Outside the Tolmen Centre
To help raise awareness of the upcoming COP21 climate conference in Paris, Transition Constantine organised in mid-November a screening of the film ‘This Changes Everything’ at the Tolmen Centre in Constantine.
The film is, of course, associated with the book of the same name by Naomi Klein, and it provides some intense coverage of various groups around the world on the front lines of ‘Blockadia’. From tar sand development in Canada, through gold mining in Greece, and coal power station development in India, the film exposed the impact of global corporations on communities, climate and the natural world.
As an event, it was well supported, with over 30 attending and many new faces in the audience.
A wonderful total of over 200 supporting votes was achieved in the pre-school’s bid for a share of the Marks & Spencer Community Energy Fund. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to over-top the sheer weight of numbers from other projects in a first-past-the-post voting system. In Cornwall the funding went to the Hayle swimming pool project. So, the pre-school’s fund-raising continues, and the traditional fund-raising ‘thermometer’ has been re-erected (somewhat refurbished) at the school.
On Tuesday 28th April the Constantine Community Land Trust will be holding the LAUNCH EVENT of the new organisation (and it will incorporate the AGM of the initial set-up organisation). For the new organisation, the meeting aims to:
- Adopt a constitution
- Elect a board of directors
- Discuss prospective sites
- Recruit new CLT members
The meeting will be held at the Tolmen Centre in Constantine, with doors opening at 7:00 pm for a start at 7:30 pm (drinks and nibbles available).
For more information and an agenda, see:
In the course of a migration to a new hosting service, the most recent posts to the Transition Constantine website went missing. To give a flavour of what happened in the last year or so, here below are some new posts to summarise some of the key events (and regular activities) of the Transition Constantine year.
What would an election be without the village hustings? With the national election due in early May, members of Transition Constantine (working with other members of the local community) helped to organise an event at the Tolmen Centre to which all the candidates were invited. Rather to our surprise, all six of them agreed to come. Even more to our surprise, the audience was over 100 strong, filling the guild room of the Tolmen Centre to near capacity. The event was designed to follow the Radio 4 ‘Any Questions’ format, in which each candidate gives an answer to a question placed by a member of the audience. According to one of the candidates, Constantine was the only village in the Camborne & Redruth constituency to hold its own hustings.
Poster for the village hustings
As an enhancement to the recently re-equipped play area in Constantine, members of the group planted one sunny Saturday sixteen good-sized apple trees in clumps around the area. Hearts initially sank on being told the size of the hole that would be needed for each tree, but fortunately the soil proved to be quite easily dug (!). Some remarkable spade-work saw all the trees planted in a morning.
Following the success of the ‘crowdfunding’ bid for local support, we were informed that the Constantine Community Windpower project had moved on to the next stage of the awards process, and the project team were invited to an award ceremony at the Eden Project, along with all the other projects that had passed this first hurdle. On the night, to our delight, our bid for funding was awarded in full (£10,000) – the funds intended to cover all the expenses needed to see the project through to a successful outcome to a planning application. The photo is from the Western Morning News article about the event, with the full article here.
Group photo at the Energyshare Awards
Despite a long-standing interest in pursuing a community windpower project, all the best sites in the parish seemed ‘blighted’ by alleged interference with local radar systems, especially those at nearby Culdrose. A number of small local wind turbines have been approved, though, and this gave us hope when the group was offered, as a corporate donation, two slightly used Proven 6kW turbines. The offer coincided with the prospect of a grant award from Energyshare, which was being made available to community groups in Cornwall. A ‘bidding’ process for the grants was established via the Crowdfunder website, where each project made its ‘pitch’ on the website and recruited supporting votes. The website image below shows the Transition Constantine project page – and the magnificent total of 128 supporters. We were never quite sure how the success of the bid was evaluated – but that level of support got us through to the next stage of the bidding!
Several years ago we experienced the solar ‘gold rush’ into Cornwall, when proposals for solar farms were springing up everywhere – and one of them was for a site in Constantine parish. It provoked much local opposition, and a large part of the objections seemed due to the fact that the project was being promoted by large, foreign-owned corporations, with most of the benefits expected to disappear out of the country. Conversations with objectors indicated that a small-scale, community-owned project might meet a quite different reception.
Since then the group has been looking for an appropriate site, preferably a community building of some kind, to test this out. The primary school would have been an obvious choice, but sadly due to the PFI ownership a roof mounted solar PV project would be out of the question. The next door pre-school has a much smaller roof, but would otherwise be a possibility for a small-scale system. Discussions with the pre-school committee indicated that they would be interested in pursuing such a project, and that the FIT-related income would be of value. Various funding options were considered, but in the end an application was made to the 10:10 Solar Schools programme, and the project was accepted onto the scheme for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The Transition group runs a farmers’ market in the Church Hall on the second Saturday of every month – and it’s been going long enough now to be almost an institution in its own right. A good range of local produce is always available, with some slight variability in stalls from month to month. Once a year, in August, we migrate to the Tolmen Centre, to make way for the summer exhibition in the Church Hall of the Constantine Art Society. The photo here shows Andrea, from Fox Farm in Gluval, with a tremendous display of vegetables outside the Tolmen Centre.
Andrea’s vegetables at Constantine Farmers’ Market