We’re hiring a community development officer!

A new part time role supporting community groups in the North of England

We are looking for a part-time community development worker to help establish Community Technology Partnerships (CTPs) in the North of England.

CTPs are our approach to developing technology led by communities based on the “capability approach” developed by Martha Nussbaum and Amrtya Sen (also known as “asset based community development” or “strengths approach”). You will work with a team on rolling out this initiative to the UK alongside Geeks for Social Change, C2 Connecting Communities, University of Exeter, Manchester School of Architecture, and the Wellcome Centre of Culture and Environments of Health.

The role includes finding then talking to community groups across the North to find out who they are, what challenges they’re facing, and how those problems might be solved (or not!) using technology.

The initial focus of your work will be PlaceCal, an award-winning community calendar platform, initially developed for older people living in Manchester. By using a mutual aid and capability approach to technology, we developed a complete package that tackles the causes of social isolation at the root, combining community development work, software, and a strategy that works with existing community groups and public sector teams.

You will help onboard groups and set up local PlaceCal instances, initially over Greater Manchester, and then expanding to the North of England. We are currently rolling out PlaceCal to Greater Manchester with the support of Lankelly Chase’s Greater Manchester Systems Changers initiative.

About Geeks for Social Change and Place Health Technology CIC

Geeks for Social Change are a trans, disabled and neurodivergent-led tech studio in Manchester, UK. We are an atypical tech studio. Our work is based on anarcho-feminist principles, aims to be antifascist and antiracist, decolonise the tech sector, fight state violence, and work towards liberation of trans and disabled people among other things.

Our commercial work (‘the studio’) currently comprises a small team of about 4 full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff, working a 4 day week. We are also an activist collective (‘the collective’) with an active Discord server that meets monthly to discuss liberatory approaches to technology. We ran an Ethics and Technology Reading Group in pre-Covid times.

In order to roll out PlaceCal and the CTP approach and enable it to be truly co-owned by its users, we set up a new community interest company called Place Health Technology CIC to own the project and its outputs. You will be working for this new social enterprise, which will be working closely with GFSC and the other project partners over the next two years.

Our ideal candidate

We are looking for a community development officer who has:

  • Experience with grassroots local mutual aid groups, local political organising, or running your own events. Basically, we need people who get our politics and preferably have experience assisting with community work. This could be: queer or anti-racist organising; community and mutual aid groups; DIY arts music; writing and artists groups; culture collectives and festivals; or any other experience you think fits this description.
  • A high degree of comfort working with complex and beta-quality software. If you’re comfortable setting up complex CRM systems, configuring things in AirTable, or have ever done any hands on software development, you are probably more than qualified.
  • Lots of patience. Getting new partnerships off the ground is slow, careful work. Training people up in new IT systems is also slow, careful work. This role will require you to do both. We’re ideally looking for a candidate with experience creating things from the ground up and who knows what it takes to get things going.
  • Desirable: experience working with a software team to deliver a SaaS project. This includes writing bug tickets, understanding general Agile project flow, communicating when things go wrong, etc.
  • Desirable: existing strong connections to activist organising in Greater Manchester. We would love to have someone already known to our initial cohorts who can hit the ground running.

Experience matters less to us than cultural fit, motivation and passion. We are looking to form long term relationships with committed people. You will be working with two other people on this project: a project manager, and the same role as this for the South of England. A lot of your day-to-day work will be done solo but there are opportunities for collaboration, idea sharing, working out problems together.

Given the nature of the work we especially welcome applications from trans and non binary people, people of colour, disabled people, and other marginalised groups. We are based in Manchester and our initial focus is Greater Manchester, but we would welcome applications from people who are part of activist partnerships in other cities.

Salary and conditions

This is a 1 year 11 month fixed term position, with the intent to secure funding to extend this to a permanent post. This role is 2 days per week, equalling 12 hours total. Renumeration for this role is £13,333pa with 14 days holiday and an equipment allowance (this is a full time equivalent of £41,672pa if you’re basing it on a 37.5 hour work week, but we work a 4 day, 24 hour “full time” week at GFSC so the maths is a bit confusing).

All staff work from home and choose the hours that suit them (within reason!). For this role you will occasionally need to travel to meet project participants. We have a travel budget to cover these expenses.

We are flexible on specifics of employment and welcome applications from people who struggle to fit into other roles due to protected characteristics.

Our ambition is to turn Place Health Technology into cooperative structure during this two year period.

Interested?

Think this sounds for you, or want a no commitment chat about it?

Email jobs@gfsc.studio with:

  • A short statement about your experience in community groups / activism, including any Greater Manchester connections you might have
  • A short description of your experience working with complex database software and with developers on software projects
  • A recent CV (please don’t worry about customising this for us we just want an idea of who you are!)
  • A link to any projects you’ve been part of you think we might want to have a look at

Deadline: ~May 16th~ extended to 10am on May 23rd. Then we will take it from there!

We expect applications to be around 500 words and definitely no more than 1,000 words. We welcome brevity. Don’t worry about making it perfect, we’re more interested in getting a flavour of you as a person.

If you have accessibility needs please let us know in the initial email and we will do our best to accommodate.

We are looking for a start date of 1st June. If there are no suitable applicants by May 16th, we will keep this job ad open until we find the right person and update this page when the role is filled.

This job is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.