Transition Neath Inaugural Event

On 5th May in Neath town hall, the inaugural meeting of Transition Neath was held.  26 residents and representatives from NPTCBC, KWT, Groundwork and NPT CVS attended.  With support from the Cynefin Place Coordinator, a venue, refreshments and materials were procured in order to hold an Open Space event to garner interest and attract members to the group.

Attendees were invited to sit in a circle and Andy Jenkins of Neath Transition and Kathryn Britton, Cynefin place coordinator introduced the evening and gave an overview on Neath Transition and Transition Towns; an introductory video was shown.

A community conversation was instigated and the attendees were invited to shout out their ideas for themes and projects for the group. Twelve themes were suggested with a further sixteen sub-themes branching off each theme.

Attendees were given 3 dots and invited

Attendees were given 3 dots and invited to prioritise the themes in order to establish break away groups. The top 6 themes were then allocated a table in order to further discuss each topic. NB: Transport was joint sixth, it was decided that Transport would be prioritised at the next meeting.

Priority Projects:

1.       Education x 9

2.       Community Spirit x 8

3.       Renewable Energy x 8

4.       Local Economy x 8

5.       Green Spaces x 7

6.       Food Growing x 6

7.       Transport x 6

Following a 40 minute debate each table

Following a 40 minute debate each table was asked to prioritise 3 action points to take forward and do some research on before the next meeting. If no one took ownership of a theme it was archived.

Education

1.       Community Events/promote/educate

2.       Create an environment for volunteering

3.       Educate about costs/consequences - no one took ownership

 

Community Spirit

1.       Newsletter/Contacts/Activities

2.       Surrogates

3.       Street Network/Twinning

 

Renewable Energy

1.       Public bodies encourage more energy saving

2.       Zero Energy Homes - no one took ownership

3.       Community Owned Energy

 

Local Economy

1.       Mapping - Existing & Untapped

2.       Getting it out there/ Love Neath

3.       Build on the Infrastructure - no one took ownership

 

Green Spaces

1.       Claiming Back Land

2.       Community Orchards

3.       Encouraging Use - Friends of the Gnoll!

 

Food Growing

1.       'How To' Workshops

2.       Herb Boxes

3.       Using local producers & G.Y.O. Meals

Key factors

Key Factors:

There was a lot of negativity leading up to the Open Space Event from some local Councillors who saw it as a 'Green Party Manifesto'. Room hire was refused and some members were ruthlessly scrutinised. It is interesting to note that members consist of cross-party associations and neutrals.

What Went Well:

The open and inclusive nature that the evening was delivered by a variety of facilitators meant full audience participation. Attendees were keen and readily took ownership of projects, themes and issues.

Support was offered from some partners and officers in attendance with both Communities First and Keep Wales Tidy agreeing to take forward actions.

What Could Have Gone Better:

What may have been a better option was to ask residents which thematic topic they would be interested in being involved with instead of looking for individuals.

Next Steps:

Regular meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of the month early evenings, commencing on Tuesday June 2nd 6.30 venue tba.  The first meeting will be an opportunity for attendees to feedback on their action points and forward plan the next steps

Comments from participants:

"Good night, well done to all the organisers"

"Excellent team effort, our page likes have more than doubled since yesterday"

"It was great to get home and see all the likes rolling in and getting positive  notifications and feedback"

"It was great to see so many people supporting a great initiative and it looks promising that so many people are supporting this project which has every opportunity of being successful"