Steward Support and Community Development Manager

The Ecological Land Cooperative (ELC) is a social enterprise based in Brighton, East Sussex. We exist to create affordable access to land for new entrants to ecological agriculture and mixed farming. Following the successful delivery of our first two sites, clusters of three ecological small farms in Mid Devon and East Sussex, we have also purchased and are in the process of developing three further sites across the South of England and Wales. We have an ambitious plan to add five more smallholding sites to our portfolio over the next four years.

We currently employ one full-time and five part-time staff, and strategic direction is led by ELC’s Board of Directors, which currently has five members who are elected at the Cooperative’s AGM. There are currently 485 members of the Cooperative.

We believe that ecological land-based livelihoods can help solve some of the most pressing environmental and social problems of our time, and we seek to marry ecological principles with sound business practice to help more people live and work on the land. This type of small-scale ecological production delivers a number of benefits including protecting the environment, building vibrant rural communities, providing employment and training, and supporting healthy diets through affordable, local produce.

Beyond this, our vision is one where land is valued and used as a means to enhance our collective good. At present, land in the UK is the target of financial speculation; in contrast, our model champions a collective, ecological and cooperative vision of land ownership and land use.

Steward Support and Community Development Manager - 2 days per week

This is a new post for the Ecological Land Cooperative and we are looking for someone who can bring skills and experience of supporting groups of people to develop into resilient communities.

Recruitment Timeline

The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 4th January 2021.

We are expecting to hold interviews on Wednesday 20th January 2021.

To apply for this role please send a copy of your most up to date CV, details for two referees and a covering letter detailing why you are a good candidate, including information on how you meet each point of the person specification to with the email subject 'Steward Support and Community Development Manager' by midnight on Monday 4th January 2021. Please also complete and return the Applicant Monitoring Form (below) with your CV and cover letter.

We want to hear about your suitability for the role but if you could keep your cover letter down to two pages of A4 that would help us when shortlisting.

Job Description and Person Specification

The Steward Support and Community Development Manager is responsible for all aspects of work to build and support the development of healthy and resilient communities on and around the ELC’s small farms, supported by and reporting to the Coordinator.

Hours and Remuneration

2 days (15 hours) per week. The post is expected to be home based with the opportunity to work flexible hours and occasional visits to Brighton to meet with colleagues.

£28,821 per annum* pro rata, actual salary for 2 days (15 hours) per week £11,528 per annum (£14.78 per hour) plus up to 4% matched pension contribution.
* the ELC has a flat payment structure, with all workers paid at the same rate. As soon as our organisational productivity exceeds our business plan targets, we’d like to increase the level of pay across the organisation.

Job Description

The Steward Support and Community Development Manager’s responsibilities include:

Steward Selection
●    Developing, maintaining and coordinating all systems relating to the steward application and selection process up to the point of new stewards being offered a lease for an ELC farm.

Relationship Management
●    Maintaining good relationships with all ELC leaseholding stewards and being the first point of contact for all steward communications.

●    Working with ELC leaseholding stewards to develop the structures necessary to build good community relationships between them and enable decision making about site related issues on each ELC site.

●    Working with ELC leaseholding stewards to build good relationships in their local communities.

●    Facilitating meetings between ELC leaseholding stewards on site when necessary.

●    Working with ELC leaseholding stewards to address and resolve conflicts as and when they arise.

New Sites
●    Working with the Site Development Manager and Planning Manager to engage the local community in the development of new ELC sites.

●    Contributing to the work of the ELC as part of the staff team, including team meetings, strategic planning and away-days, and team-building or social events.

●    Maintaining records of all contacts and communications using the ELC CiviCRM database.

●    Maintaining administrative systems and filing using Google Drive.

Person Specification

Essential Skills and Experience
●    Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, ideally with experience of group facilitation and conflict resolution.
●    Experience of working in community building.
●    Experience of running a recruitment process and interviewing skills.
●    Experience of maintaining administrative records to a high standard.
●    Ability to travel to ELC sites across England and Wales.    
●    Demonstrated ability to work well under pressure and maintain a fair and objective position in difficult situations.
●    Commitment to the aims and objectives of the ELC.
●    Strong team player, capable of working well in collaboration with others, and able to both take responsibility and respect the decisions of others where appropriate.
●    Good IT skills including the Microsoft Office suite of programmes.
●    A commitment to working cooperatively.

Desirable Skills and Experience
●    Experience of working within the environmental movement or third sector.
●    Experience of the low-impact movement or agroecological farming.
●    Familiarity with online tools such as Google Drive, Slack and CiviCRM.
●    Experience of cooperative management and inclusive decision making.
●    Experience or an understanding of the challenges of working remotely.
●    Experience of working as part of a small and diverse team.

Nov 2020