Transition News

The Refugee Problem

Dirk Campbell January 2016

  On Saturday January 9th Sacha and I went to the refugee camp in Dunkirk. We took warm clothes, blankets, gumboots and tents. They are mostly Iraqi Kurds, families living in unbelievable squalor - deep mud, freezing temperatures, flimsy tents, no heating or hot water. A few wood burning braziers. Not much choice for them: flight or death at the hands of Daesh. They have been ignored ever since they arrived; they want to come to Britain but Britain, it seems, doesn't want to know. Read more here...


1 Jan 1970.

Lewes Pound Latest News



This serves as one of the important stepping stones to learn about and test the provisional insights from our recent survey and will help us to achieve a grounded and confident design and investment case for an Electronic Lewes Pound with a potential launch in 2017 (when the main underlying new ESCU banking platform is expected to be up and running).

The smartphone payment pilot will be in £ sterling but is a ready secure solution that is expected to help local businesses and residents immediately. It is a unique opportunity for everyone living, visiting and or working to try it out and enjoy a new secure, fun, super-fast and rewarding way of supporting and paying at some of your favourite Lewes businesses.

Who can take part? Everyone with a smartphone can take part (iPhone or and Android based internet connected phone)..

Are you an independent business owner or work for one in Lewes or Lewes District? We’d love to hear from you if want to take part in the pilot!
Do you want to give it a go? Why not let us know your favourite Lewes Independent businesses? Just send an email to or call/message Ferrie on 07482626411 for more info and get your free £5 credit for you to spend in the participating Lewes businesses! The initial list of participating businesses will be announced early February.

1 Jan 1970.

Lewes & Ouse Valley eco-nomics update

...That's L&OVe


Floods in the news in York and Cumbria... Here in the Ouse Catchment there is natural flood management stuff going on NOW and you can help.

There's also lots more to do to get the Ecosystem Approach benefitting the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan.

Read more on the latest L&OVe update

1 Jan 1970.

New Year, new rates

East Sussex Credit Union (ESCU) is offering some loans at lower interest rates until 16th March. Details are:

 7% AER for loans from £7,500  to £15,000  (7.23% APR)
 8.5% AER for loans from £5000 to £7499.  (8.84% APR)
 Both rates require an AN1 or strong guarantor for each loan. More here...



ESCU keeps our money local and is our nearest thing to a community bank. Don't forget Young Savers accounts pay 2% interest, and check out the bus ticket loans


1 Jan 1970.

Celebrating the success of the Lewes Pound

Town Hall reception celebrates the success of the Lewes Pound

On 30th November 2015 the Mayor of Lewes, Susan Murray, held a reception at the town hall to celebrate the success of the Lewes Pound so far and to update stakeholders on progress with a feasibility study into an electronic version of the Lewes Pound.

  Present were directors of the Lewes Pound CIC (including of course the mayor herself); businesses that accept the Lewes Pound, including Harveys and Cheese Please; staff from Knill James who very kindly do our accounts for free, representatives from Smith & Ouzman who print our beautiful notes; other town councillors and Julie from reception at the town hall, which is an issuing point; Ferrie our researcher; and other supporters.

Smith and Ouzman very kindly presented the Mayor with a framed set of our current notes.

It was a most enjoyable evening with people taking the opportunity to share their experiences of the Lewes Pound and very interested in future prospects too. Food was provided by local producer Annabel's Kitchen. Annabel sells her goodies in The Friday market every week and is of course very happy to accept Lewes pounds in payment, as are something like 100 businesses in Lewes.

1 Jan 1970.

Sussex residents embrace local energy

£1.248 million is raised for a community solar project near Chichester, double the original target.


1st December 2015 – Almost half the investors in Meadow Blue Community Energy’s community-owned solar farm in Merston near Chichester came from within 35 miles of the project.  The share offer was one of 15 launched across the country in the month following the announcement of the Treasury’s removal of Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief on community energy projects, and raised the largest amount.

Chris Rowland Chairman of Meadow Blue Community Energy says, "We are delighted that there was an overwhelming response to our community share offer...  Read more here...

1 Jan 1970.

Brighton bus ticket deal for credit union members

  Members of East Sussex Credit Union can have £50 reduction on the cost of buying an annual key card bus pass on Brighton buses. Loans are also available and offer considerable savings compared with monthly tickets. More details here

You can join the CU online or by post, at CU Help Points or at the CU office in Brighton. There is a one-off admin cost of £5 to join. You need a Brighton Buses key card to get the ticket. The offer applies to anywhere in East Sussex and Brighton served by Brighton & Hove Buses and includes Tunbridge Wells as well as Lewes, Seaford and Newhaven.

1 Jan 1970.

Earthship Brighton needs your help!

The Low Carbon Trust crowdfunding campaign, Save Earthship Brighton! is continuing to fund-raise for the vital upgrade to the energy and water systems. The crowdfunding campaign now ends on Friday 11th December.

After 10 years of hosting permaculture courses, eco-education events, and receiving thousands of visitors, Earthship Brighton’s water & power systems are in need of a vital upgrade. More...


1 Jan 1970.

Opportunity to invest in Meadow Blue Community Energy


The Ethex website has just gone live & already has investors

The MBCE website is also live

Community Share Offer document here...

Watch the video on YouTube...

The share offer aims to raise £640,000, which will be invested in a 5MW solar array at Merston Farm in Chichester, is eligible for Enterprise Investment Tax (EIS) tax relief and aims to pay investors 7% interest/annum. The directors of Meadow Blue Community Energy include Chris Rowland (a director of OVESCO Ltd CIC) and Nick Rouse (a director of OVESCO Ltd CIC & OVESCO Limited CBS) as well as Julie Salmon, Dave Barton and Steve Webb.

IMPORTANT: due to recent changes to the Enterprise Investment Tax (EIS) tax relief announced on the 26th October, investors cheques must clear by the 23rd November and BACS payments by 24th November. For more information about how and when to invest go to the Ethex website

This is almost certainly the last chance to benefit from a share offer in a community energy project using EIS.

Chris Rowland – Director OVESCO Ltd CIC & Meadow Blue Community Energy.

1 Jan 1970.

L&OVe November Update

Fireworks and Plots ... and Plans

Lewes District Council have sent out their ideas for development of some of their sites, including Ham Lane, Christie Road and others – see leaflet. Do these represent the transition we want for Lewes?


There’s an alternative – Lewes Neighbourhood Plan could set the planning requirements for any site in the Neighbourhood Area, including these sites - in effect becoming part of the ‘rule book’ against which these proposals will be assessed. Lewes & Ouse Valley eco-nomics’ focus remains with the Neighbourhood Plan and valuing the ecological and social benefits of potential development sites that usually get ignored … Now's the time to get involved.

1 Jan 1970.

Lewes Development Debate


The Lewes Development Debate on 15 September, hosted by community developer Lewes Phoenix Rising, attracted a packed house. A full film of the event will be available soon. A petition has been set up to urge Lewes District Council to reconsider redevelopment plans for the Phoenix/North Street site. More on the debate from Sussex Express here...

Sign the petition here...

1 Jan 1970.

Please support renewable energy in the UK

Ovesco need your help to ask the government to rethink the cuts to the Feed-in tariff.


Please consider supporting renewable energy in the UK by signing this petition

And writing to you MP...

Then pass this information on to build support.

1 Jan 1970.

Learning with Nature - book offer

Learning with Nature - inspiring children through outdoor games and activities. The ideal gift for anyone working with children. Critically acclaimed by Chris Packham.


Learn how to make snow shelters, Dutch oven bread, waxed leaf decorations... Just a few of the nature based activities to develop a life long love of nature.

Special offer: now available for £12 + postage (RRP £17.99). Order here... 

1 Jan 1970.

Feedback from the Transition Conference

The setting of the old agricultural college at Seals Hale in Devon was beautiful and spacious. There were over 350 people; half from the UK but half representing Hub projects in every corner of the globe: North and South America, Asia, Scandinavia, Europe, Latvia, New Zealand, Australia.

  I realised how well established we are in Lewes. Having our main activities and enterprises working independently as entireties - such as CIC s in their own right - brings more strength, expertise and flexibility. It validated, for me, the role of the Steering group as the connector of these activities; not needing to do the projects themselves. We are also able to strengthen TTL's connection by joining  with others working towards similar goals in the community. Trying to organise diverse activities centrally seemed to create tensions and funding concerns in other Transition Towns, as well as huge pressure on the steering group doing the organising.

I came away feeling grateful to be able to play a small part in the Lewes group and amazed to be part of a now worldwide Transition. To be surrounded by an international connection of people all working towards a more positive, creative future is an inspiration.  Sue Fleming

1 Jan 1970.

Planning debate as Lewes shapes its future

The Lewes Neighbourhood Plan took a major step forward with the running of a three-day design forum. This event was attended by representatives of literally dozens of influential groups and societies from across Lewes. Read more on the Sussex Express website...

  Throughout September you can make your ideas for Lewes' future know by completing the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan on-line questionnaire This will be a really important time to get input & feedback from across our community. In October there will be two big public consultation events - 8 & 9 October and 19 & 20 November, so look out for details at We will start with a draft plan & policies for public review in October and in November start to flesh out the policies that will influence all development in the town.

Work by the Steering Group

1 Jan 1970.

Worth watching...


1 Jan 1970.

Renewables and Bills: The Facts

The recent wave of announcements of cuts to renewable energy support have been justified on the basis of cutting costs. The Office of Budget Responsibility calculated the cost of supporting low carbon power by 2020/21 has risen from a budget of £7.6 billion to £9.1 billion and Policy Exchange and Green Alliance have joined the debate.

So what are the facts about our spend on renewables, impact on energy bills and how this compares with other sources of energy?

NB Nuclear waste is £79 per household, per year.

1 Jan 1970.

Good Health: Beyond Resilience?

Dirk Campbell July 2015


I have just been reading one of those rare books whose central concept seems so important and so universally applicable that one wonders why no-one thought of it before. It is a very simple observation and, like gravity and evolution, very obvious in retrospect; one realises that it has actually been around for ever but not previously identified.

The observation in question is that all living systems possess a capacity, for which there is no word in the English language, for self-strengthening in response to stress or impact. This capacity goes beyond resilience, which is merely the ability of a system to retain its integrity. The book is by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan (nothing to do with the ballet movie but a book about the profound effects of the unexpected) and because there is no term for its central concept he has been forced to coin one: 'antifragility'. (The title of the book is 'Antifragile'.) It's not a good word, because it references its opposite; it's like calling strong 'anti-weak', or weak 'anti-strong'. But until someone comes up with a better word it will have to do. Read more...

1 Jan 1970.

Health in Transition

The Transition Town Lewes Health group had a brilliant inaugural meeting on May 30th and several creative possibilities are sprouting shoots. The foundational idea is the Local Health Service (LHS) as an umbrella for a collaboration that could augment our beautiful but flagging NHS.


The meeting agreed that we should continue to meet as a TTL Local Health Initiative group.

Anyone interested in joining in the discussion and receiving more news and information should contact or and request to join the google group email forum.

Prof David Peters started the meeting by saying that the health of each person depends on relationships and on community, yet the main treatment in the NHS is still the biomedical model, which has grown Big Pharma to $1 trillion p.a. industry.  Ten  years ago Derek Wannless reported under ‘Fully engaged scenario’ saying that the only way to make the NHS sustainable is to get individuals and communities to take responsibility for their own health. This has not yet happened, and GPs (who should have the best jobs in the world) are burning out and leaving in droves. If madness, according to Einstein, is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result, then if we are to flourish together we will have to find radically different ways of doing health. David is chair of integrated health at University of Westminster, and co founder of the British Holistic Medical Association (BHMA) which publishes the Journal of Holistic Healthcare (JHH). A pdf power point will be available shortly.

We moved into small groups with discussions around various topics:
- Nature connection, food and agriculture
- Healing the healers
- Community & individual empowerment & engagement
- Technology and health
- Creative arts

Discussed specifically were NatureGain and care farms, end of life care in the community, mindfulness, dance & voice, medical student training, permaculture, and much else besides! The small groups reported back their findings and have written up some notes which will follow shortly.

Please do get in touch if you are concerned about ‘peak medicine’; thinking that the current health care model is unsustainable in its present form and that there is a place for local, positive changes that we can make if we come together in an inspired and creative way.

1 Jan 1970.
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