The next step for Transition in England and Wales

The next step for Transition in England and Wales
Chris McCartney
27 July
7 minute read

Back in November, we introduced you to Transition Together, a Lottery-funded project to grow and support the Transition movement in the UK. It builds on Transition: Bounce Forward and a small team is working hard on Transition Together to respond to what you, as groups, told us were your priorities, through helping groups to connect, amplifying inspiring stories, seed funding grants and running workshops, training and events. 

Central to this project is creating the space for a representative and democratic structure to emerge, so that Transitioners themselves shape and guide the development of our work and the movement in England and Wales for the future. 

The model exists within the Transition movement all over the world. Since Transition emerged about 15 years ago, as an idea and a practise for community-led change, groups started organising from Brazil to Japan, the USA to Germany and Australia to South Africa. In many of these places, organisations known as Hubs also developed, to support and connect Transition groups with culturally appropriate resources.

Until now, that hasn’t happened for England and Wales. One theory is that because some of the first Transition Towns emerged in England, and earliest guides to doing Transition were first produced in English, perhaps groups here didn’t feel the same need for their own local support organisation.

Fifteen years on, it’s clear we can do much more to connect, share experience, learn, grow and support each other as a movement here. Right now new Transition groups are forming; existing groups are wondering where to go next and we are witnessing greater public concern about the unsustainable ways our society, economy and communities are operating. 

More than ever, communities need the grassroots climate action, practical solutions and vision Transition groups offer. And a Hub would support the movement to grow and strengthen in England and Wales, serving groups and those involved in them.  It would also give us a way to connect to the 25 international Hubs, sharing and learning from Transition around the world. 

From now until Summer 2023, Transition Together is going to hold a wide and open conversation about what a Hub could do for the movement and how it could be organised to support you. The group leading this journey of discovery is called the Caretaker Group.

Meet the Caretaker group

Earlier in 2022, we ran an open process of recruitment to find 5 people to join the Caretaker Group. They each bring something different to the conversation both from within and outside the Transition Movement and are from different places and backgrounds.  We’re so pleased to introduce them! 

Monica Cru-Hall

I am a mother, teacher, SENDco, Creative artist specialising in bibliotherapy and dramatherapy and I was on the Programming and Facilitation Team for the Together We Can Summit in May. I help people co-exist and flexibly flow within the continuum of ‘big emotions’ they may encounter.

My blue sky aim is to ensure that any person I meet achieves their
highest, not yet imagined, potential by minimising any unhelpful effects of past trauma, including deep rooted racial trauma.

Declan D’Arcy 

My name is Declan D’Arcy. Much of my passion for community activism can be found at the intersection of nature-connection and queer, decolonial and trauma-informed transformative processes. I am part of various organisations and collectives, all broadly working to create deeply inclusive and regenerative forms of resistance and adaptation to social and ecological unravelling.

What excites me about the Caretaker Group process is the potential to contribute to a journey that may support the resourcing and capacity of various groups across the land. Building resilient, communicative and connected movements feels so vital in these times, and I am excited about what we may create together to support this.

Phil Frodsham

I’ve been a member of Transition New Mills for over a decade. My passion is for opening up and facilitating spaces to help grow capacity in our communities – from regional networks to citizens assemblies and local climate hubs. In my spare time, I’m a mountain biker, a musician and a gardener. In terms of the hub caretaker group, my questions are – how do we start really scaling up our work whilst maintaining our human connections? How can we start building an imagination infrastructure that can support us all? And how can an England and Wales Hub support all of this work? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Sounds really exciting to me!

Kate Gathercole

Amidst a varied background in the arts and healthcare, over the past decade I worked with others locally to bring together a county-region activist hub. The process that develops across a hub feels exciting – and it feels needed.

In recent years my work has focused on approaches to change-making that bring people into a place of greater connection with themselves, their community, and the more-than-human world. I hope the Caretaker process will be an opportunity to deepen that work.

Amy Scaife

I’m a photographer and climate activist, currently pressing pause on photography to concentrate on facilitating courageous conversations, big idea dreaming and community connections with hubRen, a repurposed cargo bike of climate resources. With a focus on solutions and systemic shifts, it is an invitation to imagine and create together a climate safe and fair future for all – seed funded by Transition Together Bounce Forward 2021.

We also have a link to Transition Network’s Board of Trustees through Peter Lefort and a link into the Transition Together project via Richard Couldrey and Mike Thomas

What are we going to do?

We will be opening up space and opportunity to hear from you, the people of the Transition Movement in England and Wales, about what a support organisation could look like to best serve your needs. What should its aims, function and purpose be? How does it become resilient over time? And how can it be structured to be democratic and accountable to you? We will look at how hubs work elsewhere to draw inspiration and advice. 

We’re also going to be running a project specifically focusing on what’s happening in Wales, both named Transition activity and other forms of community organising, to better understand the context and the place of Transition there. 

By the Summer of 2023, we will have a proposal for your feedback and a plan to start building the Hub through 2023/24.

How can you get involved?

Throughout the year we will invite you to engage in different ways with webinars, surveys and conversations. We are also really excited to form a Sensing Group of Transitioners who want to step a little closer to the project and attend deeper conversations on specific areas, themes or general reflections throughout the year. In the autumn, we’ll share further details about this group and an open invitation to get involved.. 

As the Caretaker Group begins its work this week, it feels like the start of a great adventure with the potential to shape our movement in the coming years, and help it grow in strength, reach, relevance, impact and creativity. We can’t wait to discover what emerges and share it with you along the way.