Economy and Business Working Group Meeting – Monday 31st March 2008-04-02

Where: The Melanin Partnership at Piano House

When: 6:30pm


Sue Bell
Mamading Ceesay
Robert Geddis
Duncan Law
Hannah Lewis
Josh Ryan-Collins
Jody Boehnert
John Walker
Saskia Walzel
Balbir Singh

The next event on the Economy programme is Growing Local Money with John Rogers, Monday 7 April, 7-9pm, Brixton St Vincent’s Community Centre, Talma Road, SW2 1AS



Duncan emphasised that it should not be just about local currency but local economy – including issues such as transport and storage needs to support localised industry as opposed to “just in time” economy. He was concerned to ensure the event yields local benefits – e.g.

encouraging local “how to” questions in open space sessions (e.g. how do we create a local food hub?)
creative visualisation of future scenarios – “it’s going to be different – how could that be good?”
As discussed previously, Josh volunteered himself and Liz Cox from NEF to run a “Plugging the Leaks” exercise in the morning, giving basic economy literacy and overview of how money flows in (and out of) the local economy.

John Rogers has agreed to come if we pay his train ticket from Germany (and could also travel to other TT groups around UK if they pay transport costs). TBC after his event on 7 April.

Andrew Sims, NEF’s Policy Director was suggested as an inspiring opening / keynote speaker. He is currently on holiday but Duncan will contact him by email.

We have the space in Lambeth Town Hall booked from 8am-9pm. The daytime conference will start at 10 with registration from 9.30 [and go on until 5 / 5.30?] – must be a full day to make it “worth it” to take the day off work. It will be followed by an evening session for local businesses – see below.

Robert will speak to Chris Cipidias at Lambeth re using the square for lunchtime catering and having pavement stalls in front of the building. Duncan will contact Shane at Brixton Tea Party.

The event description on Love London website is to be updated, adding Lambeth as a partner and “with” NEF.

Josh asked who is overall co-ordinator for the event and the answer was unclear! Jody has taken a lead so far, in initially proposing the event and publicising it through Love London. In her absence Hannah and Sue agreed to share some of the responsibility for co-ordination – exact roles to be discussed with Jody.


Unfortunately the event did not get funding from Love London.

Various funding options were discussed:

A charge of £10, with discounts for local (SW2, SW9) residents / workers and possibly concessions
Sponsorship – e.g. from banks (Co-op, Triodos, etc – but “green” banks may be reluctant to encourage a flood of Transition Towns sponsorship requests, and it is probably a bad time to ask banks for sponsorship generally – although being at the end of a financial year could be an advantage); local businesses e.g. Morley’s
Do it on the cheap! But some costs unavoidable e.g. printing (and catering?)

The question of event size was raised. The hall seats 200 in auditorium style. However this would probably be too many for breakout sessions – there are only around 8 possible breakout spaces (including in the corridor outside) – unless we book extra rooms. Sue suggested a layout “more like a fair” with various spaces (exhibition stands, breakouts) for people to circulate. [Hannah adds… I have read somewhere that the maximum group size for everybody to join in a conversation is 12 – anybody know more about this? With 8 groups that would mean a total of 96. We also need to consider how many people we will realistically get on a weekday.]

Exhibition stands could include LETSlink, London Food Link, Made In Brixton directory, Wedge Card, nearest Farmers’ Markets, local social enterprises / transition businesses e.g. draft-proofer.

Wall graphics were also discussed. Hannah and Jody are developing a competition / project for designers to translate the day’s key concepts into visuals.

In a later discussion on the Sustainable Communities Act, it was suggested that “headline” quotes from the SCA – spelling out new government requirements for community involvement – would work well displayed on walls at the event, and in press releases. Other quotes which would work in these contexts include “people stories” – e.g. What does it mean to you to be a Brixton trader? – stories of benefit through local economy. Also “Transition Tales” – newspaper stories from the future about life after transition (used effectively in Lewes, Totnes). Duncan will contact a journalist friend re writing some Transition Tales.


Hannah will draft a prospectus for the event, including its objectives and what local businesses will get out of it, using “Plugging the Leaks” as a starting point.


As a key aim is to involve local traders, and they are unlikely to attend the daytime event, the evening event (6-9pm) will be focused on them – functioning as a networking event for “transition businesses” (green and local). This could link to Brixton Green and other local business organisations – Sue will contact Devon Thomas of Brixton Business Forum [and other local business networking org?] and John Gordon of the Town Centre Forum and Market Traders Federation.

The business event could be an opportunity to launch a local transition business “stamp of approval”. It could also raise awareness of the Wedge Card and Made In Brixton directory, e.g. with invited speakers or exhibition stands.

The evening will involve “Plugging the Leaks” and / or John Rogers’ local economy game where traders use a wall to advertise “needs” and seek local suppliers. The Totnes Business Exchange uses a similar system of advertising “wants and offers” to enable surpluses to be put to use. We could involve local re-use / recycling businesses like Contec (computers)…

It is also an opportunity to launch / promote Oil Vulnerability Auditing service (with YES?).


The event is an opportunity to build links with Trade and Enterprise councillors.

Mamading asked whether it would be possible to centralise our point of contact with Lambeth to avoid the “nightmare” of interfacing with compartmentalised, siloed departments. Names suggested as a point of contact included Chris Cipidias (Community Involvement?) and Rachel Heywood (Community Cohesion).

Robert will also get in touch with Democratic Services re what Lambeth will do to meet obligations under the Sustainable Communities Act – such as the legal requirement from October 2009 for Citizens’ Panels to give recommendations on the future of the local area, including being consulted on budgets and planning. We need to make sure TTB (and TT movement generally) leverages the opportunities created by the SCA. Organisations that we could learn from on this include NEF, Unlock Democracy, and umbrella campaign group Local Works.


Money As Debt at Myth Bar has been rescheduled from 21 April to 12 May, to give time to circulate event prospectus to local businesses and invite them to the film screening.
David Fleming ‘Energy and Anarchy’ Wed 28 May (see 1 below)
David Boyle (something on Money and the pearshapedness of the global economy)
Nigel Topping (something on the Totnes Pound) tbc soon
Charlie Davies: Green Island Economics

Sue will set up the beginnings of a reading list on the Wiki – for all to add to.

As we make contact with possible speakers etc we can also set up a (hidden) contacts page.

We have a reference shelf in the library to make use of! Other ways of circulating books could include:

Book swap in second-hand bookshop on Coldharbour Lane
Reading shelf in cafes – Honest Foods? Raleigh Hall?


Contact Andrew Sims
Contact Shane at Brixton Tea Party
Update event description on Love London website

Draft and circulate event prospectus
Help with event organisation, particularly design aspects

Contact Devon Thomas and John Gordon
Begin reading list
Help with event organisation

Contact Democratic Services at Lambeth re Sustainable Communities Act
Contact Chris Cipidias re using the square for lunchtime catering and having pavement stalls

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