Sewing Cafe to open in #Chorlton, South #Manchester

From a press release…

stitchedupphotoA group of six Manchester women are preparing to officially launch the city’s first non-profit sewing cafe on Thursday 15 May.

Stitched Up HQ aims to inspire people to adopt a more creative and sustainable wardrobe, by sharing sewing skills and resources.  The organisation sets out to prove that an alternative to mainstream ‘fast fashion’ is not only possible, it’s more fun and a better expression of your individuality too!

Located at 517 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0UF, Stitched Up HQ combines a workshop space and a small shop selling reclaimed fabrics plus fashion and accessories made by local designers. Sewing machines can be used by the hour. Stitched Up also lead workshops in schools and community groups.

‘Since opening at the start of January we’ve had a fantastic response from the local community,’ says Jacky, one of Stitched Up’s founder members. ‘The people of Chorlton are a really creative bunch. We’ve had people of ages popping in, whether to learn how to repair a button that’s fallen off their favourite jacket or to join in with one of our regular clothing swaps. We know that the people of south Manchester will really get behind Stitched Up in the future.’

One of Stitched Up’s core motivations is to inspire others to consider recycling or upcycling their clothes instead of sending them to landfill.

Bryony, another founding member of the cooperative, states:
‘Too often clothes are seen as throw away items. You can buy a dress for the price of a few cocktails, wear it to a party then chuck it away. But really, there’s no such thing as “away” – clothes end up sitting in landfill for decades. It’s a wasteful way of living and Stitched Up aim to encourage people to think about the sustainability of fashion.’

The official launch on 15 May will see the Stitched Up team open the doors of their HQ for a whole day of introductory events for their colleagues, neighbours, friends and local press and bloggers.


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Clicktivism: “Get Barclays out of dirty coal” #climate effort, beyond #Manchester

From World Development Movement

In less than 48 hours, Barclays will hold its AGM in London. This gives us a unique opportunity to pressure Barclays to stop funding dirty coal.

Take action now to get Barclays out of  coal.

With investments of more than £3.1 billion in coal mining since 2005, Barclays are causing extensive harm to the lives of communities around the world and propelling climate change.

WDM has revealed that Barclays invested £127million in mining company Bumi Resources, responsible for destroying rainforest and evicting Indonesian communities from their land.

Barclays is also the world’s biggest bankroller of mountaintop removal coal mining, a highly destructive method that has already caused health problems and poisoned water supplies where it has been used.

Please take action to tell Barclays CEO Anthony Jenkins to pull out of coal.

Last year we successfully campaigned to make Barclays pull out of food speculation. This year we have the chance to put an end to Barclays’ funding of dirty coal projects that are destroying forests, polluting water, and forcibly removing local communities from their land.

Best wishes,
Alex Scrivener
Climate campaigner, WDM

Posted in Campaign Update, Mitigation | Leave a comment

Upcoming Event: “Who Runs our Public Services?” #Manchester Mon 28th April

A couple of weeks ago the Manchester Evening News published some letters (including mine) in response to the privatisation of rubbish collection by Manchester City Council.
Close readers of MCFly will have realised that, when it comes to climate plan implementation, this Council couldn’t run the proverbial whelk stall. Now they seem ready to wash their hands of pretty much everything… MCFly has nowt to do with the organising of this meeting below, but reckons the questions posed are spot on…

Manchester public meeting Mon 28 April 2014


Who Runs our Public Services?

Public Meeting to be held on:
28th April 7.15pm to 9.15pm
At: Withington
Methodist Church Hall,(across from Withington Library)
439 Wilmslow Rd,
Manchester M20 4AN

Local Elections are soon, come and find out how your Council Tax is spent:
We need to ask those seeking to represent us some questions:
* If more services are privatised; what role is left for Manchester Council?
* Are private contractors accountable to Manchester residents?
* How is our council tax is spent? Who profits? Who decides?
* What remains of any democratic process in Manchester Council for Manchester residents to have their say?
* Can local councillors influence the privatisation agenda and decide on which companies get contracts?
* Is Manchester Council now just a logo like the “NHS”, for private companies to hide behind?
* Is there any resistance to privatisation?

Manchester Council employed over 30,000 people to run services in 1980. Now they employ 5,000. Those services are now run by private companies whose reason for existence is to make profits for their share-holders. Since the Coalition was elected in
2010, austerity and cuts have swept the country and over half a million public sector workers have lost their jobs.

At the same time, the Coalition has spent billions of pounds in public money for companies like G4S and Serco to take over
public services.

G4S runs many Manchester Council services, including security for public places, such as parks and libraries, and cash collection and parking meter services. Serco runs the leisure services. G4S and Serco are under review from the Government, for claiming public money for tagging … dead people. But even then Ministers still expect them to emerge stronger in future.

Councillor Jeff Smith is Labour councillor for Old Moat, Head of “Procurement” in Manchester Council, Board member of Southways Housing, and now Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Withington Constituency. He has done nothing about these companies and in fact is on record as saying that G4S does a very good job for the people of Manchester.

The campaign to stop G4S running public services is supported by Unite NW159 Branch, Unite NW389 Branch, Manchester Trades Union Council and Greater Manchester Association of Trade Union Councils. G4S is the worst example of the deregulation and privatisation. They are not just incompetent, as with the Olympic debacle, but inhumane. Jimmy Mubenga was “unlawfully killed” by three G4S guards when they were deporting him to Angola. G4S supplies the security and surveillance equipment to Israeli prisons where Palestinians, including children, are unlawfully detained. Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike against conditions in Israeli prisons, including torture and long-term renewable Administrative Detention on secret evidence, have called for an international boycott of G4S for its contract to supply these same prisons with electronic security systems. We support their call.

Is it acceptable for Local Authorities to provide services by using “best value”, a process which will reduce workers’ terms and conditions? There is an alternative to the privatisation of our public services, come and hear speakers from:
South Manchester against the Cuts;
The Unite Local Government Branch;
The Green Party;
Stop G4S Campaign.

Organised by South Manchester Against the Cuts, and
Manchester Stop G4S Campaign

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Feeding #Manchester 15 and Sustainable Food Strategies…

Ahead of the 15th “Feeding Manchester” gathering – this Thurs, 24th, at the Briton’s Protection Pub from 6pm, Contact if you want to go (I think they may be fully booked?) – here’s some gentle questions MCFly fired off.

Why was a “Sustainable Food Strategy” needed?
A growing number of cities are adopting them to set out their aspirations for good food. With the launch of the national Sustainable Food Cities programme many more are being formulated. Many have been written by local authorities, but more and more are being instigated by civic society to inspire, motivate and challenge the public and private sectors.

Manchester has had a food strategy since 2007, boroughs like Stockport, Oldham and Bolton have been discussing adopting sustainable food plans, but increasingly decisions are being made at a Greater Manchester level. So, in early 2013, a FeedingManchester event agreed an over-arching framework for Greater Manchester would be beneficial.

Since then over a hundred groups, small businesses and partners from the public sector have been formulating a Strategy to:

Inform & inspire. – we have taken great examples from across Greater Manchester.
Encourage us all to look at sustainable food in its entirety – from Fairtrade to animal welfare, from food poverty to health.
Give confidence to a growing sustainable food sector that our individual endeavours are part of something bigger.
Support groups to grow and work in partnership. We hope groups & businesses will adopt an action from the Strategy, go to a funder or the bank & say we would like resources to do this.
Embolden individuals who sit on various working groups and committees discussing food to represent the sector as a whole and advocate sustainable food in its entirety.
Motivate our political representatives to take the sustainable food sector more seriously.

Who is the intended audience?
Just to be clear we have no mandate, we have no funding, it has been written by volunteers and we don’t have any political backing for this. Our Strategy is a collection of actions we feel should be prioritised to bring about the many economic and social benefits sustainable food can offer.

The document isn’t perfect, we haven’t been able to include all of the ideas that were passionately argued for at the FeedingManchester events – though we have tried to include all of the themes (if we’d included all of the specific examples it would have been the size of a small novel!).

We hope that the document we are launching on Thursday 24th April at FeedingManchester #15 is a reflection of the discussions we have been having. Next we need to have a discussion about what we do with the Strategy – how it can be used to help us turn the vision into a reality. But this takes time – so we imagine that in this first year, the audience will be sustainable food practitioners, public sector employees and councillors. In future years, the audience will grow to include the general public.

Who wrote it?  When?  How?
The contents of the Strategy have come from three public events in 2013, one focused on Stockport and two FeedingManchester events, with around a hundred people contributing. We adopted a structure devised by the Sustainable Food Cities programme.

At the last FeedingManchester event we asked for volunteers to take the work forward. A small working group have taken all the ideas and examples and compilied them into a detailed document, (which will be available soon), to ensure nothing is lost or dismissed, and we will revisit these at a future FeedingManchester event.

At one event in November 2013, attendees prioritised actions that would bring about meaningful change and it is these that we have included in Greater Manchester’s Sustainable Food Strategy.

What does the Food Strategy say?  What makes it different from the dozens of well-meaning manifestos about food sovereignty, nutrition, democracy etc etc.
Its content is probably no different to other food plans, but the way it was developed – by a room full of people who work on these issues at different levels, know their stuff, and will carry on working on it to make it happen, makes it both an interesting process and a ‘working document’. A Strategy that people can own and are working to put into action.
What’s also different is that we are committing to keeping it alive over the next ten years and improving it through open consultation and dialogue. It is a framework for Greater Manchester and we are going to be asking each of the ten councils of Greater Manchester to adopt a food policy that compliments it. Manchester a few months back adopted a food motion, Stockport are drafting one and we know Oldham and Bolton are interested.
One early success was in the autumn of 2013, when the consultation formed the core of an application to the Sustainable Food Cities programme and Stockport was selected as one of only six communities from across the UK to secure £50,000 funding for three years to work towards becoming a Sustainable Food City. As a result Feeding Stockport was born and we hope this will inspire other boroughs across Gtr Manchester to do the same, and that the Strategy will give them a useful starting point.

Is there any mechanism by which it can be commented on? Will it ever be updated?
The Strategy will be refreshed and improved in the summer of 2015. Over the coming year we are asking people to review it, talk about it within their organisations. Ultimately we hope groups will work with their local authority to first adopt a food policy and then – and this is the crucial part – develop a resourced and politically-backed action plan to guide meaningful action.
For example, Stockport now has a Sustainable Food Action Plan that compliments our Greater Manchester Strategy, the Council are looking at adopting a Sustainable Food Policy to give political support to the action plan and partnerships are being established to deliver policy changes in areas of planning and food procurement and support projects on the ground.
So, what does the existence of the Food Strategy (seek to) change?

If nothing else, we hope the Strategy will give our sector a bit more confidence to ask to be taken more seriously by the public sector and demand more support. Ultimately, we would like Greater Manchester to become a Sustainable Food City, but we know that is a long way off and this is simply a first step, a foundation lets say.

Anything else you’d like to say?
We have had a huge amount of support and encouragement during this process. Sustainable food is as much about engagement, co-operation and trust as it is about cooking or gardening skills.

FeedingManchester is a unique forum, where people come together as equals. It is food democracy in action. As the Strategy states: No one organisation can achieve all of the aims of this ambitious vision, but we can agree that this is the food system that we aspire to have in Greater Manchester and support each other to work towards some of the aims and work together to push for them all.

Finally, we’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and patience.

Posted in Campaign Update, Food | Leave a comment

“Ooh, we can’t do anything until we have a perfect plan”. Not off topic at all…

No battleplan survives contact with the enemy. Inspired by the update part of this.



And this one is pretty good too.

Four years. What have they been DOING for FOUR YEARS???

Posted in Climate Change Action Plan, Steering Group | Leave a comment

Off-topic: Planting potatoes and felling fences in Moss Side, South #Manchester

When not sobbing in the corner because of the latest Steering Group/City Council incompetence and/or inaction, I sometimes do useful stuff at the Moss Side Community Allotment.

In late March we planted some ‘taters…

And the fence is (slowly) coming down

Posted in Campaign Update, Food, Green spaces, Off Topic, youtubes | Leave a comment

Do Polar Bears sh*t in the Arctic? And what does it teach us about #climate?

Is nothing sacred?  Does not our poor Polar Bear even get to take a crap in privacy??  Apparently not, :)


Posted in Arctic, Polar Bear Facepalm, Signs of the Pending Ecological Debacle | 1 Comment