Meet the team

Kindling Trust Team

Co-founder & Co-ordinator

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.

Co-founder & Co-ordinator

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.

Social Prescribing Co-ordinator

Having previously looked after Kindling’s Land Army and developed her skills as a grower over three years on our FarmStart programme, Corrina is now responsible for coordinating our Health and Wellbeing work at Woodbank.

The Grow, Cook & Eat programme which Corrina has been developing over the last three years, looks at how growing, cooking and eating food with others can be a catalyst for improved mental and physical wellbeing. The combination of food growing and wellbeing is one which suits Corrina’s skills, knowledge and experience to a tee. Outside of her work with Kindling, Corrina spent several years working in therapeutic horticulture and recently completed three years of training to qualify as a Counsellor.

FarmStart Co-ordinator

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. 

Communications Officer

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.

Woodbank Community Food Hub Coordinator

After 3 years as a self-employed edible/wildlife-friendly gardener and project leader, Tom has joined our team at the Woodbank Community Food Hub as a coordinator. He is responsible for working with our volunteers to maintain and improve the site, as well as planning events, workshops and courses. Tom is working to turn the site into a self-sufficient example of sustainable growing, a source of educational opportunities (as well as organic food) for the local area, and a hub of activity for the whole community.

Agroforestry Project Manager

Nick is the team leader on the new agroforestry and tree nursery project.  He has spent most of his life working for environmental charities and development NGOs and has spent the last ten years with Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

Nick studied for a masters degree in Agroforestry in 1997 and followed this up by setting up and running a reforestation project in Guatemala, Central America.

Nick is passionate about nature conservation and organic growing and has two allotments in Nantwich. Nick wants to get more trees in the landscape by promoting agroforestry uptake with the intention that this will lead to more sustainable food and farming systems in the UK.

 

Volunteer Coordinator

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.

Volunteer Coordinator

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.

Community Engagement Worker

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.
 

Kindling Trust Directors

Emily brings vast experience from a different sector to Kindling, having worked for nearly twenty years in the NHS, fifteen of those as a GP in East London. She has extensive experience of working within disadvantaged and deprived communities, has taught refugee doctors preparing them for exams to enable them to work in the UK and has worked with torture survivors at Freedom from Torture.

She has completed an MSc in Global Public Health and Policy with a focus on health and climate change, worked for The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare as the clinical programme’s deputy director, and is currently a practicing GP.

Debs divides her time between Kindling and Manchester's Unicorn Grocery, the worker co-operative where she has been a member and director since 2004. There she oversees the organisation’s communications, community engagement & marketing output, as well as working daily on the shop floor.  Debs brings to Kindling “a passion and belief in the power of co-operation, particularly when it comes to our food supply”, and has gained an international perspective on the subject, spending three months with food co-ops in North America as part of her Winston Churchill Fellowship.

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.

Kindling Farm Directors

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.

Stu has worked in the organic food and farming sector for over 14 years and is currently a grocer at Unicorn Workers Co-op. He has been a grocer for 12 years and spent 8 years in organic horticulture, getting his hands dirty and growing delicious veg! He also spent 2 years developing and working on an organic mixed farm as part of Unicorn Grocery, Moss Brook Growers and Marton Villa Farm respectively.

Stu has a HNC in Organic Horticulture from the Welsh College of Horticulture. He has lots of experience with producing, growing and selling organic veg that he will be putting to good use as Kindling Farm Director and helping with Kindling's future farm plans.

Abi has worked with the John Lewis Partnership as a Democracy Coach for 9 years, working on membership engagement and democratic governance. She has extensive HR experience particularly in management training and employee rights, as well as employee wellbeing. Abi is also a member of the Employee Ownership Association, who are currently working in partnership with Coops UK on #1millionowners. 

Abi spent 6 months on secondment with us at Kindling, helping with the development of our Kindling Farm project, particularly looking at our Community Shares Campaign. As a result, Abi has an in-depth knowledge of the Kindling Farm rules, business plan, membership offer and shares campaign plan, which makes her a perfect fit as one of our Directors!

 

Team Members from our Partners Organisations

Veg Box People and Manchester Veg People co-op member

Luke is a multi-tasking member of the Veg Box People co-op, and is responsible for developing new collection points and spreading the word about the scheme “so we increase the amount of people who eat local, organic veg!” He’s an experienced co-operator, having spent three years as part of Manchester’s Coffee Cranks co-op, and has also been a steadfast part of the Kindling family for many years, volunteering on the farms, in the office and all sorts in between.

Veg Box People and Manchester Veg People co-op member

Amy gets stuck in with the various day to day tasks involved with running Veg Box People, and also writes the weekly newsletter and tries out new recipes to include in them - look out for the Middle Eastern dishes – her fave cuisine. She loves 'providing people with an opportunity to buy their veg directly from the producers in a way that is local, sustainable and fairly priced' and finds inspiration from the fact that so much of it is freshly picked and locally grown.

Veg Box People and Manchester Veg People co-op worker

Vicky can mostly be found working through the Veg Box People emails or writing content for the weekly newsletter. She also shares the ordering duties, making sure that there is always the best supply of tasty veg in our bags each week. For Vicky, the most rewarding part of work is seeing the passion coming from all sides - from the ridiculously hardworking growers, to the most enthusiastic and supportive customers she’s ever encountered, and the amazingly dedicated team she gets to work in. 

Manchester Veg People & Veg Box People co-op worker

An Environmental Conservation graduate, Alexx joined the VBP team after spending most of his working life selling wine and beer to the good people of South Manchester, the place he grew up in and still calls home. After opening and then running an independent wine shop in Chorlton it was time for a change, and a lifetime spent digging on allotments and a passion for good, well-sourced food led him to us. Having followed the progress of the Kindling Trust over the last 10 years, Alexx is excited to be involved with an organisation he believes is making a valuable and positive impact on the city he loves, but also contributing to a much wider cause.