Beyond work

Outside my paid work I have been involved in the following things.

The first thing. I chaired the Walsall Supporters Trust from 1999-2009. We worked closely with Supporters Direct to advocate for supporter participation in the governance of Walsall FC. We were initially constituted as a Company Limited by Guarantee and then became a more democratic Industrial and Provident Society. In this time we became the tenth largest shareholder at the Club and were engaged in education projects based around literacy in local schools, focused on the Walsall Til I Die project. I also worked with Supporters Direct and the Foxes Trust at Leicester City on literacy projects in City/County schools in Leicestershire. The politics of football almost destroyed my love of the game. I documented this on Youtube as disillusioned Saddler.

The second thing. I was a local authority Governor and Vice-Chair of Governors at Forest Lodge Primary School in Leicester from 2005-11. I had responsibility for Foundation Stage and ICT, and was Chair of the Finance and Personnel sub-committee. In spite of everything that is ranged against schools in areas with high levels of socio-economic deprivation, the staff at this School showed what an inclusive, developmental culture might achieve. But it is tough work that sometimes has to be endured.

The third thing. In 2005-06 I worked at Crisis at Christmas. From 2007-11, I was a Trustee of the Birmingham Christmas Shelter. I loved this work. But it was knackering. And harrowing. We abandon too many people and this dehumanises us all.

The fourth thing. Since 2010 I have been involved in a range of oppositional or radical education projects that have a different formation/governance from those projects noted above. I was an original member of the Social Science Centre in Lincoln, an unincorporated co-operative of scholars developing a new form of higher education based upon the social sciences. I have been involved in sessions at the Really Free School and Tent City University in London, and was at the inaugural discussion about the London Free University. I was also involved in Leicester’s Third University and its development of an unemployability curriculum. I am now involved in discussions about a UK Co-operatives Free University. There are some photos of stuff I have been involved in on my flickr.

The fifth thing. I was a member of FC Kolectivo Victoria, and we were proud to have played in tournaments in support of refugee action and anti-homophobia charities. I also played for For Fox Sake in an indoor, Sunday, 4-a-side League, where there is no hiding place. No pasaran!

The sixth thing. I was a member of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) Committee at De Montfort University between 2005-22. I was a Health and Safety Rep from 2005-09, negotiated locally between 2019-22, and undertook casework between 2018-22. I left UCU in 2023 for a range of local branch and national union issues. I subsequently joined the IWW-GB. In solidarity.

The seventh thing. Between 2017-19 I sat on the Board of Directors for Leicester Vaughan College, a Community Benefit Society.

The eighth thing. From 2015-22 I was a Trustee of the Open Library of Humanities. This was fun and inspiring.

The newest things. I am an independent visitor for a looked-after child in Leicester. I am a member of the Management Committee of both the Leicester Primary and Secondary Pupil Referral Unit. I also contribute to a collective of football fans who write for a considered view of Walsall FC, over at the No Nobhead Policy.

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