Kingsbridge & District Agenda 21Kingsbridge & District Agenda 21

Action Record - a history of the Agenda 21 group

Devonlane Credit Union

The Kingsbridge & District Agenda 21 Group (as it was then known) was formed in the late 1990s, and one of its first outcomes pre-2000 was the formation of the Devonlane Credit Union (www.devonlane.co.uk) .  This provides a source of low cost loans to local people, and is run by volunteers, managed by an elected volunteer board, and belongs to all its members.

Transport Round Table

In its early days the group also facilitated the Transport Round Table – a project aimed at improving public transport links for those living in Kingsbridge’s surrounding villages.  This led to the appointment of a Transport Coordinator, based in the Town Council’s offices at Quay House.  The Agenda 21 Group has retained an on-going concern for the problems of sustainable transport in the local area, inviting talks from the Moorcar car sharing scheme based in Ashburton, and holding a display of hybrid energy cars as part of its Energy Matters initiative during 2005.

‘Five Years On’ Celebration

An open community meeting was held in March 2000 to identify current issues, and plan the way forward.  Following this, the Group was represented at the Kingsbridge Show, to advertise its role as an umbrella group for other local sustainability bodies.

Roots of Change

From September 2001 the group arranged an ISEC (International Society for Ecology & Culture) road show and study course called ‘Roots of Change’ to be held at the Tresillian Adult Education College, with funds from the Shell Better Britain Campaign.  The study course helped shape the thinking of early members of the group.

Sustainability Day

A sustainability day was held in and around Kingsbridge in May 2002 to celebrate the achievements of local community groups in the run up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held later that year in Johannesburg.  This was also funded by the Shell Better Britain Campaign.

Job Centre Closure

In September 2002 the Agenda 21 group successfully campaigned to prevent (or at least postpone) the closure of the Job Centre Plus office in Kingsbridge.

Farmers Market Questionnaire

The group has continued to support the concept of local food, and within this the part that Farmers Markets play in bringing local producers to the community, and the community to local food.  Following on from the ISEC course , in November 2002 the group sought to find out residents’ opinions regarding the production of food, local preferences and to ascertain attitudes towards food miles.  The aim was to generate information to assist local producers and to push for additional Farmers Markets in Kingsbridge.

Envirofest

In April 2003 Kingsbridge & District Agenda 21 Group organised Envirofest on behalf of the Kingsbridge & Salcombe Area Partnership.  This event, held in Malborough Village Hall, was designed to inform, inspire and involve people in care for the environment and in supporting sustainable development.  Some 300-400 people attended, and a report was commissioned to summarise the event’s activities and issues raised.

Constitution

In October 2003 the group formulated its constitution.

Second Supermarket for Kingsbridge

November 2003 saw the group begin to mobilise debate about the proposed second supermarket in Kingsbridge.  An open meeting was organised in Kingsbridge Leisure Centre, which was attended by Town & District Councillors, as well as the general public.  Although the development of Tesco went ahead, the Agenda 21 group has been instrumental in raising the awareness of Kingsbridge traders to the challenge this represents, and how to compete and succeed.

Lobbying for Pre-Christmas Farmers Market

Following an approach from Farmers Market stallholders, the group successfully lobbied the Town Council for an additional pre-Christmas market to aid collection of Christmas orders.

Start of the Youth Market

In 2004 the group proposed the idea of a Youth Market to encourage entrepreneurship in the community’s young people.  Successful collaboration with Kingsbridge Community College led to the first Youth market being held in the Town Hall in November 2004, and it has gone from strength to strength and is now held quarterly in the Market Hall.  The event also helps the College to fulfil Government requirements for schools to promote entrepreneurship.  The Youth Market has received mentoring support from local businesses, and was a successful participant in the 2011 Kingsbridge show.

Energy Matters

With funding from the Awards For All (lottery) fund, a series of exhibitions and workshops were held in September & October 2005 to raise awareness of ‘energy matters’ within the South Hams community - in relation to its production & the impact on climate change, practical ideas for energy saving, the future for transport and testing household energy efficiency.

Japanese Knotweed

In recognition of the problems caused in the South Hams by this pernicious weed, the group invited Emma Young to talk to an open meeting.

Local Food Fair

As part of the work undertaken for the Grassroots project (see below) a Local Food Fair was organised in October 2006 as an extension of the Farmers Market.  This provided a number of local food producers with a successful step into the local market, and Agenda 21 an opportunity to launch the Grassroots project.  Several of the stallholders have gone on to be regularly represented at the Farmers market.

Grassroots Project and Website

Between April 2006 and March 2007 the group received funding from the AONB Sustainable Development Fund to set up a website and hold associated events, with an aim of facilitating more effective community action within the Kingsbridge & District area (and the wider South Hams region) in relation to sustainability issues.  This resulted in the development of a website www.grassroots-project.com providing information on sustainability issues, which has now been incorporated within the website of the Agenda 21 Group.

Youth Vision

The group is currently working on a project called Youth Vision.  The area's ability to retain its young people is an important sustainability issue, if Kingsbridge and other towns and villages in the South Hams are to remain viable as vibrant community centres.  We have surveyed the views and needs of young people in kingsbridge and surrounding district about their use of leisure time and the facilities available in the area.  A detailed report was produced which identified among the top 3 conclusions that young people lack places to meet up with friends, talk, chill out, listen to music etc..  A working group is involved in trialling venues as a suitable 'youth space', and currently the Old Chapel on Baptist lane is open on Wednesdays from 3.30 - 7.00 for the use of young people.

 

Carbon Reduction Working Group

The group worked in conjunction with the Town Council on a project to create a Carbon Reduction Action Plan for Kingsbridge & its surrounding district.  A working group was set up, and public meetings held to encourage residents' ideas.  The group has produced the action plan TASK (Towards a Sustainable Kingsbridge), and this has been widely disseminated within the community.  The Agenda 21 group is now involved in a number of actions resulting from the plan.