Highlights of 2023!
2023 was an exciting year for Transition Ilford. We were delighted that that Nnenna, Sadi and Krystyna joined our Steering group at our AGM. Their skills are adding to our pool of experience.
Here are some of the amazing things we got up to over the year!
Valentines Park Forest Garden has had another busy year. We have planted more native hedgerow saplings as well as some more exotic specimens such as mulberry, pawpaw, a strawberry tree plus lots of ground cover plants like strawberries, rhubarb, sorrel, comfrey and mint. Early in the year we constructed a willow arch and planted a kiwi climber at each end.
We have continued our well attended regular school holiday activities for families and children, as well as our lunchtime Eco club at Valentines High School.
We have regular weekly activities with Year One of Seven Kings Primary school pupils, their teachers and parents.
We were pleased to host a visit from the Transition London and S.E. group in May.
Our annual Forest Garden Summer Festival was a resounding success with workshops on composting, taking herb cuttings, seed saving, tours of the Forest Garden and talks about the source and flow of our Cran Brook. We enjoyed home baked cakes, Herb teas, Forest Garden tasters, a harp & music making session, pedal powered music, wood whittling, face painting, nature crafts and parachute games. We ended with a lovely Blessing for the Cran brook.
In December we held a similar but smaller and much chillier Winter Solstice Festival.
We had a fabulous year of repairs! Thanks to our team of 7 electrical repair volunteers and helpers, 6 + sewing repairers, our receptionists, Aaron on the laptops, Julie on the jewellery and people who tackle all sorts of bits and bobs. We are great at recruiting our customers as repairers!
So what's been mended this year? Well we haven't actually started counting that yet but we usually get around 20 customers each time and we mend at least half or come up with the solution. What's interesting is the learning that takes place and so even if something can't be mended, we have given the item some love, tried all sorts of tricks and the customer has learned something as we try to involve them.
We keep coming up against electrical items that are not repairable due to their design and going forwards we are going to report these to Repair Cafe International to report back to the manufacturers. Things should be repairable.
At the Energy Café we have had conversations about energy saving at home with more than 80 people this year. Many people are trying hard to do what they can but were keen to learn more. It was good to be able to help Maria to get a grant to insulate her home, and to offer practical resources like LED light bulbs and radiator reflector foil to many of those who dropped by. We have had plenty of volunteers at each session, with Sobia, our Energy Advisor, fielding the more complex concerns. The Energy Cafe website page, with its developing page of useful web links, makes it easier to direct people to online resources. Sobia has begun networking with charities, community and faith groups, and we have offered Energy Cafe outreach sessions at a number of community events, including an inter faith eco action day and group of 50 plus women learning Arabic at Eton Road Community Centre.
We continued to make bulk orders roughly every 3 months, with new people joining who we hope, in time, might form new food coops. We ran a zero waste stall at our AGM and at Brisbane Road Christmas Market, a community event we supported.
We would love to do more to develop outlets for zero waste locally sourced affordable food here in Ilford. Do let us know if you have more ideas about how we can do that.
We look forward to 2024. If you have an idea for a project you would like to do or would like to join in one of our existing projects, then we would love to hear from you.
Our projects are all run by local volunteers and the more people who get involved the more active we can be in creating a flourishing, green community!