Transition Tynedale, Transition Network and Party Politics

There has been some debate recently within Transition Tynedale about how members should publicise a political party that they support and whether Transition Tynedale as a whole should align with one single party.

The Transition Network, based in Totnes have been very helpful in clarifying their position on this by referring us to this blog post by Rob Hopkins. I’ve cut and pasted the relevant part of his post here:

Transition and politics

Transition has always sought to bring about and support change at all levels of scale, but with a particular focus on the local level.  Here’s how we at Transition Network talk about our relationship with politics:

Political parties and institutions are part of the landscape within which we’re operating. People within the Transition movement differ in the extent to which they are interested in pursuing change by engaging with the various tiers of government and working through party political channels.  For all these reasons, TN will not:

  • align ourselves formally or explicitly with any political party
  • urge support for any particular party

TN may, from time to time:

  • share platforms with representatives of political parties
  • explore the potential impact of party policies on the changes we want to see in the world
  • publish interviews with, and articles by, party spokespeople. 

In deciding what activities to undertake and what information to publish, TN will: 

  • take a balanced approach which recognises and engages with the full range of political opinions;
  • subject politicians, their policies and opinions to critical appraisal guided by our principles and focusing always on the changes we want to see in the world.

Whether your Hub or individual initiative’s position should be exactly the same or not is up to you, but hopefully the above will be a useful starter for your discussions.

There is general agreement within TT that as we are not a party political organisation, we should not align to any one party as a group. Transition Tynedale should be seen as a place where people of any political persuasion can find acceptance and support in pursuit of our shared aims and objectives. We certainly do not wish to alienate any existing or potential members.

This does not mean that individual members shouldn’t continue their hard work in support of their chosen party. Furthermore, the TT website and blog should be a place where good news within the mainstream political arena can be shared. But it is important that all posts make it very clear that activities external to TT, are not endorsed by the wider membership of Transition Tynedale.

As a general guideline, I propose the following when publicising activities external to Transition Tynedale:

  • Provide links to the external website that is the original source of the information instead of re-blogging/cutting and pasting.
  • Use the ‘blockquote’ feature when quoting external sources. I have used this above when quoting Rob Hopkins.
  • If news is being reported first hand and relates to a non-TT activity, please make this clear; explicitly state that any views are held personally or by the organisation being described. This can be as simple as using the pronouns ‘I’ and ‘my’ in place of the more ambiguous ‘we’ and ‘our’.

I hope that covers most of the points on this particular debate, but if you have any comments, please feel free to add them below or contact me via the TT email address.

Pat Turner
Chair Transition Tynedale

Human Dimensions in “Transition” from Barbara Grundey

Human Dimensions in “Transition” from Barbara Grundey
After the Transition Tynedale AGM 2014 I would like to share this quote with friends and Members of Transition Tynedale which I have found helpful towards ordering my thoughts and feelings about my future role in Transition Tynedale.

“Some situations which cause pain or suffering are avoidable, so part of our learning must be to analyse the situation and see if this is such a case. If it is, we must try to prevent it happening again. But perhaps the most painful situations are those that are apparently beyond our control. Another part of our learning is to recognise that there is unfairness, uncertainty, fear, loneliness and hurt in this world; learning to accept that this is the nature of the world can, of itself, be painful.

Initially we may be able to do little, bound up in an acute, self-centred pain and grief that come through some unhappy experience, we can learn a lot about the less-well-articulated, darker sides of our personality. These darker aspects should not be ignored. Although we tend to equate evil with darkness we should remember that in the plant world roots grow in the dark. Darkness and shadow are as much a part of the natural order as light.” (S Jocelyn Burnell, 1989 from Quaker Faith & Practice)
Before the Transition Tynedale AGM 2014 all the incumbent Directors had resigned except the Treasurer and the Secretary had also signaled his intention to resign after the AGM. This was a pattern repeated from the Transition Tynedale AGM 2013 when all the incumbent except the Treasurer chose not put themselves forward for re-election. In both cases we managed to rally around amongst ourselves resolve our differences and elect new Directors and re-elect the Treasurer to serve Transition Tynedale Ltd 2015. It is never going to be easy for any of us to make a difference!

My hope is that Transition Tynedale is growing up into an effective community organisation where success is celebrated and disappointments and difficulties are shared and resolved constructively and in friendship.
Heart felt congratulations and best wishes to the newly elected Directors of Transition Tynedake Ltd. Pat Turner, Megan Payne, and Wendy Breach. You can depend upon my continued support and friendship.
Barbara Grundey

Transition Tynedale Limited AGM 2013: Voting Process and Agenda

This page explains the processes that we follow when electing our Directors, and Officers in the forthcoming Transition Tynedale AGM, on Wednesday 4th December, 2013.



In order to be eligible to vote or to stand as a Director or an Officer, you must first become a Member of Transition Tynedale. Being a Member of TT incurs a yearly subscription fee of £5.00. Registering as a member is easy. Simply email the following information to

  • Full Name
  • Email Address
  • Postal Address including
    • House Name/Number and Street
    • Postal Town
    • Postcode

Prior to the AGM, registration will start at 7.00 pm to complete by 7.30 pm. Members registering at the time or by email should pay at the AGM registration the sum of £5.00 to establish the rights to vote by receiving a voting card.


If you intend to become a Director of Transition Tynedale you should submit your intent by 2nd December 2013. Please email your request to Please note that becoming a Director of Transition Tynedale incurs certain responsibilities. You may find the following documents useful background reading.


The following positions will be voted on following the election of Directors. The names in brackets indicate the incumbent officers:

  • Chair (Gillian Orrell)
  • Secretary (Tim Hakim)
  • Treasurer (Wendy Breach)

Intent to stand for any of the positions listed above may be submitted by email to before 2nd December, or on the night prior to the actual election. If you wish to nominate someone on the night, please arrive anytime after 7pm and our incumbent Secretary (Tim Hakim) will take your details.

AGM Agenda

The AGM will follow the following agenda:

  • Introductions of people present
  • Approval of membership list by incumbent Directors
  • Financial Report
  • Directors Report
  • Current Directors to stand down
  • Chair and Treasurer to stand down. The Secretary will facilitate the elections and then stand down before his own election. The newly elected Chair will facilitate the Secretary election.
  • Election of new Directors
  • Election of Officers
  • Close of the AGM
  • Reports from main TT Groups and Projects

Voting Procedure

Voting for Directors and Officers will follow the same initial procedure:

  • All Members will be given voting cards on registration and payment of £5.00. This is simply a way to differentiate members from non-members.
  • All Members will be asked to raise their voting cards prior to any vote to establish the number of eligible voters. All raised voting cards will be counted and recorded by the secretary
  • Candidates for the election of Directors and Officers should stand up so they can be Identified by the membership.
  • For each candidate the Membership will be asked to vote in favour of the candidate:
    • Members should raise their voting card to indicate affirmation of the candidate’s election
    • Members should keep their voting card lowered to indicate dissent or abstention of the candidate’s election.
    • All affirmative Votes will be counted and recorded by the Secretary and recorded

Election of Directors

Election as a Director will be confirmed by a majority vote.

Election of Officers

Election as an Officer will be confirmed on the Director with the highest number of votes. Should any election of an officer result in a tie, the candidates will proceed to a further election by the Board of Directors at a later date.

The order of election of the officers shall be:

  • Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary to stand down
  • Secretary

Articles and Members

The open discussion on our objectives within TT was a great success. There was plenty of lively debate, and we all came to a consensus.

We are going to have a further meeting on 17th October at Scott’s Cafe in the Forum Cinema. This is to agree on our articles of association and terms of reference; which covers how we operate while keeping our liability limited, our activities insured and everyone safe. These need to be agreed upon and in particular:

  • Directorship (how to become one, how long to serve, responsibilities)
  • Membership (how to become one, how to administer the list, rights)
  • How projects/groups operate within a structure that protects all members and serves our objectives.
  • Decision making (who makes decisions and about what)
  • Finance (who controls the purse strings – linked to decision making)

We thought it would be a good idea for each of us to reflect on our past activities within TT so that we can decide how we want to operate in future. For instance, we’ve recently done apple picking and pressing. This required insurance cover, risk assessment, and money to be spent. How should we approach this obligations and duties?

If you’re coming along on the 17th, please spare some time to have a think about this, and maybe we could use real world examples of what we actually do to define how we want to do them in future, taking into account our financial, legal and health and safety obligations.

Please reach out to any of the current directors (Gillian, Ross, Wendy, Tim, Megan) if you can’t make any of the above dates but would like to input to the process. Email the usual address ( and mark it for their attention, or reach out directly.

Core Meeting – 2nd October 2013

Present: Tamsin, Megan, Ross, Tim, Jane, Jo, Kate, Pat, Laura, Rowan, Stuart, Barbara, David, Richard,  Gillian (facilitator) and Debbie (minutes)
Apologies: Rosemary
Greenpeace demonstration Saturday 5th October: this will be in Fore Street, possibly outside Argos, from 10 to 12, to draw attention to the arrest of the 30 Greenpeace members protesting about Gazprom’s intentions to exploit the Arctic. TT members are invited to join in.
Rowan Jackson’s dissertation: Rowan thanked us for helping him with his research, and agreed to send us a copy of his dissertation when it’s complete. He also asked each of us to email him a photo which symbolises our feelings about the environment, together with a short explanation of our choice.
Directors’ meeting on September 12th: Gillian summarised the discussion that had taken place (minutes to follow). An open meeting with Ann Lawson will be held on October 17th (time and venue to be arranged).
Edible Hexham: there will be planting in the spring on 5 sites throughout the town. Both the West Northumberland Food Bank and Hexham Community Partnership are involved. There is to be an article about the project in this week’s Hexham Courant.
Anyone who wants to be involved should email Rosemary or Gillian.
Car club: contracts have been signed between Co-Wheels and the County Council, and it’s hoped that the club will be launched in November. Jane and the rest of the car club team will organise this before next monthly meeting. There was discussion about coinciding the launch with Children in Need but this was decided against.
Apple-picking/pressing: there’ll be a picking session in Leazes Orchard on Saturday 5th starting at 10.30, in preparation for apple-pressing at the Farmers’ Market on October 12th. Pat will do a risk assessment for both the picking session and the market itself, and send a notice round asking for people to bring their own apples direct to the market.
Richard had investigated the possibility of Easyhire buying and letting out an apple-crusher, but it wasn’t feasible.
Laura has use of a crusher at work and will look into whether she can bring it to the market on 12th.
Sam Gilchrist (Food Bank Coordinator) had drawn Gillian’s attention to an elderly couple who needed help with picking their apples and other fruit – please contact Gillian for details if would like to do this. It’s hoped that TT members will be able to offer help earlier next year.
Farmers’ Market September 28th: the focus of the stall was bees. David and Barbara had arranged for Bill Hunter, another member of Hexham Bee-Keepers Association, to bring a hive and join them in talking about bee-keeping, and this drew a lot of interest. Jo and Debbie had prepared displays about the importance of bees/bee-friendly plants and laid the groundwork for making homes for solitary bees early next year.
Community Garden at Hexham Middle School: a new member has joined the group. Chris and David had investigated the state of the roof of the store and it looks as if it can be mended fairly cheaply (not by the Middle School). Next session is apple-picking on Saturday 5th, then normal gardening session on October 19th.
Dukeshouse Wood: this woodland is now registered as a community asset, and has to be offered to the community first. Jo told us about her time finding out about agro-forestry at Dartington in Devon, and has volunteered to contact Andy Bates and Claire Lindsay about current plans for Dukeshouse Wood and TT’s possible involvement, either as individuals and/or as a group.
The business part of the meeting finished at 8.30 and was followed by a discussion of TT’s aims and objectives, to be amended and updated as required.

Updating our objectives

Thanks to the good number of people who came and contributed to a great and positive discussion  on 2 October, we have the following updated expression of our objectives:

To build resilience and sustainability into our local community by:

a)       creating, supporting and encouraging local solutions to the global problems of peak oil, climate change and economic crisis;

b)       raising awareness of the issues associated with the challenges of peak oil, climate change and economic crisis and the consequent need to develop a low carbon, sustainable future through ethical, social, cultural, economic, environmental and community action;

c)       supporting and working with other TransitionTowns and similar community-led initiatives; and

d)       engaging with individuals and organisations, including statutory, voluntary and business where appropriate.

We’ll be making formal changes to our articles of association after the meeting on 17 October, so if anyone feels strongly that the above wording should be tweaked some more then you have some time to think about it and express yourself!

Transition Tyndale Meeting 1st May 2013 Scott’s Cafe Forum Cinema Notes

Transition Tyndale Meeting 1st May 2013 Scott’s Cafe Forum Cinema
Chair : David
Notes : Barbara

Present : Debbie, Kate, Jo, Richard, Roly, Jane, Wendy, Sue,

Apologies received from Ross, Gill, Megan, Pat, Phil, Roger, Andrew & Kat, Anderw Auld, Mark Slipperly.

1. Energy Fair 11th May Trinity Church Hall 10am – 4pm. Volunteers are needed from 8am to help set-up; meet and greet; also we hope to be able to have energy monitors to lend out on this occasion.
2. Incredible Edible Todmorden Trip 18th May Richard will send out an email for people to sign up to travel by mini-bus. There will be a tour of the town and a presentation.
3. Love Your Bike 3 25th May will be held at West End Methodist.
4. Transition Free Press was available for £1 from Debbie. It was agreed with our Treasurer, Wendy, that Debbie be reimbursed for the whole purchase and return the money from sales to T.T.
5. Car Share Scheme: Jane and Susannah had a meeting with NCC Local Transport Officers – Margaret Robinson, Richard Mackenzie, and Co-Wheels. £35,000 is earmarked for the purchase of two probably hybrid cars, arrangements of street parking consultation by the charging points is required but the project could be launched this summer. Jane asked for T.T. Volunteers to help with publicity and management of the Car Club that will cost £25 and the cars will be hired to members at an hourly rate.
6. 25th May Farmer Market Seedling Swop on T.T. Stall. Please bring surplus seedlings from your or your friends supply and collect rare and wonderful specimens provided by other people. Flowers, herbs, salad, veggies and surplus seeds

This is a summary of the views of those present regarding campaining.
Discussion about campaigning initiated through various scenarios presented by David,( see previous post) were scaled depicting T.T. engaging with complex controversial issues to
local education and awareness raising.
We agreed that individual members of T.T. would represent their views on sustainability and resilience by active engagement with projects meeting our objectives.
We could achieve our objects by facilitating local neighborhood actions, campaigning to influence our local authorities such as our MP, NCC, Town or Parish Councils, and provide or organize or promote educational and awareness raising initiatives.
It was agreed that TT is not aligned to any political party but does support initiatives towards energy descent and ecological preservation and conservation by government.
It was also agreed that we could benefit from more expert knowledge on complex and controversial issues to ensure that our motivation and actions are aligned with our core beliefs.
We did not see ourselves as a protest group but an action group so individuals were not inclined towards confrontation but strongly inclined to building the local community spirit supporting and reinforcing our ideals.

Core Meeting – 3rd April 2013

Only a small group were present for this meeting, largely owing to the school holidays. The meeting restricted itself to checking on progress on various projects.

Walled Garden

A suggestion had come from a Civic Society (HCS) member to develop the garden located in the grounds of the Golf Club (Spital Lane). The land, which had attracted interest at several points over the years, had potential as a community garden. Pat Caris of HCS would contact Gillian to discuss the best form of approach

Continue reading “Core Meeting – 3rd April 2013”

Energy Fair 2013 – The Magnificent Eleven

The Energy Fair organising team met last night in the Skinners and we’re very pleased to count up that we already have 11 local installers confirmed for the Energy Fair on 11 May AND that they cover just about every type of renewable technology we can use on/in/under/around our homes – biomass, solar PV, solar thermal, ground source heat pumps, stoves, rainwater harvesting, micro CHP… and more.

Here are our Magnificent Eleven, already confirmed with 3.5 weeks still to go until the Fair:

In alphabtical order:

  1. ARPower advanced renewable power
  2. Centre For Green Energy
  3. D&E Renewables
  4. EcoLogicLiving
  5. Geowarmth
  6. Hadrian Electrical Engineering
  7. Logic Appleby
  8. Narec Distributed Energy
  9. Pure Green Energy
  10. PV Roofs / Maden Eco
  11. Sun Spirit

When we do the volunteer jobs rota for the day we’ll need to make sure that everyone has some free time to go round all the stalls ourselves! I’m certainly looking forward to working out what will be the next thing I can do to my own home =)

Tynedale Hospice at Home are providing the catering (proceeds to this excellent cause) and there will be lots more stalls, activities & info with an energy theme.

The Energy Fair is on Saturday 11 May, 10am – 4pm, at Trinity Methodist Hall, Beaumont Street, Hexham.

If you wish to exhibit at the Fair, contact us by emailing Please mark your email for the attention of Gillian.

Look forward to seeing you on Saturday 11 May.