Communty development

I have been working in the not-for-profit sector since completing an environmental science degree in 1995, and have gained a large amount of knowledge and skills:
  • LETS - over the years I have been involved in complimentary currency projects in urban areas in Manchester, Liverpool, and Hackney. Whilst the success of LETS in the UK has been disappointing to date, I (like many others) am becoming increasingly aware of the need to reform the way that money and banking work. I currently follow the Positive Money campaign closely, and manage and host the Manchester LETS website on my server.
  • Permaculture - since year 2000 I have been one of the main players behind Manchester Permaculture Network, which brings together diverse people attempting to live more sustainable lives. Over the years I have organised and assisted with a wide range of events and training / education initiatives. For 4 years I was a director of the Permaculture Association, which is a growing national charity. I am currently a member of the newly formed committee for Manchester Permaculture Network, and manage and host the website.
  • Local Food is an important aspect of permaculture, and is a an area in which I have a lot of experience. I have been involved in numerous projects in Manchester, including community gardens and farms. In 2006/07 I worked with HARP (now Manchester MIND), and wrote a business plan, and raised £200,000 for them, to implement a social enterprise, which brought together numerous food growing initiatives and cafe outlets across the city, into a strategic whole. I have recently been doing some web development work for the Kindling Trust, which is a Manchester based not-for-profit focused on local food.  
  • Community Network for Manchester, or CN4M, is a network of networks, empowering citizens and giving them a voice in strategic decision making. In 2006, I worked as a co-ordinator for South Central Community Network, acting as a conduit between the community and voluntary sector, and the Manchester Strategic Partnership. In this time I also did freelance work for the Environmental Network for Manchester, and engaged for several years with the Wellbeing Network. For three years I was a voluntary representative for the Wellbeing Network, on the board of the Manchester Food Futures Strategy, which is a City Council / Public health initiative.
  • Fundraising and social enterprise development is a key focus of my work, and I believe in the concept of right-livelihood, i.e. people getting a fare wage for the work they do, no matter what sector they work in. In 2007/08 I was contracted by the Inspire Partnership to do development work, business planning and fundraising for a new community enterprise centre called Levenshulme Inspire. I was a major contributor to successful £300k funding bid to the Big Lottery Community Buildings programme, which was instrumental in getting the initiative of the ground.
  • Target: Wellbeing: from 2008 - 12, I was employed full time by Groundwork UK, as the (Third Sector) Network Co-ordinator on their Target: Wellbeing programme. I was a member of a small team managing an £11m BIG Lottery funded regional health and wellbeing programme. This work included assisting with a regional outcomes evaluation of 94 projects, and a economic impact assessment of the portfolio.
  • Mentoring: towards the end of 2012, having taken time out to become a dad (better late than never), I slipped back into a freelance role, by becoming a mentor / consultant for a Cameroonian social entrepreneur called Melanie, based in North Manchester. I have been helping Melanie with her ideas around a community food hub for refugees and asylum seekers, and a project to preserve the culinary heritage of francophone Africans living in Manchester.
  • Web design and hosting - since becoming a dad in 2012, I have sought a business that is part-time and flexible, and web design and hosting suites itself to this. I have about 5 years experience with Drupal, which is an open source (free software) 'content management system' (or CMS), which is ideally suited to community organisations, or social networks, where it is intended that many people will provide contaent. I have a small, but growing portfolio of web sites, and also have my own web and email server. More information on my web design and hosting services is available here on my website.