Meet the team
Kindling Trust Team
Helen co-founded Kindling in 2007 from a background in grassroots environmental and community activism. She was instrumental in raising £4 million to develop and eco-refit Bridge 5 Mill, a 150 year-old former Silk Mill that Kindling now calls home.
For Helen, Kindling is another crucial way to tackle “the unjust and damaging nature of the current system”. Something she did in spades whilst accompanying human rights defenders during her year with the Peace Brigades International; for which she was jointly awarded the International Service Human Rights Award for Women.
In preparation for Kindling's planned farm, Helen’s building on her MSc in Organic Farming by developing her practical growing experience at our Woodbank growing site.
Chris is an accomplished social entrepreneur and has helped establish two of Manchester’s biggest and best-loved social enterprises; Bridge 5 Mill eco-centre (along with co-founder Helen) and Fairfield Environment Services. He then went on to co-found Kindling in 2007, when "a group of like-minded people came together to explore solutions to our increasingly industrialised food system and the health and economic inequities it produces.”
Chris also sits on the working groups for the Enlightened Agriculture Fund and Sustain’s Waste Management Social Enterprise group, and was a Trustee of the Real Farming Trust. He is a director of Bridge 5 Mill and is a Trustee of the Fairfield Environment Trust, which supports organisations making Greater Manchester greener, healthier and more equitable.
As the The Kindling Trust’s new office manager, Amy can usually be found at our headquarters at Bridge 5 Mill, responding to all your veg related queries over the phone and via the website.
She brings a unique skill set to the trust, through experience in business and event management, as well as working with various refugee communities around Europe with Manchester City of Sanctuary, Bridge to Africa and Care 4 Calais.
Amy is super friendly, ultra organised and passionate about supporting disadvantaged communities, which makes her a brilliant new addition to The Kindling Trust and Bridge 5 Mill.
As our FarmStart Coordinator, Helen works with aspiring organic growers at Woodbank’s FarmStart site, supporting them to develop the many skills needed to become competent and able growers.
Helen is passionate about food growing and creating environments that inspire and support positive learning experiences. She has over 20 years’ of growing experience, gained through juggling a myriad of roles; from running courses and training, setting up community growing spaces with The Federation of City Farms and Gardens and managing an Eco Centre.
Rachel has worked as a project coordinator for the NHS and Third Sector organisations for the last 12 years. She has worked with a focus on creative arts and horticulture within health and wellbeing as well as informal education. She is passionate about all things growing, and completed RHS level 2 in garden design and maintenance. She wants to continue to learn more about organic gardening and food growing - she is learning lots on her allotment, which is her second home. She hopes to do more training in this area in the future.
Naomi comes from a community arts engagement background but has since steered her engagement work to being around nature and the environment and has worked for the RSPB and Cheshire Wildlife Trust in the last 3 years. She has a passion for making accessible opportunities to connect with nature, the environment, and sustainable food.
Naomi is a self proclaimed nature nerd and you will often find her staring up at a tree or building trying to identify the tiny bird, or down on the floor at a funny angle trying to get a good picture of yet another mushroom. She lives in Stockport and in her spare time enjoys hiking and wild swimming in the peaks with her family dog, spending time with her 2 year old niece, cooking and baking delicious, elaborate meals, and tending to her Edgeley ‘Yarden’!
Our Communications Officer, Lizzy, joined Kindling Trust because of the incredible positive change that they have already brought to Manchester, and the huge potential they have in influencing the food system in the North West. She believes that food and land use are at the heart of this global climate, ecological, and humanitarian crisis that we are facing, and wants to be a part of the change.
She was part of the People & Planet Society at the University of Manchester, and got elected as the Activities Officer on a sustainability manifesto, where she collaborated with Kindling Trust on various events. She was also an early member of Extinction Rebellion, founded XR Manchester, and has played a big part in this global movement demanding system change.
Dan’s background was in graphic design and studio management in the charity sector, then one day he decided to be ‘that crazy guy in the pub’ and say “Hey, I live in Moss Side, if we grow apples locally we could make Moss Cider, get it? Moss...Cider”.
Thus, The Moss Cider Project was born and ran from 2010 to 2018. That entry through the back door (of a cidery) into the environment sector led to Dan working for The Orchard Project, the only UK charity dedicated to the planting and restoring of community orchards. From starting with them in 2015 he’s now got a wealth of experience across Greater Manchester working with orchard groups, private gardens and urban spaces.
Solvi started off as a Land Army volunteer back in 2018, and became a regular during the pandemic. Coming from a trade union and cooperative background, she’s always been motivated by finding collective solutions to big problems. Recognising the scale of the ecological crisis, and the work needed to confront it, she turned her attention to the food system. She’s been part of the Green New Deal and National Food Service campaigns, and believes strongly that fostering community resilience is vital for building a more just and ecologically viable society.
Solvi is also a co-founder of Myco: Manchester Mushroom Cooperative, which is seeking to make organic oyster and shiitake mushrooms accessible to people in the same way that the Veg Bag scheme has done for fruit and veg.
Ethan’s job is to get the community excited about apples. Apple trees are a big part of the
new agroforestry farm project.
He has a Master’s degree in International Development, which included doing field work in Uganda where he
studied how climate change impacts subsistence farming around national parks. From this research Ethan developed a desire to engage the people of Manchester with the issues of climate change, and has run events for a few organisations in Manchester to get people to understand the impacts of climate change and how they can mitigate them.
Ethan has also worked as a cook and regularly volunteers for various charities across Manchester, cooking for those who need support.