Category Archives: Uncategorized

New community energy project gets under way

Community Energy Warwickshire, the energy co-operative which Transition Stratford helped to set up, has launched a new project to put more solar panels on the roofs of local hospitals.

Community Energy Warwickshre’s Solar-Powered Hospitals scheme put solar panels on roofs at Stratford and Warwick Hospitals in 2011-12. These panels are estimated to have generated around 120,000 units of electricity since installation, saving 60 tonnes of carbon and bringing in £45,000 in income.

Now the co-op is launching Phase 2 of the Solar-Powered Hospitals scheme with a plan to double its size through installations of panels at Leamington Spa and Warwick Hospitals. The Phase 2 scheme will cost £110,000, and Community Energy Warwickshire is inviting people to buy shares to fund the project.

Shareholders will receive a modest interest on their shares, and Community Energy Warwickshire will also use a third of its financial surplus to fund local social and charitable activity.

More details about the share offer and how to subscribe can be found on Communtiy Energy Warwickshire’s website at www.cew.coop.

Harvest Share saves over two tonnes of fruit!

Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme, which collects fruit that would otherwise go unpicked from gardens and orchards in and around Stratford upon Avon, has saved over two tonnes of fruit from going to waste this autumn.

Now in its third year, the scheme put over 2.3 tonnes to good use in 2013 through free weekly distributions to local care homes and children’s groups and through processing fruit into jams, juices and chutneys. Since its launch as a pilot in the autumn of 2010, Harvest Share has saved over 6.5 tonnes of local fruit from going to waste.

Harvest Share organiser Roger Matthews praised the work of the volunteers who pick the fruit and help to sort and deliver it. “Over 350 hours of volunteer time has gone into this year’s Harvest Share,” he said. “Without the support of volunteers, Harvest Share would not be possible.” Pupils from Welcombe Hills Special School in Stratford are among the regular pickers.

He also highlighted the contribution of tree owners who offer their fruit to the scheme. “The orchards at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm, which are contributed by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, are the backbone of the scheme. Together they have contributed half this year’s fruit. But the trees in private gardens and orchards are just as important. We have had several new gardens contributed this year – in fact, we were not able to pick all the fruit on offer.”

Harvest Share works by picking regularly three-four times a week from the beginning of August to the end of October. Fruit is put into a temporary store – this year the Mulberry Centre in Stratford town centre, which was held on a short-term lease from Warwickshire County Council. The fruit is then sorted and distributed every Monday.

This year’s harvest was complicated by the late ripening of the fruit, following a cold start to the spring earlier in the year. Very little fruit was ready to pick in August, while some fruit was still not ripe at the end of October. “But despite these difficulties, we have made a good harvest in 2013,” said Roger Matthews.

 

Let’s get picking – Harvest Share gets under way

Stratford Harvest Share got under way on Saturday 17 August when a team of volunteers picked early apples (and a few early plums) in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, near Stratford upon Avon.

The team picked 80 kilos of fruit – mainly Beauty of Bath, a variety which was prized by the Victorians for ripening in July. The delayed harvest this year meant we were picking in mid-August, about three weeks late. The fruit has gone to make the first juice of the season, while the plums have already been turned into jam.

There’s a good crop of fruit on the trees – in particular, apples – but most of it is still far from ripe. There’ll be some good harvests as we get into September and October, but at the moment, pickings are still quite small.

If you would like to take part in Harvest Share, volunteers are needed for picking – Wednesday mornings, Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings – and for sorting and distribution on Monday mornings. Contact Transition Stratford on 01789 298503 if you would like to help.

Harvest Share volunteers with some of the harvest at Anne Hathaway's Cottage, 17 August 2013

Harvest Share volunteers with some of the harvest at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, 17 August 2013

Stratford Growing Together

Stratford Growing Together, a proposal by Transition Stratford to improve access to local food for people in Stratford upon Avon, is one of 11 projects chosen from 70 initial applications to go through to the second and final round of the £1 million Community Challenge organised by Stratford Town Trust.

The Stratford Growing Together project aims to combine a community “market garden” with special provision for vulnerable people and outreach to help people take up growing opportunities wherever they live in Stratford.

Transition Stratford Chair James Pavitt, who already runs a small-scale community garden in the middle of the town, said: “We are extremely pleased that the Community Challenge panel has selected out Stratford Growing Together project for further development. Our aim is to increase local access to healthy, affordable food, bring together people of all ages and abilities in shared activities, as well as offering practical experience of food growing.”

Final applications for Community Challenge funding have to be submitted to the Town Trust by 22 October. “We’ll be working hard over the next few months to put together the detailed plans for a project which will bring benefits to a significant number of local people,” said James.

For more information about Stratford Community Growing, contact Transition Stratford on 01789 298503 or at admin@transitionstratford.com.

Take the Plastic Challenge (and more!)

Transition Stratford’s Plastic Challenge gets under way this weekend Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 July 2013 at the Stratford River Festival.

The Plastic Challenge is simple. Monitor the plastic that comes into your life through shopping over the course of a week – then see whether you can cut out some of that plastic the following week.

This year’s Plastic Challenge Fortnight will run from Monday 8 July to Sunday 21 July (though you can take the Challenge at any time convenient to you). To encourage people to sign up for the Challenge, Transition Stratford is giving away a free shopping bag, hand-made by local volunteers from fabric remnants, to the first 100 to sign up for the Plastic Challenge at the River Festival.

There’ll also be leaflets on ways to reduce and recycle plastic, a game for children, and demonstrations of bag making – you can even have a go at making a bag yourself!

And Transition Stratford will be launching its Crafty Plastic Beasts competition for children. Can they make a – real or imaginary – beast by reusing plastic? Competition entries can be made at home and brought to Transition Stratford’s stall at the Crafty Beasts event which will take place on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July at Mary Arden’s farm, Wilmcote, near Stratford. Or children can have a go at making a beast there.

There will be prizes for three age groups – under 8, 8-12 and 13-16. Winners will be judged by Vikki Holroyd, Director of WEAVE Recycle, and the prizes will be a year’s free membership of the WEAVE Recycle centre in Leamington Spa.

Plastic Challenge Fortnight announced

Transition Stratford has announced that this year’s Plastic Challenge Fortnight will take place from Monday 8 July to Sunday 21 July.

The Plastic Challenge asks people to monitor the amount of plastic in their shopping over the course of a week – and then to see if they can cut down on plastic during the following week. Though you can take the Plastic Challenge at any time, taking it with others helps spread the word – and the good ideas for living with less plastic.

Transition Stratford ran the Plastic Challenge for the first time last year, when nearly 50 people took part. Now organisers hope more than twice that number will join the Challenge in 2013.

Transition Stratford will be launching the Challenge Fortnight at the Stratford River Festival on Saturday 6 July and Sunday 7 July, when its stall will have information about plastic, games and activities. You can sign up for then Challenge then – or e-mail plastic@transitionstratford.com to join in.

Winter boost for Harvest Share

Our fruit trees may be dormant in the cold weather, but Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme has been active over the winter with planting new trees and pruning older ones.

The planting has taken place in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, where the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has provided a number of young apple trees to fill gaps in the orchard layout. The trees are mostly heritage varieties, including Leathercoat – mentioned by Shakespeare in Henry IV, Harvey – first recorded in 1629 – and Foxwhelp – a cider apple first described by the writer John Evelyn in 1664. The Trust has also planted new trees itself at the orchards at Mary Arden’s Farm.

In addition to planting, Harvest Share volunteers have also pruned nearly 50 trees in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Harvest Share organiser Roger Matthews said: “It’s been some years since trees in the orchard were regularly pruned, so we’ve only made a start this year. There are another 80 trees, including some of the largest in the orchard, which still need pruning – and some of those trees we’ve pruned this year will need further work next winter.”

Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme, which collects fruit which would otherwise not be harvested and puts it to good use, was the largest scheme of its type in the country over the last two years. Click here for further information – or contact us to get involved.

Winter orchard maintenance at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Work for the 2013 fruit harvest will begin early this year, when Harvest Share volunteers start work on winter maintenance in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust property in Shottery.

The orchard is the largest single contributor to Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme, providing nearly half the crop in 2011. But many of the 200 trees in the orchard are in need of pruning – and there are also gaps where new trees can be planted. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has recently purchased a number of traditional fruit varieties for plantings in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and in orchards at Mary Arden’s Farm.

The first work session is scheduled to take place on Saturday 12 January, starting at 10.30 am. And there will be further sessions on the mornings of Wednesday 16 January, Saturday 9 February, Wednesday 20 February, Saturday 9 March and Wednesday 20 March.

For more details, contact harvest@transitionstratford.com.

Transition Stratford backs community farm

Transition Stratford is backing a new community growing initiative – Five Acre Community Farm, a community supported agriculture (CSA) scheme based at Garden Organic’s site at Ryton, near Coventry.

Five Acre Community Farm aims to produce local and seasonal organic vegetables – and to involve people in the growing. Based on five acres of land at the back of Ryton Gardens, Garden Organic’s headquarters, the CSA is a membership organisation, offering the opportunity to become engaged in growing as well as benefiting from the farm’s round-the-year vegetables!

Transition Stratford’s Facilitator, James Pavitt, said: “Transition Stratford is committed to the principle of local food. We run a Garden Share scheme to help people without gardens get the opportunity to grow their own and Harvest Share, a project to make sure loacl fruit is gathered and put to good uses. Five Acre Community Farm is a great initiative that’s not too far from us, so we are keen to support it!”

For more information about Five Acre Community Farm, see its Facebook pages at  http://www.facebook.com/events/183291165140230/#!/Five.Acre.Community.Farm.

Transition Stratford boosts Stratford Time Bank

Transition Stratford is giving a boost to the recently established Stratford Time Bank with its Harvest Share scheme joining the Time Bank as an organisational member.

This means that all Time Bank members who help with Harvest Share will be able to credit half that time to their personal Time Bank account – while the remaining half goes into the Time Bank’s community pot

The community pot provides free help to people who need support when they’re not best placed to contribute to the Time Bank themselves. For example, someone just out of hospital after an operation might need a variety of types of help – but they might be unwilling to ask for help through the Time Bank if they feel unable to return help to others. But the community pot will provide them with support until they’ve recovered.

Transition Stratford started initial discussions about setting up a Time Bank in Stratford in the autumn of 2010. The Stratford Time bank has now been set up thanks to support from Stratford Town Trust and from Orbit Heart of England Housing Associatio, which hosts the Time Bank at its offices in Greenhill Street. Transition Stratford is a member of the Time Bank’s steering group.

Harvest Share organiser Roger Matthews said: “As the Time Bank grows, it will provide a valuable resource for Stratford. Transition Stratford is pleased to be able give a boost to the scheme through Harvest Share.”