Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Local Currency Action - Conference

Adrian from our transition neighbours in New Cross has recently posted up details on the yahoo group of an interesting and transition-related event happening at Utrophia on Deptford. Creating local currencies is one of the aspects of the transition town model which has attracted a lot of interest in recent years with areas such as Brixton, Totnes, Lewes, Stroud and recently Bristol all starting up their own local currency. There's a short video about the Brixton Pound below for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

Event details
Date: Saturday 18th February 2012
Time: 11am - 6pm
Venue: Utrophia, 120 Deptford High Street (opposite the train carriage)

The Local Currency Action-Conference will look at the role of money in
an economy, and how a local currency can be harnessed to promote small
businesses, entrepreneurship and a stronger local economy and identity.
The first part of the day will consist of three speakers, from different
community initiatives, who will introduce the participants to the
concepts of money, local currencies and credit unions - “community
banks” -, and the roles these play in building stronger communities
and engaged economies. The second part of the day will consist of
participants breaking out into smaller groups to look at particular
aspects of creating a local currency; these groups will discuss an
action plan for their respective topics, eventually coming back together
to feedback to the whole group (the plenary). The aim of the
action-conference is to provide an informative and lively introduction
to community finance to those interested in listening, and then
developing a concept of a local currency that could be rolled-out in
Deptford and New Cross for those interested in doing. At the end, it is
hoped that we will have a blue-print to start working on making a local
currency a reality.

Starting 11am
11:30 - 12:00 James - Understanding Money
12:00 -13:00 Simon Woolf - Brixton
13:30 - 14:30 - Lunchtime Band
[DNX video]
14:30 - 15:00 - Maria Drury - Credit Unions
15:00 - 17:00 - Breakout Session Discussions
17:00 - 18:00 - Plenary Feedback
18:00 - 19:00 - Core Group Action Discussion

The Speakers:
James - Understanding Money
James, an economist, will provide a light-hearted start to the
conference with a number of anecdotal stories and games to demonstrate
just what money is and how it works. He will cover the function and
development of money - the exchange commodity, what it has become, the
feelings it evokes in us and why an alternative currency may be preferable.

Simon Woolf - The Brixton Pound
William is the Managing Director of the Brixton Pound, a successful
local currency initiative which is in its 3rd year of existence. He will
provide the real-life story of how they set up the Brixton �, the
pit-falls they hit and the successes they achieved, as well as telling
us just what it takes to develop one of our own.

Maria Drury - Deptford-New Cross Credit Union (branch of the Lewisham
Plus CU)
Maria is the credit union branch manager in Deptford-New Cross, who has
been a long-time community activist, setting up numerous initiatives to
improve the quality of life for those living in New Cross and Deptford.
She will talk about the role of credit unions in strengthening community
bonds, providing accessible and responsible finance, and building
democratic and sustainable local services.

As the financial crisis starts to hit, local communities need to build
their resilience in the face of cuts, inflation and exploitative big
business. New Cross and Deptford are two communities that will be hit by
the recession, especially the poorest, and therefore the community need
to start finding ways of tackling the effects of gentrification, the
invasion of multinational supermarkets and retail chains and high levels
of unemployment and poverty. One means to meet the challenge is the
implementation of a local currency, which will support small,
independent businesses, work opportunities and entrepreneurship, as the
money flows within the area, enabling more transactions and exchanges of
value locally. Another is to support community-based banks, such as
credit unions, which encourage saving and provide responsible loans, as
well as being locally controlled and accountable.

Local finance can assist in the following ways:

1] Provide a medium of exchange which can only be used locally, thus
encouraging trade in the locality, develop a constant recycling of value
within the community, and preventing the community's wealth from leaving
the area.

2] Provide a means to pay for local services - eg caring, gardening,
repairs - thus encouraging members of the community to provide
employment, work opportunities and skill-share to other members.

3] Strengthen a sense of local identity with a currency which celebrates
local heroes, events and landmarks.

4] Encourage a responsible attitude to savings, lending and purchasing,
with supportive local financial institutions, which are democratic,
accountable and transparent.

Brockley Common Community Gardening Day - Sunday 21st February

Rupert from the Brockley Cross Action Group has been in touch to tell us of an upcoming gardening event down at Brockley Station. Details below:


A date for your diaries! Yes the time has come for our first - and much needed  - community gardening event of 2012!

Come and join us for an afternoon of gardening on Brockley Common on SUNDAY 26th FEBRUARY, 12.00 - 4.30pm! Meet outside the Broca Cafe.

We are planning to give the community gardening beds a good clear out and pruning to prepare the planting for Spring! We will also be venturing into the wildlife area for our once a year rubbish removal and cutting back of shrubs, before we hand it back to the birds that nest in there and all the other creatures that live there throughout the year.

So come along for some community action! Please bring warm clothing and stout footwear. BXAG will provide tools, gloves and refreshments on the day.

Hope to see you all there - if you can make it!




Monday, 13 February 2012

2011 Wassail at Hilly Fields

Let the wassailing begin!

The previous day's heavy snow could not prevent the second annual wassail at Hilly Fields orchard on Sunday 5th February. Details of last years inaugural event can be found here. This year's event was attended by around 15 people made up of orchard leaders, carers and others who just wanted to join in the fun! Accompanying the  traditional wassailing equipment of cider and toast was some hot spiced apple which was very welcome as we made our way through the snow whilst night began to descend. We also took the opportunity to check up on other new fruit and nut varieties including Quince, Walnut and Greengage which have been planted in the park in recent times and are happy to report that all our doing well.

Warding off the spirits and wishing them well with a drop of ale

January meeting minutes

Minutes of our meeting held on 19th Jan 2011 at Mr Lawrence Wine Bar, Crofton Park.

*Please note names of members against specific minutes/actions have been omitted from public version.

Transition London Network Meeting Feedback

  • Good opportunity to network with other London groups
  • Possible London Transition co-ordinator post to be created
  • TT Brixton offered potential meeting space for south London groups
  • Low carbon communities
  • Project Dirt are launching a new website
  • Good for sharing ideas with other groups

Celebrating our achievements

A number of toasts to all the things we have done up to now:

  • Film nights (awareness raising)
  • Participation in local events (Hilly Fields Fayre, BXAG events)
  • Fruit harvesting
  • Brockley Gardenshare
  • Brockley Station Community Garden
  • Draughtbusting training
  • Collaboration with other local groups (BrocSoc, BXAG, Friends of Hilly Fields)
  • River of Flowers project
  • Successful funding applications
  • Promotion of beekeeping
  • Planting of new orchard at Hilly Fields
  • ‘Flux’ club night

Transition Discussion Cards

We introduced something which has formed part of the latest book by Rob Hopkins ‘The Transition Companion’ which is about using ‘ingredients’ cards to stimulate conversation in groups under particular headings. The group broke into pairs using the topics on the cards as the drivers for conversation in relation to what we do and could do locally. Topics discussed included:

‘Outreach / skill sharing’

Becoming more inclusive
Tapping into local clubs
Engaging local businesses
Brockley Station garden > good way of getting more people involved. Potential to attach meeting to an event at the garden events.

‘Starting Out’

Lewisham Green Drinks
Engaging young people > how we communicate


Education > Prendergast (Hilly Fields Orchard) / Developing links with schools and how to sustain them. Noted that the head of John Stainer is a trustee of BXAG and this could be a possible link. Lots of potential issues such as child protection which make it difficult to access these sectors.
St Andrews Church Hilly Fields groups > possible involvement in meetings?
Could we do a talk about bees?
Brockley Market seem to be happy to have people there handing out leaflets.
Linking up with local scout groups – could even help them get their badges! To be followed up.


What could the area look like?
What would be the best way of having an effect on the local area?
LEAF > community grants for things like insulation.
Approaching the council: ownership of spaces.
Lewisham Council - Community & Environment manager > happy to meet up and talk to members of the group.

‘Local food initiatives’

Brockley Station plot – could we grow enough to sell in the future?
Possible collaboration with Erin from the Broca on a Brockley preserve (tied into fruit harvesting)

Philip Grainger from Rushey Green timebank is trying to set up a community café in Crofton Park library. Meet up with him to discuss further how we might become involved.
Tool swap / gardening events
Energy meters – if we could get hold of some we could loan them out to people to use. Noted that Lewisham library had a similar scheme. Check if this is still running.
Post meeting note: checked and the library still do this.
Even if Lewisham do already run this scheme it would be worth promoting.
Re-skilling: – re-establish links with Frendsbury Gardens?
Sharing resources in the community – Freecycle type of thing.


Meet with council
Look into selling produce
Re-skilling – how can we facilitate this?
Contact local scout group


Online – Blog, Facebook, Twitter – Facebook site needs to be utilised more.
South east central forum needs to be used more. All our events need to be posted on here. We should start discussions on there too.

Actions: Check on Facebook group. South east central to be utilised more (all).

Forming working groups:

It was noted that other Transition groups have formed working groups dealing with particular aspects of transition such as Recycling, Energy, Money, Food etc. We haven’t done this and it was agreed that it should be something we should work towards. Attendees noted down areas of that they were particularly interested in with a view to joining up with each other forming working groups.

Actions: Circulate list of attendees areas of interest to kickstart formation of working groups.

Brockley Station Community Garden

Bid for sign/ Fruit trees – didn’t go in however another bid is in progress (community food bid) £750 available. We have had Groundworks visit the site to advise on how we could maximise the space at the site and suggested that a couple of apple trees and fruit bushes alongside raised beds.
TTB will need to provide the labour to build any raised bids / planting. Around 12 people required. Possible workday in March.

Actions: Put together bid for community food funding.

Film evening

Hosting a night of transition related films at her members’ house. Circulate ideas for films. Attendees noted whether they would be interested in attending. Limited space available.

Actions: Member to circulate list of possible films and dates to interested members.


  • Next meeting date: Tuesday 21st February 7:30pm Venue: Mr Lawrence Wine Bar
  • Next garden event: Sunday 22nd April 10-12pm at Brockley Station


  • New orchard being planted in Mayow Park, Sydenham on Saturday 28th January 12-3pm.
  • London orchard project are carrying out a session trimming down the cages around the apple trees at Lilac House.