December 2019: In Transition.


Written by Dhriti Dawda.

Welcome to Transition Town Reading’s bi-monthly Newsletter! Here you’ll find relevant news about being more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

The dark side of winter: If you find yourself eyeing the thermostat with thoughts of turning it up this winter or would like to save on energy bill costs, then it’s time to think about draught-proofing your home. This uncontrolled ventilation can cause heat loss and spaces to be colder, meaning more energy waste. The good news is that an amazing team of volunteers can help to fix this problem. Draught busters is an amazing team of volunteers that can analyse how your home can be more energy efficient and draught proof it for you. You can also see their website here for tips on how to draught proof your home on your own so you can avoid unnecessary heat loss and can also help your neighbours be more energy efficient.

Renewable energy: Reading hydro is a leading community scheme focused on just this.  The focus is on building a hydro-electric scheme on the Thames in Reading that generates energy from the power of the river. It is a community project where local people can volunteer and get involved in different roles as well as attend events which can be found on the Facebook page, as well as invest their money and later get a return on their investments. The current phase is progressing with funding to order parts for construction.

Surplus fruit in your back garden? Unable to pick it all yourself? The Abundance Reading project will harvest it for you, leave you with as much as you want and donate the rest to local communities and groups, including Reading Town Meal. Picking is done by volunteers who collect fruit from back gardens and trees in Reading. Joining in with picking is a great way to help those around you and contribute to the community, who love to receive the local abundance of fruit.  Become a volunteer or get in touch for further picking and opportunities in 2020, as the season for 2019 is now complete.

The Transition Apple Press is used to transform apples, pears and grapes into delicious juice. You can see the kit in use every year at Reading Town Meal. It is available for community and school events, and can be hired for personal use too.

Super buses in Reading? These bio-methane run buses produce 84% less Carbon Dioxide than a regular double decker bus. Food waste and cattle slurry is used in producing the bio-methane, giving it better use than to simply let it biodegrade. It’s a trial run for now so do watch this space!

May 2019 in Transition


TTR is looking for a volunteer Communication Officer to run the bimonthly newsletter. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the local community and share your passion for permaculture and sustainability with really nice people! Please get in touch at

by Marta Rossato

People and ideas need the right space to thrive. Open, inclusive,  beautiful and affordable. This was the challenge that triggered the Oxford based project MakeSpace, a community – led working space where individuals and organizations can operate and connect to ignite social or environmental change. With a focus on sustainability, both the renovation of the building and the activities taking place at MakeSpace demonstrate how powerful can community action be. How a handful of individuals can join ideas, skills and resources to address something seen as a fundamental need for the community itself.

We are featuring their story hoping to inspire other socially – driven people and organizations living and working in different places but facing the same challenges.

In this interview Emma Gordon, co-ordinator at Makespace Oxford, tells us the whole story, explaining how different groups started collaborating to make it happen and the impact it is achieving for the different local communities in Oxford.

  MS is a physical space but most of all is a hub, a “catalyst” for community – led and socially innovative projects. How did it all started and what triggered it?

Makespace came about because of the need for socially affordable work space. It started with this need and then formed into four founder organisations: Transition by Design (T/D), Community Action Group (CAG), Broken Spoke Bike Co-op (BSB.) and Aspire, coming to gather to search in earnest for affordable space. Makespace Oxford was formed as a result. An organisation that could broker and manage meanwhile spaces to offer below market rate rent to organisations trying to affect positive change. From the first meeting to acquiring 1. Aristotle Lane took four years.
  Finding an available building and refurbishing it, as well as building a strong partnership must have been quite challenging. Can you tell us a bit more about these aspects and how you addressed them?

There were many forms before we came to what is now our hub in Aristotle Lane. First there was a meanwhile space on the opposite side of Oxford. Ideal, but precarious due to a two week notice period. There was excitement and effort put into a warehouse space in Cowley that did not come to fruition and a number of small nibbles elsewhere, before finally Wadham College got wind of what Makespace was trying to achieve and gave us the possibility of our current building.  Often buildings that are standing empty are in need of some work in order to make them safe and with the expertise of Transition by Design (an Architectural firm) Makespace were well placed to assess and make good these improvements. But they do cost money, and Makespace applied for grants and loans to make the project work. Amazingly it took only two months, from signing the tenancy to 80% occupancy in the case of Aristotle House, and Makespace are working toward being able to do rapid retrofit and turnarounds, as this is imperative for buildings in which there is a limited time in which to occupy them.   MS is definitely a champion of a successful partnership project: being presented the Innovation Award by Oxfordshire Community & Voluntary Action and being shortlisted for the Working Together Award acknowledge this. Can you share the story of this partnership and the process of building it?

As mentioned above it was a group effort between numerous organizations, and a long road. There were surveys done, meetings with various interested parties, regular strategy meetings etc.. which all paved the way for the brilliant project we have today. And the collaboration still continues. Our current space is a hive of activity with lots of collaborative projects happening as a result.

  MS is a co-working space open to social enterprises, workers cooperatives, small charities and creative individuals. How did you make this project financially viable?

Initially this was grant and loan money, however as time goes by the revenue from the residents will start to make the project self sustaining.
  North Oxford building owned by Wadham College is awaiting redevelopment. What happens next?

We have three prospective buildings in our sites. We are working on the feasibility of converting these to be fit for purpose and creating a strategy for how we start to manage multiple small sites and fill them in the fairest and most inclusive way possible. It is exciting times in Oxford as there is allot of energy and enthusiasm about what is happening with Oxford’s empty shops. We are in the thick of the conversation and trying to establish ourselves as the go to safe pair of hands for landlords who have meanwhile spaces they want to put to good use and then to have the right links within the community to be able to fill them with organizations who are makings roads towards improving society for all.

Good luck!

More about MakeSpace Oxford here C O M M U N I T Y   G R O W S Do you have has some spare garden space? You could be part of the “growing team” to grow some vegetables for the Reading Town Meal (Saturday 28th September – Forbury Gardens)
All seeds provided free!

In the last few decades we became used to see urban ares as major cause of irresponsible consumption of soil, air and water, with much of the discussion rightly focusing on the distortion caused by all that. But cities and towns are also places where people meet, connect, get inspired and innovate. There is an urgent need to highlight ideas and projects creating a positive impact to help them connect and create a critical mass, globally and locally.

This is what RESOURCEFUL READING does, showcasing ideas and initiatives that people and communities in Reading are already doing to make life more sustainable.

The display, featuring pioneering projects and more recent initiatives, is in Reading Museum’s community cabinet in the welcome area of the new ‘Story of Reading’ permanent gallery. Resourceful Reading is put together by The Reading Sustainability Centre and Reading Museum. Until end of May.

More info. My toaster has a lever which no longer holds toast down. The fan in my laptop is not working so it gets overheated. My leather case needs stitching. My hairdryer is broken. 

What can I do? Toss them? No way, take it to the REPAIR CAFE’ where you will find experts in fixing pretty much anything. Out of passion and great know how. W H E R E   &   W H E N

SUNDAY 16th JUNE @ READING HACKSPACE rLab, Unit C1, Weldale St, RG1 7BX
12:00 – 4:30 pm |
Tea&coffee&cakes offered.
Find out more on our FB page Reading Repair Café S I G N U P !

Reading Community Energy Society.


Share Offer 2019

Our 2019 share offer is now live!

Would you like to see more renewable energy in and around Reading? Would you like to make a return on your investment while supporting local sustainability initiatives?

Then our new share offer could be for you!

Building on the success of our 2016 solar panel scheme, we are pleased to launch our new share offer, providing the opportunity for you to invest in the installation of solar panels in the Reading area.

The scheme will help deliver cost-effective, low carbon energy to local organisations and businesses. We plan to install free solar panels on at least 8 buildings this spring, with 2 further opportunities also in discussion. The building occupants will receive fixed price electricity for the 20 year life of the project, with surplus funds ring-fenced to support further sustainability initiatives in the local community.

Applications are now open for individuals, organisations and businesses to invest in the scheme, with priority given to local investors (defined as having an RG postcode) and existing investors of the Society. We are looking to raise up to £363,000, with investments from £200 to £20,000 being invited. We are targeting 4.5% returns in years 1 to 3 and 5% returns from years 4 to 20.

Download the Share Offer Document

Applications can be made using the application form at the end of the share offer, online or you can download an application form.

Online Application Form

Download an Application Form

We anticipate closing the share offer on Friday 29 March 2019 at the Directors’ discretion, or sooner if fully subscribed.



Transition Town Reading, “Christmas Party.”

Wednesday 19 December, 7:30pm in RISC Room 3.

The Transition Town Reading Christmas Party will be taking place on Wednesday 19th December in Room 3 at RISC, London Street from 7.30 – 9.30pm. Come help us celebrate another successful year in Transition!

The event will begin by showing a 35 minute film about permaculture: “Surviving Collapse, Designing your Way to Abundance”, followed by party.

We’ll be joined by Reading Friends of the Earth, Berkshire Greenpeace, and other local groups. Please bring along food to share.

September/October 2018: In Transition.

Tell a friend! Join Trish Whitham from Brazier Park in a fun workshop where you will learn how Permaculture principles and design systems can help you successfully grow your own food with least effort. Learn to plan a food garden – or any project – using permaculture principles to solve problems and create abundance working with nature.
More on Thrish Whitham & Permaculture here
Reading Town Meal is a real community gathering, a “pic – nic in the park” celebrating  home grown and locally produced food. Students from Reading College will cook a free meal for over 1000 people, entirely made from produces donated by local growers and allotment holders.

The event is also a great chance to connect with the sustainable groups active in Reading: community groups and  local food & drink producers, will be showcasing local produce and activities, and three workshops will give the chance to get hands on with Permaculture principles and design systems, making the most of your home grown harvest and…baking Pizza!
Live music all day and family activities area, complete the program alongside a Town Meal treasure hunt.

This year’s menu includes  roasted Vegetable Allotment Ragout with salad and bread and Fruit Compote with granola topping. All veg!

For information on  workshops see:

A C T I O N    R E Q U I R E D
R E C Y C L E    W E E K
24 – 30 SEPTEMBER Recycling. We do. Because it matters.
The recycle week is part of a wider campaign that will run until 2019 to inspire people to change their recycling behaviours by demonstrating the benefits of recycling everyday items from all around the home. A downloadable toolkit here. Do something great this recycle week!
Not sure what you can do  with everyday items? Get inspired!
R E P A I R     C A F E’
My toaster has a lever which no longer holds toast down. The fan in my laptop is not working so it gets overheated. My leather case needs stitching. My hairdryer is broken.
What can I do? Toss them? No way, take it to the REPAIR CAFE’ where you will find experts in fixing pretty much anything. Out of passion and great know how. The Oasis is SO kids friendly, it’s a great family fun too!
W H E R E   &   W H E N

SUNDAY 21st  OCTOBER @ THE OASIS, 21 Baker St 12:30 – 4:30 pm | Tea&coffee&cakes offered.
Find out more on our FB page Reading Repair Café

S I G N U P !



Grow, grow, grow

How fulfilling and relaxing can it be to spend your Saturday mornings planting seeds, watering veggies, chopping weeds to feed the compost? Reflecting on the benefits of this new experience, here are some useful resources.

The 2018 European Permaculture Convergence is upcoming, with the aim to inspire and connect different experiences on the theme “New partnerships for Permaculture”.
In this interesting article, Clair Templar, discusses about the impact of Brexit on Permaculture, focusing on the urgency of creating stronger partnership with EU.
Read full articleThe 2018 European Permaculture Convergence will be held at Knockree Hostel, Enniskerry, County Wicklow from the 8th to 13th August 2018. For more details: European Permaculture Convergence
Invited by a friend to join them one Saturday morning, I put my baby on the pushbike and cycled the distance up to Southcote Grow Allotment. Surrounded by intimidating grey buildings, in an area where one in four residents live in flats with no garden to enjoy, is recent winner of the FOOD HERO AWARD.
This cute patch of land is cultivated by a bunch of local families that transformed a piece of derelict land into a thriving allotment growing fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables. As simple as it can be, it is indeed a transformative experience: you grow your own food and new relationships and you teach your child to nurture nature with so much fun. Check out their FB page for the Big Lunch on Sunday July 22nd.
Soutchcote Grow Allotment
R E P A I R     C A F E’
My toaster has a lever which no longer holds toast down. The fan in my laptop is not working so it gets overheated. My leather case needs stitching. My hairdryer is broken.
What can I do? Toss them? No way, take it to the REPAIR CAFE’ where you will find experts in fixing pretty much anything. Out of passion and great know how.
SUNDAY 15th JULY @ GLOBAL CAFE’ 12:30 | Hackspace | Tea&coffee&cakes offered.
Find out more on our FB page Reading Repair Café
S I G N U P !

April in Transition.


U P C O M I N G  E V E N T S


12 – 13 May 2018 | RISC
Gain inspiration and discover how to deepen your knowledge in permaculture path and start this “revolution disguised as gardening”. Trish Whitham will guide you through an introductory exploration of the ethics and principles of permaculture through exercises and mini projects. During the weekend you will examine a range of large and small projects around the world as well as the forest garden on the roof!
For booking and further information see Introduction to permaculture

January 2018



This new year begins with an important update for Reading Transitioners. Alex and Rachel will soon be moving from Reading and therefore, leaving their active role in this community. We decided to thank them quoting Chris Rhodes words.
Repair Café will return this month, and Refill Reading is involving more and more cafes.

Big thank you, Alex and Rachel

“I think we all received this news with a mixture of celebration for this new phase of your life, but sadness too, because we are really going to miss both you and Rachel, of whom we have grown very fond!

You both arrived at a critical time (at the end of 2012) for TTR, and the group would almost certainly have folded without your fresh energy and input; you have also been the linchpin in sustaining it since then. You have brought to fruition many new ideas, particularly the Repair Cafe which has become the flagship project, and your more recent involvement in the Refill Reading campaign, to mention but two”.

We all wish you and Rachel a very Happy and successful New Year and new phase of life!

Repair Cafè
12 – 4.30pm | Sunday 21st January

The first Repair Café in 2018 will take place in the Main Hall above the RISC cafe. There will be limited parking available accessible from East Street. Reading Bike Kitchen will be joining us to fix your bike!

What can we fix:
Computers (Hardware and software)

  • Electronic and electrical items
  • Blunt and broken tools
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Bikes
There will be tea, coffee and cake, and everything is free.  Donations are always welcome to help keep Repair Cafe going.

If you’d like more information contact us at and see our FB page for details of future events Reading Repair Café

Refill Reading Campaign grows bigger

The number of cafes which joined the Refill Reading Campaign is now gone up to 18 and the first batch of cups is almost sold out!
Here is the complete list, including new partners such as the recently renovated MERL, Museum of English Rural Life:

  • Nomad Bakery
  • Picnic Foods
  • Shed
  • Boswells Cafe
  • Nibsy’s Coffee Shop
  • Palmer’s Cafe (Reading Museum)
  • The Hexagon Cafe
  • Sparks Cafe (SSE offices)
  • Parkside Cafe
  • Waring’s Bakery (multiple cafes across Reading)
  • Ground Up Cafe (Reading Climbing Centre)
  • MERL (Museum of English Rural Life)

Want to find the nearest Refill café? There you go
More to come…

Reading 2050 @ University of Reading

Join “Urban Room”, “Great Place Project” and “Art and Culture” to discuss the future of Reading and to learn more about it.
Check program here
Learn More about Reading 2050

June 2017 Update

Transition Town Reading Updates
Hello Transitioners!

We have few but important updates from last TTR AGM which has also been the occasion to welcome two newcomers!
There are a couple of exciting events coming up this month here in Reading: art, fun and food to enjoy the first bite of summer, and our monthly appointment with the Repair Cafe where our fix-perts will give new life to all sorts of everyday use objects.

Here’s a summary of what’s on:

In Transition
Repair Cafe | Sunday 18 June

Save the date
Reading Water Fest | Saturday 10 June | Town Centre
East Reading Festival | Sunday 28 June | Palmer Park

Transition Town Reading AGM

The AGM went really well, with lots of good discussion, yummy food and new faces! We decided to reduce the number of Steering Group meetings from monthly to 3 per year plus the AGM (so they will run approximately quarterly). We don’t have a meeting in  August because so many people are away, which means that the next one is likely to be in September (TBC).

Sorry to see Nick Mercer step down from the Steering group, due to the pressure of his many other commitments, but a thank you to him from the group for his contributions over the past few years.

We now have all 4 Steering Group Executive Officer Positions filled, and so it is our pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to Marta, Laura and Ellen:

  • Chris Rhodes (Co-ordinator)
  • Alex Goater (Treasurer)
  • Marta Rossato (Communications Officer)
  • Laura Ross Gakava and Ellen Brown (Secretary)

Other non-executive members of the steering group are: Tony Cowling, Chris Burden and Alan Clark.

The monthly newsletter will continue with Marta taking this over from Alex and she has lots of good ideas for how to enhance it so look out for future editions!


Repair Cafe | Sunday 18 June | 12-4.30pm
Emmer Green,
St Barnabas Church Hall, Grove Road, Reading RG4 8RA

Repair Cafe returns to Emmer Green on 18 June! Come along to get help to repair your things, save money, benefit the environment and meet lovely people.
What can we fix:
Computers (Hardware and software)
Electronic and electrical items
Blunt and broken tools
Clothing and textiles
Bikes – Reading Bike Kitchen will be joining us to fix bikes!
There will be tea, coffee and cake, and everything is free.  Donations are always welcome to help keep Repair Cafe going.

If you’d like more information contact us at and see our website for details of future events

Save the date

Reading Water Fest – Saturday 10th June – Town Centre

A great chance to explore and celebrate Reading’s link with the waterways. Between 11am and 5pm, you can watch live performances and join in with free family activities in the Forbury Gardens, browse the avenue of stalls along Chestnut Walk, listen to live music, enjoy a tasty bite to eat and something refreshing at the Bel and The Dragon at Blake’s Lock and admire the flotilla of boats along the Kennet Canal.

East Reading Festival –  Sunday 25th June – Palmer Park

Take part in this local community festival and discover how rich and diverse your neighbourhood is.  From 12-6pm on Sunday 25th June.