Introducing Mike Thomas, Transition Network’s Initiative Support Coordinator, and his new support overview page.
By rob hopkins 17th February 2014
Hi everyone. My name is Mike and I am the new Transition Initiative Support Coordinator for Transition Network. I have in fact been around since August and may have already met some of you, in which case hello again. My role is to develop support systems for Transition initiatives throughout the UK and throughout the world. Writing that makes me feel slightly overwhelmed, that is until I remember all of the great people who are involved in making Transition happen on the ground throughout the world. So how do I see my role?
Well it would be impossible for me to personally support over 1,400 Transition initiatives so my job is to take the big picture view of support, in order to come up with systems of support that support as many people as possible. My big focus is to give groups the tools and information to be successful at Transition, which in turn makes them resilient and able to deal with problems that arise through finding their own solutions. I must admit this is slightly self interested because if I can make sure Transition initiatives are successful, it means I have less problems to help sort out. I can then focus on building more systems of support that help the Transition movement grow larger and stronger.
A bit more about me
So a bit more about me and where I come from. I grew up in a small ex-mining town called Cinderford in the Forest of Dean in the UK. As I was born in the Forest of Dean local customs stipulate that if I worked down a coalmine for a year and a day I would be granted freeminers rights and could mine anywhere in the Forest of Dean and have free roaming sheep. I decided not to take up that line of work and ironically now work to help keep coal in the ground. Over the years I have worked for a range of community organisations mainly dealing with social problems and issues of poverty and housing, such as Unemployed Community Resource Centres, Glofysh a Support Service for Young People and Shelter the Homeless charity. As well as this, I have been involved with loads of campaigns, neighbourhood projects and alternative media projects as well as running websites such as Permanent Culture Now which I still do and making films.
How I became interested in Transition
I have been interested in Transition and permaculture for a long time as well as radical politics, coming from the Forest of Dean which has quite a history of radicalism. I have for long time been interested in how to build the capacity of movements to succeed and have been involved in doing that for a long time. When I saw the Transition job advert for this role I thought now there is a job which I could really get my teeth into and make a real difference to the world, by supporting all these inspiring people to take Transition forward. I also love meeting new people, learning about them and hearing their life stories and experiences of Transition. It feels like a big job in front of me, but it also feels that I have thousands of experts on Transition who are willing to help me on this challenging journey that lies ahead.
New Support Overview Page
One of the first things I have done is to make it a lot easier for you to find the existing support resources we have by producing a page that gives people an overview of what is available on the Transition Network website. I have structured the page around the categories of a new support pathway I am currently developing for Transition initiatives, which I will be blogging about soon. The page answers the following key questions:
1. How do I find out more about Transition and keep up to date with what’s happening?
2. What advice and support is available to people setting up and developing Transition initiatives?
3. What training is available?
4. Our initiative is having problems, what help is available?
Each question has a section that highlights all the resources that are currently available to Initiatives. So, for example you can find out about all the blogs, newsletters and social media presence we have, see all the resources with have on how to develop your initiative, get an overview of all the training we offer and find some solutions to problems that your initiative maybe having. This page provides you with an overview that you can regularly revisit to easily find the resources you need. I hope you find this useful.
If you have any problems which aren’t covered here you can contact me here by selecting the Project Support option.