by?

The Tour de Tooting, 2016

Pledge to our crowdfunding campaign!

Transition Town Tooting has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Fundsurfer for The Tooting Twirl. The crowdfunding campaign runs until Tuesday 11th July. We'd love you to contribute so we can create space for the community to come together in a spirit of peace and celebration.
Can you pledge to support the campaign?
What's going to happen? Read on to see how you can get involved...

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Join the 10th Foodival This September

Tooting Foodival is back this autumn.  What are you growing now that could be cooked up in 3 months time?  

On Saturday 16th September we'll be celebrating the range of low food mile food that can be grown in and around SW17.  Come along and join in, in whatever capacity you like.  We guarantee it will be FUN!

We Need Local Vegetable & Fruit Growers
And We Need Local Cooks!
Could It Be YOU? 

For more information or to get involved please email


Monday, 5 June 2017

Refugee Week 2017: Tooting activities starting Sunday 18th June

Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. 

Refugee Week 2017 starts in under a fortnight, and there are plenty of London activities to choose from.

Plus here are two local events to share:

1. Queens of Syria - free film Sunday 18th June

We're showing this thrilling and absorbing film about 50 Syrian refugee women joining together to prepare to perform an ancient Greek play about women and their families in war. It's definitely NOT simply a 'film of the play' - it's all about how the women explore telling their shared stories with passion and creativity. It's a moving and positive film.
Click here to see the flier, and save the date! Here's the listing on the Refugee Week site.
We're showing the film in the Hall at Mushkil Aasaan, the local charity supporting families, young people and the elderly.
  • Date: Sunday 18th June
  • Timings: Doors open 4:00 pm for tea and samosas, film at 5:00.
  • Venue: Mushkil Aasaan, 220 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW

2. Midsummer Merriment with CARAS
- Thursday 22nd June
Book now for the comedy night in Tooting Market, put on by TTT's partner CARAS. The host will be Arthur Smith - the Night Mayor of Balham. Many of the tickets have been sold already, here's the link.

  • Date: Thursday 22nd June
  • Timings: 7:30 to 10:30
  • Venue: Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN

Images from past Refugee Week activities:

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Gardens of Refuge project: updating you on 4 fascinating strands at the end of May

We're sharing our monthly update about Gardens of Refuge.
Gardens of Refuge is our 2017 partnership project with CARAS and The Grange to provide therapeutic and positive experiences for people of refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds who live in South-West London.
There are four interrelated project strands to share:
> Carpentry project with the Youth Club  
> Family Activity Days
> Vertical gardening with the Youth Club  

> A 4-day trip to The Grange in Norfolk 

1. Carpentry project with the Youth Club 
We've developed a relationship with a nearby primary school who need planters for their own outdoor space.

Led by Dermot, last weekend we began a series of 3 sessions to build and decorate these planters. The young people took on the design brief and modified the build based on other planters we have made together. In this case we're making beds that are low enough for young children to use, and also tough enough to stand up to inevitable playground clambering.

The session ran to twice its expected length because there was so much energy!
Later on we have access to laser-cutting equipment or 3D printing to make plaques to fix to the beds.

2. Family Activity Days
This half term we have helped facilitate the fourth Family Day of 2017 - partly social, partly to do an interesting activity, partly to join together for a meal (allowing for Ramadan).

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Exploring Food and Travel in your carbon footprint - stories from May's 'Carbon Conversations'

TTT's 10th local Carbon Conversations series continues - the free weekly local facilitated meetings where participants can explore their own practical options for low-carbon living.

The sessions are not only about 'counting carbon' and understanding our carbon footprint; they are also about exploring our own values and preferences in a safe and facilitated setting with a small group. Understanding the meaning of our choices.... the 'why' as well as the 'what'.... means we are more likely to take steps which we can sustain over time.
Quoting one of the participants in this series:

"The beauty of Carbon Conversations is 
the optimism, creativity and ideas
that are shared and emerge"

Each of the six meetings has a theme - for example home energy, or waste. We reported on the first two sessions in this blog - read it here, and below two more participants describe the discussion points and feelings raised by the third and fourth meetings: about food and travel.

1 Food: probably the issue that goes to the core of our identities more than any other.
We did an activity reflecting on all the aspects of food production that worry us most. One of the group shared a really heart-rending story of playing a game with a child where they had to mime different animals. They wagged their tail like a dog, pranced like a horse, but when asked to enact a chicken they curled up into a ball on the floor. This child only knew a chicken as a dead body wrapped in clingfilm on a supermarket shelf. It was a poignant moment...

We also played a board game to figure out the carbon emissions embedded in all the different stages of the food production process: growing, processing, packaging, transport.

It was illuminating, but it also made us realise the complications of solely judging things based on carbon emissions. What is something is 'really low carbon' but harmful in other ways? There are lots of factors to take into account.
It also made us reflect on the foods we eat. As one group member said: 'it does make you think....what ARE we eating?!'

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

30 Days Wild in Wandsworth - get ready to enjoy the local outdoors for the month of June

30 Days Wild In Wandsworth is aimed at encouraging us all to share enjoying being outdoors in the city during June '17. 
Being outdoors is not one size fits all: read a book under a tree, walk to work, make a daisy chain, join in activities like the Park Run or swim at the Lido.

We're piggybacking on The Wildlife Trusts' national '30 Days Wild' campaign, a great place to start.
Go to their site online here to join as an individual or family to receive the 30 Days Wild June Calendar.

There's a link here for the beautiful ideas in Random Acts of Wildness

And there's a free 30 Days Wild app - get it here.

Two of us are helping frame this month of focus on the outdoors: Chuck from Transition Town Tooting and Rosie from Paradise Co-op.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Two local food growing workshops June 4th & June 10th - everyone welcome!

All the plants shared out through Pollinator Paths Wandsworth are settling into their new homes - a delightful fact to think about when you consider there are 60 participant plots in the borough!

June 4th: 
As part of the PPW project we're offering a diverse set of free monthly workshops at the 4 project hub gardens. (We'll share the year's plan.)

On Sunday 4th June there's a good-looking event with several practical themes at Bramford Community Garden near Wandsworth Town.

For a copy of the details, click here. You'll see the plant feeding and composting session is repeated as we think this will be particularly popular. Plus there's Old York Road Unplugged happening in parallel, right at the garden gate. The day is open to all - you do not have to be part of the Pollinator Paths project.
And everyone can join the Pollinator Paths Wandsworth facebook group - click here!

June 10th:
On Saturday June 10th there's the 1st session in a series of monthly classes that will run from June to November. The series is called Grow Your Own at Home and it's all about growing fruit and vegetables. Offered by our colleagues Be Enriched and facilitated by Martin, it's highly recommended.
There's a small fee, and all are welcome including beginners.
For a copy of the details, click here.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project day: the sun shone on a busy garden scene

We had a fun, busy and instructive Sunday afternoon meeting the local participants in the Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project, and welcoming visitors who found us because we joined in with the Chelsea Fringe and Wandsworth Arts Fringe.

Getting the new planter home
People told us they appreciated being able to have a detailed and friendly conversation about how to look after and enjoy the plants they took home to their balcony, patio or garden: thank you Martin & Jo!

Tooting Community Garden was the fourth of the local gardens to host their event when we share advice and plants. Next steps include a series of seasonal workshops on topics such as composting and making insect habitats. In autumn 2017 there are next spring's bulbs to plant - and the garden and pollination year will come round again!

The community garden's 6th birthday cake

Conversations with new and old friends, exploring the space and doing new things outdoors were great parts of the day.
More news when we have it on events that everyone can join alongside the project participants. The PPW project facebook page is here.

Finishing line of the caterpillar race. We'll run it again!