How You Can Help Rebuild Our Town

With unprecedented national public interest in addressing climate change, the impact of and reaction to coronavirus, and the vision of the Community Conversation, Transition New Mills is poised for its most significant year yet.

There are lots of ways you can get involved to help reimagine and rebuild our town; you don’t have to be an environmental campaigner, an expert in anything, or have lots of time on your hands. None of us can solve the climate and natural crises on our own; we need to harness the collective energy and capacity of the town and everyone in it.

The diagram below suggests how Transition New Mills can operate. Anyone can place themselves on it wherever they feel most comfortable. For example, you might want to join in another group’s related activities (such as the Litter Pickers), a Transition supported project (such as the Repair Cafe), help with project mentoring or some of the administrative tasks, or join the Committee.


Looking forward to the AGM next Sunday evening (3rd May), we will be holding elections for up to 9 posts on the Committee. If you’re interested in that sort of role to help steer us forward, please do let us know beforehand by emailing

Alternatively, if there’s any other way suggested by the diagram in which you think you could contribute, do also get in touch and together we can start creating a resilient, sustainable and ethical future!

To attend the 2020 virtual AGM on Zoom, please see joining instructions and papers here.

Join Us At The Virtual 2020 Annual General Meeting!

Sunday May 3rd at 7pm, on this ZOOM link
Password: 123

As you know, our AGM is usually an opportunity to meet our wider group of supporters, listen to a talk on a topic of interest, and have a good conversation about green issues. However, the lockdown has made us rethink our plans for this year; we will be doing this virtually instead, and just dealing with key business. To join, just click the above link and it will take you to the meeting. (This might take a few minutes if you’ve not used Zoom before.) Please check your video and audio switched on so we can say hello!
We are in need of a new constitution to enable us to operate effectively and efficiently as we continue to expand our range and scale of activities, and it is important that this is agreed soon so we can continue to grow. We also need to ratify the accounts after the financial year end.
If the constitution is agreed, there will be an election for up to 8 Committee members. We encourage you to consider standing; please let us know by emailing by 7pm on Sunday 26th April if you wish to. In order to be stand for election and be eligible to vote at the meeting we are asking participants to read and agree to a simple set of principles which cover the Transition movement.
We will also work on an accompanying set of more detailed procedures which will help put the constitution into practice; these will be ready before September.
When it is safe again we plan to have a proper celebration of the year’s achievements, so please watch out for that. It will involve food and lots of conversation, it goes without saying. There might be sunshine, and there may be a bit of hugging.
For now, please join us on May 3rd if you can. It should be short and painless, but is really important for the group. It would help if you could read the documents which will be posted on our events page beforehand.
We very much hope to see you there.
The Steering Group
Julian, Sue, Penny, Jill, Liz,
Sam, Jane, Phil, and Helen

Join the Community Conversation!

New Mills Town Council have declared a climate and ecological emergency. Transition New Mills is pleased to be in partnership with the Town Council to take this forward; come and be part of the conversation to explore what this means for you and your community.

New Mills Town Hall, Saturday 7th March, 10am-4pm

New Mills has a proud history of change: from the start of the industrial revolution, through the Cooperative movement, to reclaiming the Torrs and Mousley Bottom.
Now it is our turn for the history books! What would we like New Mills to be like in the future? How will it look, sound and feel? This is our chance to reimagine our Town and help create a positive vision for us all.
Last year we experienced:
• moorland fires in February
• record breaking temperatures in July
• intense rainfall in August putting us at threat of flooding from the near collapse of the Whaley Bridge dam
Instead of feeling disempowered and disconnected, our community can start to build a response. We need to build resilience to future threats and actively create new and positive ways of living. What would you like future generations to thank you for?
Our Community Conversation will be imaginative, creative and, we hope, inspiring to all who attend.
We want to include as diverse a range of people as possible so please encourage colleagues, clients and friends to register their interest too; we are hoping to have a creche area also to help children contribute. This is not a one-off process, and there will be plenty of opportunity to develop the plan further in the future, so if you cannot come but want to remain in touch please let Transition New Mills know.
In the spirit of the day, it is proposed to have a ‘bring and share’ lunch. If you can, please bring a little food to share. If you have specific food allergies, we do recommend bringing your own food. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided. If you have additional support needs please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you
It would be really helpful if you could let us know if you intend to come by sending us an email at or on our Facebook events page.

We have set up a new page on the Transition New Mills website which will be updated with the latest developments.

Another type of Manifesto

The New Mills Transition Reading Group meets monthly in someone’s home to discuss a book or, occasionally, to watch a film/video or host a speaker. Last month we discussed Derbyshire County Council’s Carbon Reduction Manifesto which was published in May 2019.

There was a lively discussion critiquing the Manifesto –

Overall it was seen as aspirational but vague, lacking in ambition and not something that the public could use to hold the Council to account on. Most points in the manifesto triggered many questions, needed further elaboration, measurement, targets, auditing, policies, deadlines, discussion of investment etc. It does state that targets would follow in 6 months, this  is nearly up, so we would welcome sight of these. Issues not covered in the manifesto include any plans to create a circular economy, plans to mitigate against the consequences of climate change (already with us and going to get worse), and a notable absence of discussion of agriculture and forestry which seemed strange given the large rural areas in the county. The County Council is in a prime position to provide leadership and act as a facilitator and we hope that this first draft of the manifesto will be followed by further commitments for carbon reduction.

The discussion looked at the resources in the County and some of the challenges and possibilities – around renewable energy, newbuild and retrofitting homes, heating and transport. A member of the group is to write a summary to submit as a response.

There is no meeting in December, instead members are invited to the solstice celebration at The Torrs on 19th December from 5-9pm. Meetings have been set for 2020 – Mondays January 20 and February 17.

Discussion Group: The Impact of Eating

The New Mills Transition Reading Group meets monthly in someone’s home to discuss a book or, occasionally, to watch a film/video or host a speaker. At the September meeting we discussed George Monbiot’s article in the Guardian on 9th August, ‘Here’s the true cost of eating meat. It’s worse than you think’ together with the piece on Silvopasture in ‘Drawdown’ edited by Paul Hawken and other online articles which deal with related subjects.
The George Monbiot article is here:
Links to other articles that contributed to our discussion were:
Monbiot argues in favour of stopping eating meat because of its carbon footprint and to completely cease meat and dairy production in order to increase the rewilding of the countryside. Some thought that these were not the only possibilities and this generated a discussion about land use.
One of the background pieces for Monbiot’s article talks about a variation between best and worst producers of meat by a factor of 50 in terms of environmental impact so it was argued that if the worst producers could be targeted then this would have a far bigger impact than trying to stop production altogether. In addition, mixed farming can use animal manure for fertiliser, reducing dependency on chemicals and associated repercussions like runoff and water pollution.
The discussion included the issue of protein and where that comes from in a plant based diet. Also, referring back to an earlier book (The way we eat now by Bee Wilson) there is the issue of the economics of the food industry and the issues around providing cheap and nutritious food.
The general opinion was that there needs to be a significant reduction in meat consumption and a cultural shift to see a plant based diet as healthier and cheaper. Some of this is already taking place. In addition, it’s not just about personal choice, changes are needed at a government level including the revision of agricultural subsidies to assist the transition and the need for major changes in the food industry. One article mentions the need for a ‘just transition’ for farmers so they are paid properly for the food that they produce.
We discussed food security and the comment in Monbiot’s article about the 55% of UK cropping land being used for livestock feed. Monbiot heavily criticises extensive as against intensive farming of meat but (as discussed with Isabella Tree’s book Wilding) extensive farming can encourage increased biodiversity. Also, the carbon footprint of meat production may conflict with the issue of animal welfare. There are both ethical and environmental grounds for changing to a plant based diet but some may be more amenable to a process of reduction rather than sudden elimination.
Our next meeting is Monday October 21st at 8pm and the book is The Wall by John Lanchester
You don’t have to read the books to come along – someone will give a synopsis and all input to the discussion is welcome. Email for details of venue.

Many thanks to Sue Cooper for the post.

Prisoners of Geography: Discussion Group

The New Mills Transition Reading Group meets monthly in someone’s home to discuss a book or, occasionally, to watch a film/video or host a speaker.

This month’s book was Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall published by Elliott and Thompson Limited. The subtitle of the book is ‘Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics’ and his premise is that geography plays a determining role in the history and current political situation in many parts of the world. There was a mixed response to this book which generated a vigorous discussion. Some found the book very informative and interesting, it provided a useful background and explanation of current political issues. Others found his obsession with identifying hotspots for potential conventional conflict old fashioned (one person likened it to the game of Risk) and disputed the argument that geography is deterministic, rather that it is one of many factors behind current political situations.

The next meeting is 8pm Monday June 24th and the book is The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson. (Hive are selling for £10.69, free postage, if you want to buy it).

We have also agreed the following meeting on Monday July 15th; the book for that is This is an Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler.

You don’t have to read the books to come along – someone will give a synopsis and all input to the discussion is welcome. Email for details of venue.