PRESS RELEASE : NEW GROWTH FOR TRANSITION EXMOUTH : AGM 14.9.19
Riding the rising wave of environmental consciousness in Exmouth, eleven people came forward to take places on the Transition Exmouth (TrEx) Umbrella Group at the AGM on Saturday.
The only item on the agenda was a move to close TrEx down , as the previous joint Chair and Secretary Adrian Toole had to step down for personal reasons.
This was front-page news in the local press, and met with dismay by people such as "father of the group" Noel Harrower. "With the Government and Local Authorites declaring a Climate Emergency , and the Town council actively asking Transition to advise their panel on combatting climate change, now is not the moment to shut Transition down", he said. "We need younger people to step forward, there were only older people at the meetings".
"That's because you're the guys with time !" said Catherine Causely, mother of two children at Exmouth schools, who has taken the previously unfilled role of Events Officer. "We need everyone !" Catherine has experience in the agricultural sector, helping businesses diversify and access EU funding. She has been an environmental business adviser, helping SMEs conduct environmental audits, install resource efficiency measures and access funding. As reuse project officer at Devon County Council, she now supports charities, repair cafes and reuse groups, as well as running public events and open days.
Catherine says, " I am privileged to help out Transition Exmouth carry on the great work, so many people have tirelessly and generously given their time to."
Adrian Toole agreed to stay on the umbrella group as mentor. "It was getting a bit lonely up here," he commented as he welcomed the new officers to the top table at the AGM. "I am delighted that my motion to close the group has failed."
New Chair Nicky Nicholls said, "My concern for our environment and climate has always driven the way I live and parent. I've been involved in discussions with many of the environmental groups in Exmouth , talking about the need for an umbrella organisation to help us all communicate with one another. Transition's constitution makes it the ideal vehicle for this, and my key commitment as Chair will be to work on networking the many “eco” groups within Exmouth."
Nicky has worked for the Town Council , running Exmouth Festival, and for Exmouth Children's Centre. She now works for Devon County Council as a special needs advisor within the Education Department.
Nicky says, "I've been massively inspired by XR and the school strike movement this year - my daughter is one of the leaders of Fridays for Future in Exeter."
Transition's new Secretary is Carol Jay, who put together the Directory of Sustainability when Local Agenda 21 Co-ordinator at the Community Council of Devon. "Unfortunately none of us knew much about the internet at the time, and it was published as a ring bound folder!" she says ruefully . Carol now runs a photography business with a thriving website. "I am keen to set up a website which gives access to information about what each person and business can do about climate change and helping the environment , with links to local groups and suppliers who can help". Carol was Co-ordinator of Recycling in Ottery and won a Business in the Community Award. "When we started the group there was no kerbside recycling - in fact the Council told us that you'd never get people to separate their waste, " she says. "It goes to show what a group of ordinary people can achieve, and how much change is possible in a short time."
Doreen Sandham, who was part of the original TrEx group, continues in her role of Treasurer. "My interest in the environment is lifelong, and I am a member of Transition Exmouth because I cannot sit idly by while we rush wildly towards the 6th mass extinction," Doreen explained. "It is important to support each other's efforts to make a difference, and to be supported in return. A new and stronger team will be very refreshing, exciting, and energising. "
Jane Habermehl rejoins the Umbrella group; she works with a charity which supports teachers in South Africa . Jane says, "I was involved in TTE from its formation and am pleased to be back on board. I believe community initiatives are vital in reducing our carbon footprint and strengthening our resilience in difficult times."
Other members of the Umbrella group formed at the AGM are Andy Lock, Jan Gannaway, Mike Rosser, Noel Harrower, and Simon Pardoe.
Transition Exmouth are calling on local people to get involved with developing projects. Catherine is enthusiastic about the future. "There is so much funding out there at the moment for Community groups involved in environmental work."
Mike Rosser, the Town Council representative on the Transition Umbrella, informed the group that "The town council receives approximately £120,000 a year Community Infrastructure money – money that needs to be spent on infrastructure for the community, providing that it complies with the neighbourhood plan. As I understand it no decision has been made yet as to how this should be spent ...."
The Transition group were instrumental in making sure that the Neighbourhood Plan is full of environmentally friendly proposals, and we now have the opportunity to take these from dream to reality.
Adrian our outgoing Chair , Secretary and bedrock of Exmouth Transition was presented with an antique print of Exmouth , he would like to thank everyone for their support over the years. Adrian is staying on as mentor to the new umbrella group.
Transition plan to organise a networking event very soon, with representatives from all local groups with an interest in the environment. Anyone interested in getting involved can email email@example.com or call Carol Jay on 0781 604 7676.