Give and Take: Saturday 22nd September 10 – 1

Eloise Wilkinson writes:
It’s that time of year when the shorter days start to make the days feel more autumnal – hopefully we’ll get a few weeks of summer yet! What better time to have a bit of a clear out and perhaps pick up some winter clothes or a few books ready for evenings by the fire. Luckily there is no need to shop for the things and no need to throw away what you no longer need as we’re getting ready for the autumn Give and Take Day on Saturday 22nd September 10am-1pm at the Community Centre in Bungay.

If you’ve got something in decent condition that you no longer need – whether it’s an item of furniture, clothes, kitchenware, garden tools, books or toys (but NO electricals please) – bring it along and we’ll find it a new home. And you might just find a hidden gem – and its all free. There are always great encounters with people and the history of their unwanted objects can make for some interesting stories. We never know what’s going to come through the door – in the past we’ve seen surf boards, sofas* and even kitchen sinks come and go. Anything that hasn’t found a new owner by the end of the day will be collected by the local Emmaus Centre in Ditchingham.

And you don’t have to bring something in order to take something away, everything must go!

This September, as well as the usual Give and Take, Sustainable Bungay’s Community Kitchen will offer light refreshments (money raised will help cover the cost of hall hire), Jake from radical recyclers Canarchy will be running a workshop (more details soon) and there will be displays about everything from composting to rubbish sorting.

Much of what we throw away will sit in the ground for a very very long time. By becoming aware of this fact we can influence our daily actions and reduce our personal impact on the planet – and feel great about it! Whether it’s driving, eating, buying, or simply enjoying ourselves we can change our lives in so many ways. We can live more slowly, more softly, more simply or even go on a Rubbish Diet. The Rubbish Diet was started in 2008 by Karen Cannard in Bury St. Edmunds who took up a week long challenge to seriously reduce the amount of rubbish going into her family’s “Black Bin”. It really took off and Karen inspired us all at one of our Green Drinks evenings earlier in the year.

So I challenge you now to have a jolly good rummage for all that stuff you really don’t need that’s cluttering up your space and bring it along to the Community Centre in Upper Olland Street, Bungay on Saturday 22nd September 10am-1pm!

To arrange collections for large or heavy items contact Eloise 01986 788785

Keep on Saving Bungay Library…

On Friday 28th September at 7:30pm the excellent Luke Wright will perform a selection of his funny, moving and at times scurrilous poems in Bungay Library.

Tickets are £10 Don’t contact SB if you want one, we don’t have any – just pop into the library or call them on 01986 892 748

The event has been arranged by the Friends of Bungay Community Library and Luke is not charging a fee – all money raised will help keep Bungay Library open.

A regular on Radio 3 and 4, a polished (and tireless) touring performer and the host and co-programmer of Latitude’s Poetry Arena, Luke is going to give us two 45 minute sets (with an interval for drink). He’ll include material from a new show, Your New Favorite Poet, that he’s been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe to much praise. It’ll be amazing. Luke says of the Bungay gig:

This will be great, an intimate gig at my gorgeous local library to help raise money for their transition away from Suffolk County Council. Do please come, it’ll be ace. I’ll do two sets, about 45 mins each, all my best stuff. 

Luke’s been a great supporter of our library and was very active in the campaign to save it from closure by county councillors in 2011. A sum of money is now needed every year to ensure there are sufficient funds to run the service.

Please do come, there are only 60 tickets and this is a unique chance to see a fantastic performance poet and help secure a wonderful community resource – all for a tenner!


Hang on, wasn’t our library saved last year?

Yes, sort of – here’s some background…

Early last year Suffolk County Council’s elected members voted for a budget that committed them to reshaping the way the council delivers public services; at the time they called it divestment – in essence it meant that where ever possible they would use third parties to deliver services. Where those services could turn a profit they would be offered to commercial concerns and where they didn’t the community would have to step in.

The library service was in the front line. An obvious drain on resources as far as the council were concerned it was earmarked for what can only be described as disproportionate cuts and communities in many parts of Suffolk (including Bungay) were told they’d have to run their own library or it would be closed. As simple as that.

In Bungay we organised quickly and set about campaigning not just to keep our library open but all the libraries in Suffolk. The campaign had some success. Suffolk County Council withdrew their original plans and promised not to shut libraries (for now), but continued to divest themselves of the service. An Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) made up of representatives from library user groups across Suffolk was established to oversee all the libraries and employ the librarians (while SCC continue to look after property and book supply). The IPS is maintained by a grant from the County Council and because it is currently run by a one paid member of staff and a team of volunteers (including the excellent Sylvia Knights from Bungay) it appears to be much cheaper than the service the council ran.

But the council grant still doesn’t cover the full cost of Bungay Library and, though we’re not being expected to find in excess of £100,000 (as it appeared last year), Bungay will still need to come up with a contribution of around £2000 this year to keep the library open.

Not easy in tough times like these.

Fortunately Bungay has some hardworking fundraisers and they’re putting long hours into getting Suffolk County Council out of a budgetary hole by putting on events, selling things in the library, making applications to grant making bodies and checking down the back of the sofa for change… As a result SCC is able to celebrate not only saving the libraries (from itself) but also saving money – though, of course, they’ve only externalised those costs; moved them from their accounts and into the community. Knowing how hard the library support groups work we can say with some confidence that, if their hours and expertise were summed, the library service now would be far more expensive now than ever it was before. Hey Ho.

But of course none of us want to see the library close so we’ll all stick our hands in our pockets and find a little more money to add to that which we’ve already given SCC in council tax to deliver their statutory duty – a legal obligation – to provide a comprehensive library service. And of course giving extra money to the library is wonderfully easy to do when you’re paying for excellent events like this!


30:30 Local Food Challenge

This is a post from Transition Ipswich explaining their 30:30 Local Food Challenge and inviting you to join them for 30 days of local food.

Transition Ipswich, working with Transition Woodbridge, have been gearing up to organise a 30-Mile Local Food Challenge this September, The challenge participants will be embarking upon is to eat only food that has been produced and processed within a 30 mile radius of the centre of Ipswich – for 30 whole days. Here’s a rough idea of the challenge radius.

We want you to join in with us and find out all about the exciting food available locally, which we’ll be mapping up until September and beyond to help you find sources of local food. Let’s support local producers and eat more of what’s grown right here in Suffolk!

If you’re with us – sign up to pledge your support by clicking HERE. Once you’ve signed up we’ll send you email updates about the challenge, including the events we’re organising and promoting between now and the end of September.

Interested in joining in? Want to find out more? Challenge guidelines and more information are on the 30 Mile Food Challenge FAQs page. Check out our website

On Monday 3rd September we are screening ‘In Transition 2.0’ (7.30pm), at Suffolk Coastal District Council Offices, Melton Hill, Woodbridge, IP12 1AU. Followed by coffee and cake and presentation on the 30-Mile Food Challenge.

Noughty but Nice and Keeping Refreshed at Happy Mondays

This post from Mark Watson first appeared on the Transition Network website. The original is here.

Mark is one of the Network’s Social Reporters, a small group from all over the UK and beyond who write individual reflections on Transition – both in their communities and more broadly. Over the summer the Social Reporters are writing shorter pieces – Postcards from the Edge – like this one about our last Happy Monday.

Do pop over to the Social Reporting Project on the Network website and have a look:

Bungay community centre, Monday, late afternoon. I have spent the past hours gathering and infusing herbs for the herbal refresher I am making for Sustainable Bungay’s Happy Monday meal.

These events happen once a month with a different theme, using as much local food as possible and are organised and prepared by the Community Kitchen subgroup of Sustainable Bungay. Anyone can join in and help out or just come to enjoy the food and atmosphere. This month’s meal is also a Happy Birthday celebration for all those of us who’ve arrived at an age with ‘0’ in this year.

I’m hot, I’ve been unable to find any organic, unwaxed lemons in town and outside everyone seems to be moving at a snail’s pace as the heat increases towards the end of the day. It must be nearly 30 degrees and I’m definitely feeling the effect of my particular 0 (which is no longer 30). The infusion of over twenty herbs (picked both from home and from the community garden at the library) smells amazing, but it’s still piping hot, people will be here in forty minutes and WE DON’T HAVE ANY ICE!

Margaret (another 0) offers to go down the road for the ice after she’s finished the flowers for the table. Charlotte cools the infusion by transferring it from jug to pot to saucepan to pancheon and puts in the summer fruits and flowers. I add a little sugar, fizzy water, a bottle of Nick(0)’s homemade raspberry wine and some blackcurrant cordial, testing as I go to get the right balance.

I’ve stationed myself in the main room where it’s slightly cooler. Janet ties balloons on the windows and I carry on pouring and stirring and testing. Thane and Emma are among the first diners to arrive. “Great!” I said. “Tell me what you think of this. I don’t want it to be too diluted.”

“It’s certainly strong enough,” they said. “Adding more water would be fine. It’s really refreshing!”

The mood of the kitchen is the usual one of intense concentration as everyone in the crew goes about producing the dishes: Josiah rolling the falafels he’s made from British fava beans, Christine preparing a raspberry coulis for her cup cakes, Lewis testing the beetroot for the Moroccan salad. Cucumbers and tomatoes are sliced and onions are chopped for the accompanying dips and sauces. “Charlotte, can you do the yoghurt sauce?” says Nick almost at the last minute, whilst he washes up several large pans.

The drink is finally ready and living up to its name. People are arriving and everybody wants some.

“This is delicious,” says Sally. “You must tell me what herbs you used.”
“Well, there are over twenty five, with a strong base of lemon balm and lemon verbena, and… I’ll come and tell you about it later,” I said. And there was plenty for everyone, with Dano (but not Dan0), taking the pancheon round the table so people could have seconds.

The meal was great, too – falafels, pitta bread, salads, sauces, oven-baked wedge potato chips, followed by cup cakes each with its own candle – and that raspberry coulis! The candles were lit, the lights were dimmed and there was silence for a moment before we all sang Happy Birthday. Janet (yet another 0) and I laughed as we both realised we were singing happy birthday to ourselves and tried to add an ‘us’ in there somewhere, which didn’t rhyme but never mind.

PS There were even more 0 birthdays in Sustainable Bungay this year than I mentioned here: Elinor, Eloise, Jon and Dee also celebrated the beginning of new decades. So cheers to you too, guys!

Candlelit cup cakes – a silent moment before breaking out into Happy Birthday; Peppermint (ricola) flowers*; Dano offers Margaret another glass of herbal refresher; oh those cup cakes, in the kitchen – all by Josiah Meldrum, except* by Mark Watson