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Sustainable Sidmouth and the Transition Town movement

The start ……

It was in 2008 that the Vision Group formally took on ‘Transition Town’ status: Sept 2008 News

It was felt by VGS members at the time that environmental and sustainability issues should be addressed in the local neighbourhood – such as:
transport and cycling; aiming to make the Sid Valley self-sustaining in energy; and retaining the character of Sidmouth while developing it sensitively:

The Futures Forum report of 2015  gives information in depth.

The Transition Town movement

So, why does the VGS have to be part of a larger organisation to realise all of this?

From the Transition Town network website:

Transition is a movement that has been growing since 2005.  It is about communities stepping up to address the big challenges they face by starting local.  By coming together, they are able to crowd-source solutions. They seek to nurture a caring culture, one focused on supporting each other, both as groups or as wider communities.

In practice, they are reclaiming the economysparking entrepreneurshipreimagining workreskilling themselves and weaving webs of connection and support.  It’s an approach that has spread now to over 50 countries, in thousands of groups: in towns, villages, cities, Universities, schools.

Transition Network

And from Horst Köhler, former German president and former president of the IMF:

“I see [Transition] as a wonderful combination of civic local engagement and a worldwide network.  In many towns throughout the world people get together, finding community, enthusiastic about the idea of together envisioning a future model for their town that will make it worth living in.”

Former German President waxes lyrical about Transition

The Network has just updated what its about:

A local network

Sustainable Sidmouth is officially part of the Transition Town network along with other Devon and neighouring towns:

Transition Exmouth – plus Transition Exmouth Facebook

Bildergebnis für Transition Exeter

Transition Exeter – plus Transition Exeter Facebook

Turn Lyme Green

Bildergebnis für sustainable crediton

Sustainable Crediton – plus Sustainable Crediton Facebook

Bildergebnis für transition Town devon logo

Transition Town Totnes – plus Transition Town Totnes Facebook

Sustainability issues

The Neighbourhood Plan is a part of how we will achieve sustainability in Sidmouth.

Food, the production and delivery of and the contamination of, is obviously a sustainability concern. How to keep soils fertile and avoid our food actually poisoning us instead of nourishing us has been a problem since man began farming. We now have the problem of ‘food miles’ to address too.

The VGS was instumental in forming and running the Farmers’ Market, and starting the Sidmouth Food Festival, it is now run by Kennaway House. ( although there has been little activity since 2018)

Other strands are Energy, Transport, Building and protecting the environment, including Recycling.

With a view to protecting the environment VGS is supporting Sidmouth Plastic Warriors in their campaign to reduce plastic use in Sidmouth.

Transition towns in the news

These groups are very active across a wide range of issues – as shown in these news pieces on the VGS website:

[to be updated! August 2022]

July 2018:

Looking for volunteers on using renewable energy

Local Exchange Trading Schemes in Exeter and Exmouth

Reviving cultural and biological diversity

June 2018:

Trading in the Exeter Pound to cease from 30th September

Lyme Regis receives Plastic Free Communities award from Surfers Against Sewage

Bookings open for Totnes Eco and Community Homes Fair > 20th October

Now is the time to think about Energy saving

‘Boomerang bags’ from Plastic Free Ottery

Transition Towns on the Futures Forum Blog

There are lots of stories and issues connected to the Transition Town movement featured on the FFVGS blog:

Search – Transition Towns – FuturesForumVGS

For example:

May 2018: Networked cities as resilient platforms for post-capitalist transition > case studies Frome and Buckfastleigh

April 2018: Local decision making, the role of councils and social enterprise > meeting in Devonport, Plymouth > 12th June

April 2018: “Municipalities in Transition” >>> >>> Exploring how municipalities & citizens can work better together >>> >>> on air quality, health & social care and preserving bees…

July 2017: Transition towns and buying local

Jan 2017: Transitioning to a new economy

Feb 2016: Transition Initiatives: a critical assessment

Feb 2016: “The film ‘Demain’ (‘Tomorrow’) is proving to be one of the most remarkable catalysts for Transition and other bottom-up approaches that has ever been made.”

Dec 2015: Climate change: the Transition Town perspective on COP21

Sept 2015: Communities Living Sustainably in Dorset: Sept newsletter

May 2014: Michael Shuman and economic localisation: “Those counties with the highest density of local and small business were those that actually had the highest level of per capita income growth and were doing the best job of reducing poverty.”

March 2014: Building resilience in local communities and economies: the Transition Town movement today

July 2013: Participatory Budgeting in East Devon

June 2013: VGS AGM: sustainable development: the bigger picture