Campaign Organisers: Class of 2015

Tim Gee

22 September 2015

Our first intake of participants to Friends of the Earth’s accredited Campaign Organisers course complete their assignments this winter. To celebrate the ‘Class of 2015’ here’s a taster of what they have been up to. The second intake (Climate Organisers) will graduate in Summer 2016.   


Michelle Atkinson (Huddersfield)

As part of helping re-establish the Huddersfield group Michelle spearheaded a local climate campaign, raising awareness about the seriousness of climate change at local events and meetings. This led to working with others to spearhead a massive Planet Festival in a Huddersfield park, to bring people together ahead of the Paris Climate talks. She has since got a job as a professional campaigner.

Chayley Collis (Huddersfield)

Chayley re-established the Huddersfield Friends of the Earth group, helped promote a local community wind farm scheme, organised a petition on cycling which resulted in a presentation to the local council and kickstarted one of the country’s first local authority fossil fuel divestment campaigns in Kirklees. She was named Friends of the Earth ‘Campaigner of the Year’ at BASECAMP 2015.  

Jack Cornforth (Lambeth)

Along with other organisers in the group, Jack has allied with grassroots housing campaigners in Lambeth to invest in improving the sustainability of homes and estates in Lambeth, rather than demolishing people’s houses as the council currently plans to do. The work ranges from organising and attending protests to helping some of the most vulnerable residents access advice and support for making their homes warmer, more affordable and greener places to live.

Marieke De Jong (Tunbrige Wells)

Marieke made the local news early on by raising awareness about solar panels. After a break she has set forth working with neighbouring groups to mobilise for the Paris climate protests, most recently getting more than 50 people together for a public meeting on a weekday evening in Tonbridge with Friends of the Earth speaker Asad Rehman.  

Leandra Gebrakedan (Walsall)

Leandra put together a booklet of recipes for reducing food waste as well as writing to all local institutions asking them to reduce food waste and calling for the introduction of food waste bins.

Lucy McCormick (Lambeth)

Lucy worked with members of Young Friends of the Earth to pool experiences, collectively generate recommendations for how Friends of the Earth groups could be more young-person friendly and provide advice and support to Friends of the Earth groups trying to engage young members. She set up a new Young Friend of the Earth website.

Libby Harris (Birmingham)

Along with the Birmingham group, Libby is championing a campaign for door-to-door food waste recycling in the city. The launch – involving taking food waste bin to the council’s doorstep - was covered widely in local press.

Greg Hewitt (Nottingham)

Greg collaborated with Bassetlaw Against Fracking and Frack Free South Yorkshire to resist fracking in his area. The groups held public meetings in Bassetlaw and Nottingham, did street surveys and supplied the council’s planning committee with information on the issue. Greg in particular worked on outreach for his group.   

Jaimie McFarland (Belfast)

Jaimie re-started the Belfast Friends of the Earth group, by organizing public talks on food and agriculture. He also helped mobilise people to the massive anti-fracking protests in Fermanagh. He hopes his next step will be a community gardening project in Belfast. 

Rachel McNamara (Mid Sussex)

As part of establishing a recently formed group, Rachel mobilised people to take part in consultations on airport expansion, has been helping keep the issue of fracking on the local agenda and helped organise a major local husting on environmental matters ahead of the General Election.

Solange Montero (Blackwater Valley)

Solange mobilised her group to collect petitions against fracking and write to all local MPs about the issue. She also became group newsletter editor and social media coordinator in the Blackwater Valley area and gained support against fracking in other parts of the UK – by contacting MPs and organising local activities like the Frackdown Day of Action.

Mel Rideout (Bristol)

As a first step towards getting more young people involved in the Bristol group, Mel organised the ‘Express Yourself' event in the summer of 2014, mixing music and words to raise concern about environmental issues.

Steph Rooney (Liverpool)

Steph helped organise a series of public meetings on local environmental issues with her local group, the largest of which brought together civil society actors from across the city to discuss the issue of wellbeing. She has also increased the Facebook reach of the group from 150 to 350.

Ben Samuel (Barnet)

Focussing on the Bee Cause campaign, Ben organised local screenings of the film 'More Than Honey' in conjunction with other local groups, including the Jewish Vegetarian Society.

Sven Segal (Camden)

Ethical shoemaker Sven began by co-organising a green fashion event in Camden which hundreds of people came to, before setting up an artistic initiative ‘The Ugly Side of Fracking’ which he intends to exhibit as a political statement, the finale to his project.

Gareth Sims (Cardiff)

Gareth has joined up with others to establish three new community gardens in Cardiff. One of them is pictured on the right.

Mandy Staunton (Dudley)

From the base of a small group in Dudley, Mandy has organised a Bee Tea, planted a Bee World, put on a showing of the film ‘More than Honey’ and organised street stalls publicising the Bee Cause.

Kay Snowdon (Leicester)

Kay is part of the Bee Meadow Project which brings together three groups – Leicester Friends of the Earth, the Bulmer Community Garden Group and a newly formed St Mary’s Triangle Bee Meadow Group. She put on training to involve local communities in maintaining a bee meadow and helped individuals to develop new skills in the process.

Cat Turner (Isle of Man)

During the course of the programme, the Isle of Man group of which Cat was secretary, then coordinator, published opinion pieces on TTIP, the Infrastructure Act, bees, organic farming, nuclear, GM and mining, hosted a packed public meeting with Craig Bennett, got Friends of the Earth campaigner Sam Lowe on Manx TV to talk about TTIP and even helped organised BASECAMP. The group then won funding for a new joint project tackling environmental issues on the Isle of Man called EcoVannin. Isle of Man Friends of the Earth was named ‘Group of the Year’ during BASECAMP 2015.   

Helen Whitall (Exeter)

Helen has focussed on international climate issues, mobilising her groups to street stalls, an MP letter writing initiative and a mass lobby of Parliament. She has since become coordinator of the local group.

Ellie Wyatt (Brighton)

Working with local anti-fracking activists, Ellie has helped draw together a core group of around 15 members who all get involved and take turns in organising events including campaign training days, manning stalls, sharing information and lobbying politicians.

Green growers in Cardiff.jpg