Job Alert: Activism officer in #Manchester

Activism officer

TTIP protest in ManchesterBased in Manchester.
Four days per week; two-year, fixed-term contract.
Starting salary £21,563 (£26,954 pro rata).

Global Justice Now is looking for an energetic and resourceful organiser to help facilitate activism and deliver education, training and campaign events in the north of England. The postholder will be the only staff member based in Manchester, but will work closely with the London-based activism team and with our Scottish office to help ensure our countrywide network of local groups and associated activists are an effective force for social change in the world.

We’re looking for someone with enough experience of activism themselves to be able to advise people trying to organise local campaigning and problem-solve with existing groups. The role will not solely be focused on helping Global Justice Now groups or helping to set new ones up, but also on assisting specifically anti-TTIP networks, local coalitions around climate justice and other activities related to our broad areas of work. We are also keen to ensure we deepen the knowledge and analysis of the world held by activists through specific political education events.

Recruiting a Manchester-based staff member is part of our plan to regionalise support for activism, reflecting a shift towards more grassroots mobilisation and movement-building in our organisational strategy. We are currently in the process of negotiating office space with a like-minded organisation.

To apply, please fill in the application form and equal opportunities monitoring form below, and email it by 9am on Thursday 3 September.

Interviews will be held on Thursday 10 September in Manchester.

If you wish to speak to someone about the nature or requirements of the role, please phone the office on 020 7820 4900. Some of the relevant staff will be on holiday for parts of August, so please allow enough time to account for this.

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AfSL to shut doors – and what implications for #Manchester A Cretin Future?

Action for Sustainable Living is shutting up shop. The charity, founded by the late Chris Wright, was particularly active in the second half of the last decade, but found its funding streams drying up as austerity took hold, as reported by MCFly here.

AfSL was cited as a delivery partner in the laughable ‘refresh’ of the Manchester: A Certain Future plan in 2013. It also had a contract to deliver secretariat services to the ‘Stakeholder’ ‘Steering’ ‘Group’, but refused to answer basic questions about this. Since AfSL isn’t around to deliver, and since the Council saw fit not to fund its own ‘eco-neighbourhoods’ scheme, well, um…

On Tuesday 29th September the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee of Manchester City Council will be discussing all things climate. Maybe the complete lack of action for sustainable living will get aired, and maybe some of the councillors will not allow themselves to be fobbed off by the Executive and officers the way they have been in the past.

Watch this space for more information about how YOU can be involved in helping them grow spines….

Posted in #mcrclimateplan, Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Upcoming events in Manchester #climate #fracking

Manchester Friends of the Earth does an excellent weekly e-digest about upcoming events and actions. Here are some clips from the latest one –

Tue 21 Jul: MFOE frack free celebration, Castle Hotel

Join us for a party to celebrate Lancashire’s rejection of fracking, which keeps the UK four years frack free!

When: 7pm onwards, Tuesday 21st July
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE
More info:

Sat 25 Jul:  The Resilience Festival – solidarity fundraiser, MERCi

This fund-raising festival is being organised by a number of groups including; Migrant Artists Mutual Aid, Lesbian Immigration Support Group, Action for Trans* Health  and RAPAR.

Bridge 5 Mill will be filled with music, spoken word poetry, performance, photography, film and children’s activities. There will also be a vegetarian and vegan barbecue and more music and fun in the garden.

When: Noon – 8pm, Saturday 25th July
Where: MERCi, Bridge 5 Mill, Ancoats, Manchester
More info & booking:


Thu 30 Jul: Screening of Buzz Tour: Change Pollination documentary, Afflecks

Last summer, Eve Carnall decided to don a bee costume and go on a four-month walking tour around England, visiting over a hundred inspiring people and projects from permaculture farms to divestment campaigns, conservation groups to direct action.

Eve has made a documentary about her journey, and is coming to Manchester as part of her Buzz Bike Tour to screen the film and tell us more about what inspired her to go on this journey and what she’s learnt from the experience.

When: 7pm, Thursday 30th July
Where: The Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JG
Sat 8 Aug: FOE fracking get-together, Methodist Central Hall

On the afternoon of Saturday 8th August (from 2pm) fracking activists will be getting together to:

– Discuss next steps on keeping the UK frack free – particularly as many more applications are expected to pop up in the near future.
– Share skills on how to fight fracking locally – an invaluable chance to share tips and experiences with other people resisting fracking around the country.
– Find out about the fracking movement fits into broader climate change activism particularly in the run-up to the UN climate talks in Paris later this year.

The event is free, but please register in advance so we know how many to expect.

When: 2pm – 5pm, Saturday 8th August
Where: Methodist Central Hall, Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JQ (venue TBC)
More info:

Sat 8 – Sun 9 Aug: FOE climate organisers training, Green Fish

Over the course of Saturday and Sunday (11am start on Saturday) we’ll be running our unique and successful Climate Organisers training programme. Climate Organisers aims to equip you with the skills to organise your community for action on climate change issues and mobilise for national action ahead of the Paris talks. Sessions to be confirmed but could include:

– Listening to the community: finding out what’s going on in your area, who’s calling the shots and what the local people care most about
– Building community power: bringing people together to make a difference and planning effective campaigns with them
– Facilitating community campaigning: running a group or a campaign in a way which empowers others.

The training is free, but please register in advance so we know how many to expect.

When: 10am – 5.30pm, Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th August
Where: Green Fish Resource Centre, 46-50 Oldham Street. Manchester M4 1LE
More info & booking:

Posted in Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

#Manchester Council breaks promise to release #climate report

UPDATE: This story has been amended to include facts that I should have checked. Apologies to the Chair of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee. I will leave an apology on the blog that the Executive Member for the Environment promised to set up.

The history of Manchester City Council’s reporting on its endlessly broken climate promises is one of spin, evasion and delay.  For the last five years they have shifted baselines, played with statistics and simply not reported on their failure to complete promised actions.

The latest example of this shameful behavior has played out over the last few days.  In March the councillors on the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee were told that a full report about the Council’s so-called “Climate Change Action Plan” would be brought to the July meeting.  It is, of course, now being brought to a meeting at the end of September.

Green Party activist Joseph Clough wrote a letter to Councillor Daniel Gillard, the new chair of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee, one of six that is supposed to keep tabs on the Council bosses.

Dear Councillor Gillard

In the “Manchester City Council Climate Change Action Plan 2015/16 to 2017/18 ” report, presented in the March 2015 Neighbourhood Scrutiny committee, it was stated that the following information would be provided in the July 2015 Neighboroughood Scrutiny committee meeting:

1) Actual data for the council’s 2014/2015 Carbon Dioxide emissions.
2)”MCC Estate Transformation: asset rationalisation ” progress report.
3) “MCC Estate Transformation: building management and improvement works ” progress report.
4) A progress report on “Support Eastland Leisure Trust and Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) to deliver environmental plans which set CO2 saving targets and identify priority energy savings for the buildings under their management ”

Further to this, it was stated that “A staff travel survey was undertaken in Q3 2014/15. Detailed analysis of the results including carbon implication will be available in summer 2015. ”

The provision of the above information does not appear to be on the agenda for the July 2015 Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee meeting. I would like to know why this is, and if the information could please be provided at the meeting.

It was pointed out to him that the latest  ‘Overview Report’ contains the following –


No explanation, no apology.   See below

The irony is that the March 2015 report was itself a month late.
This is just how the Council Executive and bureaucracy roll – no sense of urgency, contempt for the populace and contempt for its own (non-existent) credibility.


The Council DID offer an explanation for the delay.  This story was based on a facebook post by Joseph Clough, and my own long long experience of the council’s spinning and delay. After publishing (not before, like a proper journalist would have done) I wrote to Joseph- who said that a ‘semi-explanation’ was offered.

Councillor Gillard, the new chair of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny wrote to me as follows –

Yes absolutely, the Council promised July, and now it’s going to be September, as the September meeting is going to be a dedicated day on Climate Change and Environmental items. Moving the item was my idea :-)

The questions Joseph sent in have been passed onto Kate Chappell and Jessica Bowles, by me. I asked Joseph if he wanted his questions treated as an FOI request, or as an informal request. He chose informal. The email exchange we had was yesterday, at around 4:30pm until 5pm, so I imagine Monday morning is when the gears will get into motion at the Council. I’ll be keeping an eye out and requesting updates on the progress of answering his questions.

No ifs, no buts, MCFly got it wrong. The meeting in late September MAY mark an extremely overdue change in the quality of the scrutiny that the councillors give to climate change issues. Then again it may just be another piece of political theatre like the Economy Scrutiny meetings last year where some councillors vehemently stated their unhappiness with the slow progress on the Environmental Sustainability Subgroup recommendations (that subgroup came out of a meeting held by Economy Scrutiny in … 2012) and then… rolled over.
The crucial thing is this – citizens of Manchester have to be there, do the work and check their facts before publishing. This is far too important to leave to elected councillors who have had, to date, a fairly dire record on holding the Executive and the senior officers to account.

Posted in Climate Change Action Plan, Manchester City Council | 4 Comments

Job Alert: Carbon Co-op development and engagement worker

Carbon Co-op development and engagement worker

Job advert

Download as a PDF here.

Deadline for applications: Weds 5th August 2015

Interviews: in Manchester w/c 10th August, w/c 17th August 2015 (flexible due to holidays,

Skype interviews possible)

Start date: September/October 2015

Application: please submit a recent CV along with a maximum two page covering letter outlining your suitability and how you meet the essential elements of the role as outlined below.

1. Introduction

Carbon Co-op are seeking a highly motivated, flexible person to assist in a number of areas of our development and to become part of a small but growing staff team. The post is part time – 15 hours a week – initially for six months but with the potential for full time and more permanent employment options as work progresses. The role is based at Carbon Co-op’s office space in central Manchester – flexible work hours and locations will be considered though some work at the office is required.

Carbon Co-op is a fast growing not-for-profit, social enterprise based in Greater Manchester. We pilot innovative, low carbon projects in the area of householder energy and provide support services to householder members and the wider community.

2. Overview

We need assistance in the following areas:

  • The development of our My Home Energy Planner web tool
  • Delivery of various community engagement activities
  • Development of Carbon Co-op membership services

3. Tasks

The role is a mixture of the following tasks listed below. You will work alongside other Carbon Co-op staff members and freelancers and frequently use pre-existing templates, models and tools.

i. Delivery of community engagement activities (40% of role)

Carbon Co-op frequently delivers community-focussed activity, commissioned by local authorities or using grant funding. We need assistance in the following areas:

  • Delivery of participatory workshops in a variety of scenarios to groups of householders or organisations at private or public events
  • Organising open events and activities to engage members and the wider public in home energy efficiency, eg arranging bus tours, deliver workshops and seminars etc

ii. Assistance with the development of My Home Energy Planner (30% of role)

My Home Energy Planner is a new open source, whole house retrofit assessment and decision making web tool developed by Carbon Co-op and technical partners URBED. Carbon Co-op are currently in the middle of delivering a 12 month long development project. Assistance is needed in the following areas:

  • Assisting business planning and development for the long term exploitation of the tool ie training, consultancy services etc
  • Assisting with Community Energy partner engagement, organisations who will deliver assessments in the other parts of the UK
  • Piloting aspects of the project with householders and community groups

iii. Development of Carbon Co-op membership services (30% of role)

Carbon Co-op is a community benefit society with a membership approaching 100 people. Members pay £35 a year and receive a range of benefits. We need assistance with activities such as:

  • Assisting with the delivery of Carbon Co-op membership events and socials
  • Researching and initiating new membership offers with low carbon suppliers, installers and manufacturers
  • Facilitating member communication and interaction through tools such as the Carbon Co-op website and members’ forum

The role will include some contribution to bid writing in order to secure future funds.

4. Reporting

Carbon Co-op is governed by a voluntary board, elected by the membership and meeting on a bi-monthly basis. Carbon Co-op has two staff members, Jonathan Atkinson who acts as project manager for the organisation and Matt Fawcett who works on our Smart Grids project. You would work within the staff team at our office in the Northern Quarter (part of URBED’s studio) and report to Jonathan.

5. Outline of the role

The role requires the person to posses a mixture of skill and aptitude in the following areas. Due to the diversity of activities required we are looking for someone who is flexible with adaptable skills and capabilities.

i) Skills and experience


  • Project Development experience – a track record of instigating new and/or developing existing projects, including writing project proposals and plans, creating budgets, completing funding bids and working with partners to build a project. You will demonstrate creativity and problem solving ability.
  • Workshop facilitation and delivery – delivering workshops in a community, campaign or voluntary sector context, facilitation of meetings to involve and include participants (rather than simply deliver information to them).
  • Organisational ability – experience of organising the delivering an event, project or activity, ie managing logistics, co-ordinating people and activities, communicating with different stakeholders, managing budgets and spend etc


  • Business development – experience of developing an enterprise in whatever context, eg micro, small, large; eg your own enterprise or another organisation’s; eg informal, social enterprise, public sector or private sector. Development might include, developing ideas for income generation, creating business plans, carrying out market research, formulating financial projections, promoting or selling a product or service
  • Publicity and marketing – experience of raising awareness about an event, activity or project, this could involve designing marketing materials, using social media, authoring press releases etc
  • Administration – experience of basic administration eg record keeping, spreadsheets, issuing invoices, authoring short reports etc


  • Membership development – working within a membership organisation, designing services for members and facilitating member interaction
  • An understanding of the concepts of energy efficiency, low carbon development and environmental sustainability
  • Grant funding bid writing experience
  • Experience of co-operatives and social enterprises or Community Energy sector

ii) Person specification

  • Highly motivated, able to spot and exploit new opportunities as they present themselves
  • Ability to demonstrate flexibility and adaptability in to a range of skills and disciplines
  • An excellent communicator, enthusiastic and engaging, able to communicate complex technical ideas in a simple and comprehensive manner
  • Quick to learn and pick up new skills, working interchangeably, under instruction, in collaboration with others or alone
  • Possessing the ability to facilitate the involvement and participation of others
  • Excellent organisational abilities including the ability to organise oneself and others to ensure timely delivery of activities and outputs
  • A good networker, able to make contacts and broker relationships
  • Enthusiastic, positive and a problem solver
  • Motivated by environmental and social justice concerns

6. Pay

2.5 days a week

FTE £20,000-25,000/annum (dependent on experience)

6 months contract

Self employed status would be considered

7. For more information

Contact: Jonathan Atkinson,, 0161 448 6492 (or w/c 27th July due to holiday)

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#Manchester a Cretin Future – #climate conference epic fail…

Last year the Steering Group refused to release its annual report before the agm. The year before that… but look, the Steering Group is a contemptible joke. Everybody except, it seems, themselves, knows this. Here is a blog post from an attendee at the latest farce.

Manchester: A Certain Future (of doom!)

It’s that time again, the Manchester A Certain Future (MACF) AGM, a gathering of the (eco) tribes from around the city to contemplate the abyss and gauge how far in to it we currently are.

This well attended soiree within Manchester Town Hall’s ‘Great Hall’ (amazing setting, poor acoustics) saw a series of set piece presentations from three middle aged, middle class white men in suits followed by a truncated Q&A (sadly the speakers overran) in which the men were joined by a woman (for balance?). In all there was a lot of sitting down and listening and as always the best bit was the mingling and chatting at the end.

First up Richard Leese outlined the council’s commitment. As is now compulsory at events taking place in the city region, devolution was heralded as a tool to enable greater local action. ‘Devo Manc’ is increasingly becoming the catch all panacea for all Greater Manchester’s problems. “Yes, things are really shit now, but wait until Devo Manc and it’ll all be better.” I sincerely do hope this is the case but previous failed government initiatives have set the tone of good policy ideas badly implemented due to (take your pick from) civil service incompetency/big business interference/because they were never meant to work (e.g. Big Society, Feed in Tariffs, the Green Deal etc. etc.).

After various pleasantries Richard handed over to MACF’s chair, Gavin Elliot who outlined the city’s progress to date. The headline figure was that though yes, the city had reduced carbon emissions by around 20% since the plan’s inception in 2009 we are headed for a 29% reduction by 2020 rather less than the 41% target we need to hit to avoid the unsafe effects of climate change. Gavin did a good job of contextualising complex data, making the point that though 29% and 41% might seem fairly close the real issue lies with cumulative carbon emissions i.e. with emissions too high for too long we have well and truly bust our carbon budget.

Further data posed the question, “How much of an affect, if any, has MACF had?” Wider infrastructural factors such as the (slow) decarbonisation of the electricity grid and wider societal changes seem to have been key to reducing emissions to this point. A telling graph showed carbon emissions from other core cities in the UK with Manchester perfectly matching the trend of other cities.

Though Gavin diligently highlighted excellent local projects making and impact on climate change the overall message was, as a city we will miss our climate change targets, further savings need to be made through behavioural changes or other means. It was a sobering but frank and honest presentation.

The speeches were rounded off by Craig Bennett, the new Executive Director of Friends of the Earth. In advance, Craig was billed as the keynote and was presumably chosen as a ‘big name’ green speaker to draw an audience. He rightly praised the work of Manchester Friends of the Earth activists and was the first person at the event to mention the ‘great unmentionable’ (Manchester Airport) but aside from that it was fairly basic uninspiring and overlong stuff. Yes, we do understand that energy efficiency is needed, that fracking is a bad thing and that they are doing great things in Germany, thanks for reminding us.

A keynote speaker needs to rabble rouse, provide a new, distinct perspective or share valuable knowledge the audience don’t already possess (preferably all three). Sadly Craig failed on all counts. Worse than this he played on familiar Manchester tropes of 19th century radicalism and the likes of Richard Cobden, I half expected a rendition of Love Will Tear Us Apart. London speakers please note – there is more to Manchester than the Peterloo Massacre and the Free Trade Hall!

Councillor Kate Chappell, executive member for planning and the environment [Ed; who promised to set up a blog and then broke that promise. Credibility vacuum, much?] , joined the three speakers for a Q&A from the audience featuring mostly fairly anodyne stuff. A hint of distention came with a (brief) discussion on the airport where Richard Leese argued that it was necessary to generate jobs and fight poverty before tackling climate change (this despite many arguing that both can and indeed must be tackled together) and an unchallenged assertion that the working class currently have access to air travel (when statistics show that is mainly the preserve of the rich).

The Q&A was followed by networking in the hall’s ante-chamber with the audience at last able to talk, argue and discuss freely (albeit within existing, pre-formed cliques).

The event provided a good opportunity for a large, engaged audience to better understand the challenges and complexities of implementing an ambitious city-wide climate change action plan. The evening made it clear that radical action is urgently needed and provided valuable data on the true scope and scale of the problem.

Sadly the format was tired and flat. In 2015, surely it is unacceptable for any kind of progressive (or indeed mainstream) event to feature three male, middle class, middle aged speakers? The audience were sat for a full 2.5 hours, 2 of those hours listening the words of these three men (many got up and left during this time, especially after the speeches ended). The Q&A featured voices from the floor and the opportunity to email questions in advance but if this is the most interactive we can get we’re in trouble. The huge gap in the Great Hall, between a seated panel and the audience, proved both physical and symbolic.

It speaks to a poverty of imagination and a lack of bravery from organisers. We need more breadth and more diversity from speakers if we are not to remain a niche minority – let’s hear inspiring, motivating and new voices from our city and beyond. And we need more discussion, interaction and participation between us if we are to tackle and overcome the challenges so eloquently outlined in Gavin’s presentations.

Ann Onymous

And, from a blog post from ‘Manchester Climate Fortnightly’ in July 2010-

Right now, Manchester City Council is working out how it is going to meet its obligations towards the Manchester Climate Change Action Plan <>, which was agreed last November. There’s a big meeting coming up on Tuesday November 30 where they will present what they are doing, and hear from the people of Manchester – charities, businesses, tenants and residents associations – what they think about it, and -crucially – what THEY themselves are doing.

Who knows, in twenty years time, we may look back on this meeting in November as the point at which we started to expect more of our local democratic elephant – and of ourselves in civil society, or should I say “Big Society.” It may be the point where we stop our procrastinating and posturing and instead engage with our friends and neighbours, our schools and places of worship, our places of work and of leisure. It may be the point at which we realise that there is no external saviour – no hand of god, no big international meeting or big disaster that “wakes everyone up.” It may be the moment when we realise we are the ones we have been waiting for, we are the people who must pay for the privileges of living in a free society by challenging anti-social behaviour like flying and wasting energy and food, and by keeping the pressure on our local elected leaders to take ‘courageous decisions.’ Or it can be another milestone on the road to hell, paved as it is, with good intentions.

Posted in Manchester Airport, Manchester City Council, Steering Group | 1 Comment

#Manchester #climate Steering Group questions, if you can be bothered a) going and b) staying awake

Tonight the ‘Steering’ ‘Group’ (of what??) for the Manchester Climate Change Action Plan holds its annual general meeting.  Which is happening instead of the stakeholder conference (with elections) that it is SUPPOSED to be holding.  It will have a keynote speech by the new Friends of the Earth chair, for reasons that basically escape me.  Couldn’t they find someone who had done something worthwhile in Manchester to give the keynote?  Or are they afraid nobody would come to that….

Anyway, someone who is going asked me what questions I might ask.  They’re not going to ask any of the questions, for reasons of their own.  If you are masochistic enough to go, maybe you might?


The MACF plan calls for the involvement of the population in the creation of a low carbon culture (goal 2). What has the Steering Group done in the last year to define a low carbon culture?

What has Steering Group done in the last year to involve the general population in creating of a low carbon culture?

The MACF plan called for 1000 organisations to endorse the plan and come up with their implementation plans
What has the Steering Group in the last year to get those endorsements, and to help organisations make implementation plans?

The MACF plan called for an annual stakeholder conference at which the Steering Group would be elected and re-elected

Why did the Steering Group unilaterally abolish the stakeholder conference and replace it with an AGM?  Why did the Steering Group never hold elections?  Where is its legitimacy?  Down the back of the sofa?

Manchester City Council said it would have 60 of its 96 councillors ‘carbon literate’ by the end of 2014. Does the Steering Group think that the actual amount achieved- 23 – is an acceptable example to set?  If yes, how do they justify that. If not, what the HELL did they do about it?

In March 2014, in response to public pressure, the Executive Member for the Environment promised to start a blog.  She never did.  Does the Steering Group think this is a good example to set? Have they ever raised the issue with her?

The Steering Group stated it would start holding four public events a year.  That’s a really low number.  In 2014 they managed … 3.  This year, the AGM is the first*   How do you people sleep?

Meanwhile,  Manchester Green Party (am not a member, never was) is holding a meeting next week.

Manchester Green Party is devoting their monthly Open (to all-comers!) meeting on July 14th. 7pm-9pm at the Methodist central hall, Oldham Street, Manchester to climate change and Manchester’s response to it.

They are hoping to get some speakers from different organisations to address one or more of the elements of Manchester – A Certain Future: buildings; energy; transport; sustainable consumption and production; and green and blue infrastructure.

The meeting will also include an open Q and A/discussion session.

* there was a love-in at MMU a while back. That doesn’t count.

Posted in Low Carbon Culture, Manchester City Council, Steering Group | Tagged , , | 2 Comments