Sunday, August 29, 2010

New River Ward by-election-find out what the candidates have to say...

Come and play candi-dating – the political equivalent of speed dating – also come to a hustings meeting on Tuesday 7 September to question local candidates standing in the by-election.

Hackney Unites believe that we need good quality representation prepared to answer to local communities. We have therefore called a candidating/hustings meeting on Tuesday 7 September at Stamford Hill Library. Each of the candidates have been invited and at the time of going to press three of the five have agreed to attend (we do hope to have all five on the night).

Candi-dating from 6pm-7.15pm

This is your opportunity, in the political equivalent of speed-dating to meet on a one-to-one basis with each of the candidates for two or three minutes and ask them any question you wish.

Hustings 7.30-9.30pm
We will also have a formal hustings meeting where each of the candidates will address us on their reasons for standing and listen to their views and answer your questions on your priorities.

How you can help make this a success

Let us knowing advance what you think the key issues are that will decide how you vote. We will compile these and send them to the candidates. Send in your questions in advance. If lots of people attend on the evening it may not be possible for everyone to ask their question. However if you send in a question we will ask the candidates to them and post the answers on our blog. Please also encourage your friends, family and neighbours to come along on the 7 September and have their say. Our publicity flier for this event can be downloaded on the right. You can help make sure our local politicians are accountable to local communities.

Please email questions to:

Friday, August 20, 2010

The first Transition Town Stoke Newington Newsletter.


Welcome to the first TTSN newsletter.

It's not always obvious from our web site what is happening

in TTSN. so here is a short summary of to help keep everyone in touch with what

is going on and coming up. It's by no means complete or authoritative so please

get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more.

*Bike Maintenance Workshop*

This was one of the projects which sprang to life from the open space event. If

you haven't heard, we're planning on running bike maintenance workshops where

the idea is to teach people how to look after and maintain their bicycles

(rather than actually do it for you). The amazing Hackney Cycling Campaign have

been running workshops along these lines very successfully in east Hackney for

some time now and have offered us expertise in getting ours up and running and

to help out with tools.

The venue is likely to be St Michael & All Angels Church on Northwold Rd. We're

hoping to hold our first workshop in September and then on on a monthly basis.

If you're interested, drop Kate a line on kategobell at (who will be at

the Inclusion rounders game on the 15th).

*Levi Memorial Garden*

The spring plantings have flourished into a vibrant, colourful demonstration of

what can be achieved in urban, public spaces. Last weekend saw carrots, winter

lettuces and radishes planted for the coming months. Freya will be giving short

talk about the garden on 8th September at Hackney City Farm along with other

groups developing new green spaces in Hackney.

*Inclusion Group*

The Inclusion Group has had a number of meetings over the past few months to

explore at ways of involving a wider audience in Transition. In the near term

they're looking at events which appeal to a wider range of people. On that note,

one final reminder of the of the event they've organised this weekend happening

from 2pm on Sunday, in Clissold Park, somewhere near the ponds (look out for the

fabulous recycled home-made signs). If you're keen bring a dish to share and

maybe a rug to sit on.

*Hackney Harvest*

Another project which sprang to life from the open space event is already off to

a flying start. This project aims to map the fruit trees in public and private

spaces around Stoke Newington and Hackney and then making the best use of the

fruit and ensure that it doesn't go to waste. We will achieve this by helping

with the harvesting and then redistributing the excess fruit around the

community via community groups, local businesses and other partners. We are

being supported by the magnificent London Orchard Project

( who are going to be

planting a community orchard in Haggerston Park this autumn.

So far we have had some very successful mapping days where groups of eager

mappers have hit the streets and found a huge number of fruit and nut



Quite simply they're everywhere and when you start looking for them you

can't stop spotting them. One of the reasons for this is that Stoke

Newington has a long history as a market garden for London (see

Next phase is to start harvesting and redistributing the fruit. We

have harvesting and processing weekends planned

( throughout the Autumn, culminating

in an Apple Day in the farmers market in Stoke Newington in October.

There is a lot of work to be done in the coming weeks and we need your help!

If you can spare any time on the harvesting weekends (and if anyone out

there owns some sort of cargo bike or trailer) then we'd love to hear from

you ( Alternatively you can help by

spreading the word about the project and encouraging friends and neighbours

to register their fruit tree with us (

You can read more about the project on our website, where

you will also find a map of the trees uncovered so far


*Buildings Group*

After a relatively quiet summer, the Buildings Group will be back up and

running as usual for the new heating season which is now just a couple of

months away (sorry!). Now it the time to be thinking about the energy

efficency measures which you will be doing this year so that you get them

done early and maximise the savings.

We'll be starting up our monthly meetings again where you will be able to

seek advice on how to cut your home's energy consumption. As ever we're very

keen to find people in the area who are considering improving their home's

energy performance so if you are thinking about doing this or know of anyone

in Stoke Newington who is toying with the idea, please put them in touch.

The RefurbN16 <> website is growing all the time with

practical tips on cutting carbon in our homes and if there is any subject

that you feel we should add then please let us know. There's lots of useful

information up there already so please check it out and feel free to add

comments or queries below any article.

After the success of the first Draught Busting



we're going to be rolling these out again this autumn. If you live in a leaky

house and are interested in learning how to make it much more snug and

comfortable, as well as saving money on your energy bills, then please come

along to one of these sessions. You'll be shown how to install draught

proofing (it's very easy) and will be given an opportunity to buy cost price

draught proofing materials

We are particularly interested in finding people who would be interested in

hosting a session in their home - please get in contact if you can help out in

this way.

We have other ideas for this winter bubbling away and we're very happy to

hear your ideas too so please get in contact via the

website ( or email refurbstokey at

*London Transition Networking Event at London Permaculture Festival*

The London Permaculture Festival will be taking place on Sunday 22nd August

right by Regent's Park at Cecil Sharp House.

As part of programme there will be an informal networking event for Transition

Town groups from 11am to 1pm. If you are interested in meeting up and sharing

experiences with other Transition groups in London then please come along.

As part of the event there is a survey in progress to help get an overall

picture of Transition in London. A summary of results will be presented at the

start of the event (see

for details).

The festival itself will be continuing until 11pm with a full programme of

workshops, talks, demonstrations, films, music and food and drink. For more

information please visit:

*Get Growing at Home Workshops*

We've been talking so Hedvig Murray about running a series of practical home

vegetable growing workshops in the spring. Hedvig runs Get Growing

( and is an experienced Permaculture and organic

gardening teacher. The idea is we start early spring next with a workshop about

planning and preparing, followed by a more hands on workshop getting the garden

ready and then workshops on maintaining and developing the garden.

If you would be interested in participating in these workshops or have a garden

or space you would like to develop early next year (and would be prepared for

some TTSN people to come along help) please get in touch.


The events group have taken a bit of a summer holiday but will be back later in

the year. Some of us went on a tour of to the Friends of Tottenham Mashes

Permaculture garden a few weeks ago, which was a fascinating demonstration of

the application of permaculture principles - letting nature do all the work - in

an unlikely setting. Many thanks to Phil for showing us around.

One event which is currently being looked at is a workshop/talk on home brewing.

*Documentary Feature Project*

Rowan asked if we could mention Just Do It, a feature length documentary in

production about climate change activism. It's an experiment in crowd-funding,

group production and community-engaged documentary filmmaking. See for more information.

*Education Officer Job at EcoActive*

Some of you might also be interested in Part-time Education Officer position at

Eco Active (see

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Workers Advice Project - Saturday 11 September

Out next Workers Advice Project is on Saturday 11 September 2 – 4pm, Wilton Estate Community Hall, Greenwood Road, London E8 1BE.

This will, for the first time, include additional advice provided by the ‘Raise Project’ who provide advice on benefits issues.

Please help us make this session a success by dowloading and displaying our poster (right) and passing the word around.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An evening of reflection and planning

Hackney Unite's resident blogger Mz Lashmore reports on our recent evening of reflection and future planning...

An evening in late July. The venue is Café Mostra in Stoke Newington and Hackney Unites have brought together local residents, community group leaders and workers to reflect on the Celebrate Hackney community event and conference that took place earlier in the year at Stoke Newington School.

The register from the conference had 400 signatures. Initial feedback on the day was largely supportive, with people saying how inclusive they felt the event had been. Analysis from the feedback survey revealed about 25% of those in attendance came from the community’s younger generation, those usually under represented in politics and neighbourhood engagement.

The evening of reflection echoed further those sentiments captured in the feedback survey and from those supportive discussion that happened on the day. With lessons learned and agreed tweaks for future events, the meeting turned their attention to key areas affecting our Borough: one being the restructuring of the National Health Service (NHS) and the other, cuts in community services.

On the table was a Statement of Intent from the group which in summary is suggesting Hackney Council explores an alternative to the austerity budgets currently being promoted by the Con-Dems government. Should the cuts go ahead as planned, the impact for the London Borough of Hackney is unimaginable at this time. The Chief Executive of the Borough is reported to have said, if the council was to cut back all office staff by 50%, shut one swimming pool and a library, this would save £16 million. But this is merely a tip of the ice-berg on the planned cuts for £80 million. The scale of job loses and the reduction in local services is likely to affect every citizen in this Borough and those beyond.

The NHS delivers health services locally and is also a large employer. The NHS is now under review with Primary Care Trusts (PCT) being given the main responsibility to commission private health services. This may seem like a cost effective move and is indeed being promoted as such by the government. In reality private companies involved in delivering public services begin cheaply, but those introductory costs soon rise and the overall service deliver becomes more expensive for the tax payer.

The evening concluded with food, wine, beers and coffee. The date for future meetings is to be confirmed via the website, word and mouth and other informal networks. In the interim, plans are a foot to link Hackney Unites with other political and campaigning groups for a coordinated approach to campaign against the country’s deficits - where the collective feeling is: let the banks wait!