Our mission

Tidal supports activism in Leeds be more effective in achieving social, economic and environmental justice, as part of national and international movements for change.

What we do

We achieve this by providing trainings, events and resources for activists and by facilitating cross-activist group campaigns. You can explore our four key project using the links below.

Our politics

We are living in a time of contrasts. Never before has there been such wealth alongside such poverty. We have never had as clear an understanding of humanity’s impact on the natural world nor such unabated destruction. We have never been so well connected as in this age of communication and yet isolation and alienation is endemic is our society. But we believe it doesn’t need to be this way, that a more just and sustainable world is possible. We see that the root cause of this injustice and unsustainability is a global economic system that concentrates power and ownership in the hands of the few, and undermines local democratic control.

We need strong and diverse grassroots movements for change that can address these systemic global issues, and this starts at the local level, in our communities, working in solidarity with struggles around the world. We believe that genuine social change that tackles the root causes of injustice, must challenge, rework and reimagine dominant political, economic and cultural power structures in society from the bottom up.

Throughout history, the biggest moments of transformation have occurred when groups and organisations with different tactics and approaches have united to drive forward change on common issues. Leeds is full of groups, campaigns, communities and institutions trying to make change in their own ways; from those building the power and capacity of individuals, to those building alternatives,and those challenging dominant institutions, oppression and injustice. We have been inspired by social theorist, Cindi Katz, who names these three aspects: resilience, reworking and resistance.

The dominant culture of isolation and individualism can confuse us into thinking we are alone in our work, rather than connected to a diverse and complementary network of change-makers around us. To bring about a just and sustainable world, the different elements of our movement; resilience, reworking and resistance, must be supported to reinforce one another. Sustainable and successful movements for change value each of us for our unique role while working strategically, in collaboration and in mutual solidarity with others.

This is why we support social, economic and environmental justice activism in Leeds, in all its different forms. We believe that it's only with connected, effective and massive movements working from all these angles will we build a more just and sustainable world for everyone.

Our strategy 2018-2022

You can read more about our organisational strategy for 2018 - 2022 here.

Meet the team

Our Coordinator, Leeds for Change Workers and office volunteers look after our day-to-day activities, while the Directors on our Board meet around 8 times per year to oversee our strategy and make sure we’re operating effectively and within the law. Scroll down to meet the team and drop us a line.

Staff & volunteers

Maia’s background is in campaigning on economic and social injustice. She spent two years heavily involved in campaigns against international trade deals (TTIP and CETA), and a year working for The Young Foundation to build a movement against inequality in Leeds.

As an activist she has been involved in campaigns and projects alongside Global Justice Now, Platform London, Weapons of Mass Destruction Awareness, The Real Junk Food Project, Leeds against TTIP, Students against TTIP UK and Radical Routes. Maia is interested in further exploring how creativity and activism intersect, and how co-operative models can offer platforms for low carbon, equitable futures. She also went to the World Social Forum in 2016, to learn and strategize with activists from around the world.

While studying she specialised her research on agrarian social movements and Food Sovereignty. She graduated from the University of Leeds in 2014 with a degree in International Development and East Asian Studies.

Contact her by emailing maia.kelly@leedstidal.org

Jake is a student at the University of Leeds studying for his MA in Applied Theatre and Intervention. He is interested in activism and using theatrical tools to inspire individuals and communities to fight against oppressions and stigmas.

To get in contact with him, please email jake@leedstidal.org

The board

Pablo has been a scholar activist for the past 35 years. He has been active in a range of struggles and initiatives including the anti- intervention and pro-choice movements (U.S.); the anti-nuclear movement; the anti-roads movement; Reclaim the Streets; the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army; Camcorder Guerrillas; and So We Stand in the U.K.. Internationally he was involved for many years with People’s Global Action (the direct action wing of the alter-globalisation mobilisations); and has conducted solidarity work in situ with anti-dam struggles in India; land occupation struggles in Bangladesh; and the Thai Labour Campaign. He is a Professor of Contentious Politics and Social Change at the University of Leeds and has just finished Space Invaders: radical geographies of protest to be published by Pluto in 2017.

Lydia is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) and Debt Advisor (IMA). As a Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers she specialised in auditing charities, and now supports a number of local, national and international charities as their Treasurer. She is also a vicar’s wife and is very involved in their church, All Hallows in Leeds, which is passionate about bringing about justice – by supporting refugees; providing an inclusive welcome environment; and running a community cafe using food intercepted from landfill, offered on a Pay As You Feel basis so as to value skills and time as well as money. She blogs (when she finds time) at LowCostHighPrice.org – thoughts and ideas about how to be a “conscious consumer”.

Lizzie has been involved in various environmental campaigns and projects in Leeds since moving here as a student, and in 2008/9, Lizzie worked part-time for Stop Climate Chaos Leeds before it merged with Leeds Tidal. Lizzie has a particular interest in food and climate change, and has worked within the local food movement for the last few years. She worked on the Making Local Food Work programme, initially on a project researching local food systems and then as Food Co-ops Advisor; as Coordinator of the Bardon Grange Project (now LUU Rooted), a student and community food growing project; and as Leeds Permaculture Network Coordinator.

Since 2013 she has been working as a member of Leeds Bread Co-op, an artisan bakery and co-operative that is owned and run by it’s workers, as well as more recently doing some part-time work with Lemon Balm, a social enterprise that she has helped develop over recent years.

Lizzie is an active member of Leeds Urban Harvest, and has recently been involved in setting up Yorkshire Community Woodland Society. She is also interested in global agriculture and food security issues and has spent time in The Gambia and in Madagascar volunteering on some small NGO projects.

Lizzie is passionate about social and environmental justice, and particularly in building resilient local food systems that are good for communities and the environment. She can often be found cycling the streets of Leeds with bread in her bag!

Alex is a local to Leeds and has been involved in campaigning for the last decade. His interests centre around city-based struggles, particularly in the areas of housing, the environment, community organising, and anti-racism. He joined Tidal in 2016 as a volunteer and later became a member of the board.

Alex also received his MA in Activism and Social Change from the University of Leeds in 2013 and in the day he works at Leeds Beckett Students’ Union.

Currently, he is involved with Acorn Leeds, a community organisation and tenants union.

David was born and grew up in Australia, and has lived in China, New Zealand, Hong Kong, before coming to Leeds in 2000. His involvement with Tidal began in the run-up to the Make Poverty History rally in 2005, where he helped organise groups cycling up to Edinburgh, before cycling there and back himself. Since then he has supported Tidal campaigns relating to issues such as climate change, trade justice, debt in the global south and fuel poverty. He is also interested in sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, co-housing and generally finding ways to flourish without destroying the planet or other people.

During the day David is a lecturer in Chinese studies at the University of Leeds, with primary interests in social networks and letter-writing in pre-modern China. Though he doesn’t keep bees himself, he has also written a short study of bee-keeping in pre-modern China, the only such study in English. He has an allotment on which the odd spud or onion can be found amongst the bindweed. He is not related to RPatz, nor to the Australian fast bowler James.

Matt is a local teacher and writer, the co-author with Alastair McIntosh of Spiritual Activism published by Green Books. Born in Tanzania, he became passionately aware of global justice issues from an early age, and recognised the intrinsic link between environmental and economic injustices.

Matt has served as Tidal chair, and been active in Tidal since 2006. His parents Robin and Debbie have been long term supporters of Tidal since its inception, and he lives in Meanwood with his young family. He blogs at ecohustler.co.uk

Kay studied Sociology at Portsmouth University. She moved to Leeds in 2003 where she did an assortment of jobs including working for Pointed Arrow Theatre Company and Network:Leeds. Kay also volunteered with LASSN (Leeds Asylum Seeker Support Network)short stop programme and Joanna (a project working with women working in the sex trade).

Kay currently works at Leeds University Union with Faith & Culture and Political & Campaigning societies. She is currently learning sign language and enjoys cooking and knitting.

Nicola Hambridge has been involved in global justice campaigning since she was a student in Leeds in the 1990s, campaigning in locations as far afield as Genoa, Prague and Edinburgh. She was a founding supporter of the Leeds Jubilee 2000 coalition, which evolved into TIDAL. She’s heavily involved in the Greenbelt Arts festival and in running live music gigs in Leeds. In between all this she works as a GP  in West Leeds and teaches undergraduate medical students at Leeds University.

Join the team

Volunteering can be a great way to develop new skills, meet new people and be part of something that is making a real difference. Below are the current opportunities at Tidal.

Climate Action Leeds – Programme Background

Over the last 12 months, four partners, supported by 35 other Leeds based groups, developed an ambitious plan for the city, resulting in Climate Action Leeds*, a new £2.5 million five-year programme of work in Leeds funded by the National Lottery Climate Action Fund. This work is being taken forward by a partnership made up of Voluntary Action Leeds, Leeds Love It Share It, Together for Peace and Leeds Tidal, supported by Our Future Leeds. *Climate Action Leeds was formally called CECAP – climate emergency community action programme.

The long term goal is to create a ‘zero-carbon, nature friendly, socially just Leeds by the 2030s’. To achieve this, our key programme aim is to respond to the Climate Emergency by supporting Community Action through a Climate Justice framework. We are committed to transformative, city-wide action, ensuring outcomes are socially just, co-produced and organised via flat organisational structures and participatory decision making. Find out more about Climate Action Leeds here.

Ensuring Climate Justice outcomes in our efforts to tackle the climate emergency is a core part of the Climate Action Leeds programme. Working together as a partnership, we intend to co-create a model for a community-led Just Transition in Leeds, working in solidarity with those most affected by the effects of climate breakdown, both at home and abroad. We have just recruited in the areas of Work & Economy, Energy, Food, Housing, Youth & Education and Nature – and are looking for a Transport partner to join the coalition!

Transport Partner – Role Purpose 

The overall objective of each of the seven Transition Partners is to build a network, shared vision and actions that foster solidarity between campaign groups and community-led networks to ensure transformative climate action. As the Transport Partner you will be responsible for supporting transformative city level change by organising biannual Transport Assemblies to establish a network of Transport actors across the city. These platforms seek to enable co-production of a vision and Transport Plan which feeds into the programme’s City Plan – and supports transport action at the City and Neighbourhood Climate Hubs.

This role involves a range of tasks and skills including but not limited to: co-creating training, workshops, supporting actions, start-ups, creating resources, hosting network meetings, Transport Assemblies, facilitating democratic decision making processes and co-producing a Transport Action Plans to feed into the City Plan.

Budget available 

There is a total budget of £41,728.00 for transport across the four years and one month of the programme, as set out below.

Year 1 (2020/21)  – £1,532.20 (September)

Year 2 (2021/22) – £10,3780 (12 months)

Year 3 (2022/23) – £10,586 (12 months)

Year 4 (2023/24) – £10,798 (12 months)

Year 5 (2024/5) – £8,434 (9 months)

Total – £41,728.00


Follow this link to read the Full Tender Pack here.

How to Apply

Please fill in and return this proposal template & budget template to by 9am on the 15th of July. Please send these to: maia.kelly@leedstidal.org. We will conduct interviews on 22nd July and aim for a start date of 2nd September for the Transport Transition Partner position



*Follow this link for easy-read version*

As we enter into an exciting period of transformation and growth, Leeds Tidal are inviting nominations for new board members to bolster our mission for supporting activism in Leeds to be more effective in achieving social, economic and climate justice. 

Integral to achieving this mission is our commitment to anti-oppression. We recognise that our lack of lived-expertise of many of the social issues and inequalities that we work on limits our viewpoint and progress. We are particularly keen to meet people with knowledge, insights, understanding and wisdom gathered through lived experience of a social issue, or combination of issues, with a desire to use this lived experience to inform the work of social change organisations. 

As an organisation we are committed to understanding and unlearning our own internalised racism, anti-blackness, white supremacy, patriarchy, trans-phobia, classism, ableism and all forms of oppression. This is central to becoming equipped to disrupt injustice outside of ourselves. We are currently trialling an ‘Action Learning’ and ‘Accountability Buddy’ model, in order to build this holistically into all aspects of our work. 

Skills and experiences we’re looking for to build our capacity

In particular, we are looking for people with one or more of the skills and experiences listed below:

  • Lived experience of a social issue, or combination of social issues
  • Formal HR skills (particularly in voluntary sector and in larger team settings)
  • Organisational development (particularly around governance & accountability) 
  • Fundraising (through formal bid writing, and community of support)
  • Community organising & base building 
  • Project management & budgeting 
  • Familiarity with intersectionality and climate justice 

What is involved?  2-3 hours for board meetings every 6 weeks (approx. 8 meetings per year) Additional approx 2 hours between meetings to support actions and discussions between in sub-group meetings. 

Closing date for Expressions of Interest: 10th of December

How to apply Please complete this Expression of Interest Form by the 10th of December. Follow up conversations with existing board members will be organised via online platforms at your convenience.

If you have any questions about the role of a board member, please contact the chair of Tidal: Prof Pablo Routledge p.routledge@leeds.ac.uk. Feel free to leave your number in the email if you’d prefer to speak on the phone.

Further Details: Purpose of the role

The Board has two main responsibilities. It ensures the performance of Tidal through setting and monitoring strategic plans, overseeing finances, managing resources and guarding our vision, mission and values. It also ensures conformance with relevant legislation, local regulation and our own policies, procedures and governing documents.  Board Members are responsible for the sound running of the organisation, and are legally liable for its actions.  As  well as this  governance role, Board Members are also expected to help carry out the operational work of Tidal. Board Members are expected to lend time and expertise to these activities where possible. 

Duties  After training and induction where needed, collectively the duties of Board Members are to: 

  • Set and monitor our strategic plan. 
  • Safeguard the vision, mission and values in decision-making. 
  • Ensure compliance to articles of association, legislation, local regulations, and our  own policies, procedures and governing documents. 
  • Ensure Tidal is well run and has good governance. 
  • Be ambassadors for Tidal. 
  • Get hands-on with the work of Tidal, helping with campaign support and movement-building initiatives. 
  • Attend Board meetings (around 8 per year) and sit on relevant sub-committees.

Person Specification  We’re looking for several people who are:

    • Passionate about issues of economic, social and climate justice 
    • Familiar with campaigning and approaches to building social movements 
    • Possess high personal integrity
    • Strategic thinkers
    • Creative
    • Speak their mind 
    • Understand the role of a Board Member  and its legal responsibilities (after training and induction)

In particular, to build our capacity we are looking for people with one or more of the skills and experiences listed below:

  • Lived experience of a social issue, or combination of social issues
  • Formal HR skills (particularly in voluntary sector and in larger team settings)
  • Organisational development (particularly around governance & accountability) 
  • Fundraising (through formal bid writing, and community of support)
  • Community organising & base building 
  • Project management & budgeting 
  • Familiarity with intersectionality and climate justice

Our history

...17 years of supporting activism in Leeds for a more just and sustainable world.

On the 9th of March at Notre Dame College in Leeds, we held a community festival of resistance that brought together 350 people & change-makers from around Leeds & Yorkshire. Some of the highlights included thought-provoking panel discussions on Leeds Radical History, Decolonize Now, Creative Resistance, and International Women’s Day. 21 creative & hands-on workshops. Over 30 stalls in the Leeds for Change Marketplace. Three Acres & a Cow – International Womens Day Special. Footprint Workers Co-op Zine Fair. Art exhibition of dissident local artists. Wonderdome Kids Creche. And an evening Bistro with performances hosted by The Sunday Practice, 3 course meal cooked by Rainbow Junk-tion Community Cafe.

In August we dressed in black to commemorate the tragic 350 early deaths per year in Leeds due to air pollution. With a big visual coffin and flowers, we attracted passers by to sign our petition and join us in telling Leeds City Council that we need bold measures and a tougher Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to address illegal levels of NOX in the city in advance of the Council’s final consultation.

In March we bought trainers from the New Economy Organisers Network (NEON) to come and skill us up on how to confidently prepare for and take on a range of interviews, clearly communicate topline messages and begin to shift the debate on the issues we work on. The 20 people who came on the training left with the skills to be able to frame effectively, get coverage, promote our campaigns and communicate our messages clearly and effectively.

In February we teamed up Reboot the Roots to put on a full weekend long training for 20 people on how to use Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to explore and challenge oppression. Theatre of the Oppressed is a range of techniques, games and exercises, developed to support the empowerment and liberation of individuals and their communities. It is a way of analysing and challenging the power dynamics of our society and our personal relationships.

Combined, we had over 50 people attend two activist trainings on Power and Privilege. The first was on Power, Privilege and Anti-Racist Practice with the Racial Justice Network and The Collective Liberation Project. The second was on Gender in Transition, Power & Discrimination with Trans Leeds and Simpson Training. The series aimed to help us understand how identity and oppression intersect, so we build stronger, more inclusive and diverse movements for change that can transform relationships of power that lead to oppression. 

Over 80 people attended our second day-long gathering, called ‘Reconnect – Building a Collective Response to Austerity and Division’ in partnership with our friends at The Economic Justice Project. 12 workshops guided us through exploring the impacts of austerity on Jobs, Communities of Colour, Welfare Services, and building skills for change.

We co-created a Leeds People’s Charter to capture our learning, and create a shared resource for us to take forward to our organisations, elected representatives, and build into our own work and communities beyond the event.

This year we moved to Bridge Street Church in Eastgate, which offers us fantastic workshop rooms and a shared office with lots of like-minded community organisations. We’ve been able to use this space to support local campaign groups such as Frack Free Leeds and Friends of the Earth, who hosted their enormous ‘United Against Fracking’ gathering here in the Autumn.

With partners at Leeds Beckett Student Union we put on a day-long gathering for activists, students and community groups called Educate, Agitate, Organise, held on April 29th. Nearly 200 people participated in over 40 workshops, panel discussions and activities, including a topical opening discussion on ‘How to organise against hate and fear’.

Our exciting panel of national campaigners included Nadia Idle from War on Want, Ed Lewis from Global Justice Now, and Tatiana Garavito from Hope Not Hate. As an offshoot event, we also hosted the Leeds premiere of I Am Not Your Negro with a panel discussion with Sai Murray from the Racial Justice Network, and Dr. Shirley Tate professor of Race and Education at Leeds Beckett. The screening sold out all 200 seats in Hyde Park Picture House.


We joined forces with a big coalition of concerned citizens, environmental campaigners, health workers, students and professionals to campaign under the umbrella name Healthy Air Leeds. This was the perfect opportunity to tackle climate change, a key global justice issue, on our own doorstep. We facilitated three meetings with Leeds City Council officers and challenged them rigorously to take a bold approach to addressing illegal levels of NOX in Leeds.


In autumn we ran three events to share campaigning skills in Leeds – a day on Running Great Workshops, an evening on Blogging for Change, and a whole weekend on Creative Activism. This was part of our new 2016-2021 strategy: to run more trainings and social events, to make the global justice movement more fun to be involved in + to build stronger relationships within the movement in Leeds. This would be alongside continuing our core activities of campaigns, gatherings, and the hub website.

We secured funding for the next stage of its development, and recruited two new workers to focus on outreach, governance and usability of the website. Membership got up to 107 groups.

We joined forces with Frack Free Leeds, Greenpeace and others to campaign against the fracked waste water from North Yorkshire, coming to Leeds to be ‘treated’ at Knostrop water treatment plant. The campaign organised public meetings, joined actions and hosted lots of awareness raising stunts on the streets of Leeds, and has plans to grow in the coming years. 

In April we held a Summat gathering, partnered with War on Want and the Economic Justice Project. Loads of energy went into organising 25 fantastic workshops, creative sessions, singing, kids space and volunteers at this inspiring gathering. Following the gathering were two workshops on creative activism, called Beautiful Trouble. 

In February we helped launch a new network which aims to bring campaigners and professionals together to help Yorkshire achieve a low-carbon future.

November meant that the COP21 climate talks were approaching and we helped form For the Love of Yorkshire to take action together. We helped to bring together over 300 people to join a pilgrimage, service, march and rally in Leeds. The next day we joined others on a coach to London to take part in the biggest climate march in UK history, while other Tidal supporters joined a Climate Peace vigil in Paris to mark the end of a 3-day cycling pilgrimage.

5 years after the Big Conversation, Summer 2015 was also a time for planning. Tidal had come to the end of our five year plan, so we needed to decide what we wanted to focus on for the next five years. We held interviews with key global justice group members, open events for activists, and we put out a mass survey to help us prioritise.

Alongside the Fair Ten Challenge campaign, from March to July we were busy investing in our activist future by running the Spark a Change course with the Economic Justice Project. Over four weekends we shared campaigning skills and demystified economics with over 30 people from a really broad range of backgrounds.

To gear up for general elections, we gathered together representatives from 19 campaigning groups to form the 2015 Fair Ten Challenge. Together we made a list of questions to ask parliamentary candidates chosen by the public. After a big launch (with Hilary Benn + Easter bunny) plus a month full of phoning, meeting and chasing, we finally published the results on the Leeds for Change website so people knew where their candidates stood on the big issues of our time. One week before elections, we rounded off the campaign with a big public debate with representatives from all parties answering the Fair Ten Challenge questions. A really big thank you to all our collaborators and volunteers.

On 8th November 2014 we held a massive 600 person-strong gathering called Summat New. Perhaps you were there? We were delighted to work with the Economic Justice Project on the event, which includes our old friends at Jubilee Debt Campaign.


There were 34 workshops, eight open forum discussions, two speaker panels, 40 stalls, a kids space (Summat Small!), an arts space and a whole evening of food, song, awards and comedy. You may recognise Tidal’s own Mary Keynes winning the Lifetime Achievement Award. It was a truly magical event that brought together activists in Leeds and celebrated all their hard work.

Over 100 groups signed up for the Leeds for Change website, and they all have a profile page, the opportunity to post events and blog articles and share skills through the Skillshare Network, the fruits of Claire’s 2013 research. Claire also ran super-informative social media and facilitation skills workshops.

We sparked the formation of Leeds Community Energy, and supported their first six months to get up and running. As part of this group, we attended conferences and held workshops with Share Energy Cooperative and Sheffield Renewables.

With Green Doctor Training we held a series of coffee mornings in Seacroft to talk about fuel poverty. This sparked great conversations on how to both reduce the environmental and financial impact of bills + went on to inspire some of the people we met to take action in all sorts of ways

A major project of the year was stepping up the hub website project, Leeds for Change. We widened the steering group, did 17 in-depth interviews with potential member organizations, and raised funds to build the website – with £3000 secured by Christmas. We also secured some one-off funding for the wonderful Claire to work one day a week for eight months to build a network for sharing activist skills in Leeds. She got started by meeting with lots of campaigning groups and individual activists, doing a survey of what people want and have, researching and developing ideas of how to share skills online, and ran a brilliant one day skillshare on solidarity activism.

Through lots of outreach we collaborated with five households in East Leeds to show the human side of fuel poverty in a photography exhibition. It linked up the many different issues involved – Big Six profiteering, climate change, health and housing. We toured the photos around different locations and used it in workshops, including at a Welfare Reform conference.

With supporting and connecting the movement in Leeds as our new(ish) mission, we organised our 2012 annual conference to the theme Crisis Opportunity. There was a total of 13 workshops, 22 contributors and 86 participants on the day. A focus of the event was to determine what Leeds wanted to do when the UK hosted the G8 summit in June 2013. With new relationships formed at the event, we formed an action group who collaboratively made plans to campaigning together around the G8.

We joined together with Together for Peace and Taking Soundings to start developing a new ‘hub website’ for activists in Leeds, called Leeds for Change. Its aims would be to link together activist groups, and make it easier for new people to join the fun. Our mapping project from 2012 evolved to be a part of this project.  

2012 also saw the launch of Leeds Citizens (previously Leeds Community Organising), a project Tidal has been part of from its inception. Our involvement in the project helped bring global justice issues to new parts of Leeds.

Tidal was one of the partners putting on Leeds Summat in November which attracted around 1000 activists from across the city! We used this to launch our mapping project which we’d been working on with TINWOLF and others to link groups together and provide easier access to public and shared resources.

We held a lobby of Leeds MPs in the our Big Climate Connection in the Spring, then launched Leeds Fuel Poverty Action in the Autumn with 4C, SURE-Energy, Friends of the Earth and lots of other grassroots groups and activists. The campaign had a busy year in 2012, going to London for a national demo, the Big Six Energy Bash, publishing a manual on retrofitting, organising more actions in Leeds, and also mini-conference in September.

We began to create a plan for Tidal and the Leeds global justice movement. Possibly our most significant area of work, the event ‘Tidal’s Big Conversation’ was held in the Autumn to get loads of activists involved in what we need in Leeds to grow and connect the movement, build flourishing groups and engage activists.

In addition, we started to publish regular e-updates to keep Leeds activists connected to one another, and helped local groups work together strategically on the general election with our Fair Ten Challenge.

2009 was also a year of transformations.

Behind the scenes we decided to merge Tidal and Stop Climate Chaos Leeds and changed our name to simply ‘Tidal’ instead of Trade Injustice and Debt Action Leeds. This came alongside the decision to broaden our remit of work to include wider issues of global justice.

By ourselves it would be impossible to achieve the change we wanted in Leeds. But if we enabled activists to work together, to work more effectively, and we helped more people become activists in the first place, then together we might just be able to create the change we need. As a result, in 2010 we gave ourselves a new mission: to coordinate, support and grow global justice activism in Leeds, while campaigning more collaboratively with groups.

As well as supporting the Leeds premier of climate change docu-drama The Age of Stupid and helping run the Engage + Change day of action, we also collaborated with CAFOD, Christian Aid and Leeds Justice and Peace Commission to charter and fill a train with 700 activists to The Wave climate march.

Check out this news clip.

When we heard that Leeds Bradford Airport had submitted proposals to expand its terminal, we responded quickly. With Friends of the Earth, Leeds World Development Movement and dozens of grassroots campaigners we launched the No Leeds Bradford Airport Expansion campaign. Though the expansion itself ultimately went ahead, we won important concessions on curbing the growth of the airport and came within a single vote of total success, an incredible feat given the vested interests we were up against.

Tidal worked to make sure trade and debt issues were not forgotten in Leeds. We had a packed World Debt Week with a publicity stunt, talk by a campaigner from the global south, and took a coachload of people to Journey to Justice, the Jubilee Debt Campaign’s conference on debt relief.

Kicking off with a stunt on the Millennium Square ice rink, Stop Climate Chaos Leeds went on to encourage dozens of responses to the Leeds City Council Climate Change Strategy consultation, hold a fundraising ‘Play in a Day’, host two cafés on climate change, flashmob Briggate with the Leeds Freeze, and cap off the year with taking a coachload of people to the National Climate March in London.

Tidal lobbied a local MEP to support Christian Aid’s Cut the Carbon campaign, and once again held Cloth 07, a Fairtrade fashion show. Stop Climate Chaos Leeds became increasingly active, organising a vigil on Briggate, holding a fundraising gig at the Brudenell Social Club, and even finding funding for a one day a week member of staff.

Increasingly energy was being poured into tackling an up and coming development issue; climate change. Keen to broaden our knowledge, we invited the Director of the newly formed Stop Climate Chaos Coalition to come up to Leeds and talk to us about the links between poverty and climate change. Inspired by what we heard, we founded Stop Climate Chaos Leeds, and that year held a public meeting on the issue, and took 40 campaigners to November’s “I Count” rally in London.

2005 was the year of Make Poverty History. An exciting and exhausting year for development campaigners, Tidal led the charge in promoting the campaign in Leeds.

Events organised ranged from lobbying Hilary Benn in February, a Fairtrade Fun Day at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the ‘Stay Up for Trade Justice‘ vigil in Holy Trinity Church, to a winter vigil outside the hotel housing the EU’s Development Ministers. The centerpiece of the year was a massive solidarity march in Edinburgh, which we organized transport for over 1,500 people from Leeds to support.

This was by no means a quiet year – we organised a Fairtrade Fiesta at the Civic Hall, a meeting on the Tobin Tax, a World Debt Day penalty shoot-out stunt, lobbied Hilary Benn and held Cloth, a Fairtrade fashion show – yet it seemed tame in comparison with the following one…

Starting by asking our supporters to send a tear-off slip included in the Tidal newsletter to their councilors, campaigners lobbied the council hard to adopt the new standard. Less than a year after the campaign had been launched, Leeds was declared a Fairtrade City on the 5th March 2004. At the time the award made Leeds the largest Fairtrade City in the country.

In addition, we had a campaign focus on The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Events included two public meetings on the issue, a street theatre action with the World Development Movement (WDM), and a lobby and publicity stunt with 4 Leeds MPs and a giant set of scales.

Trade Injustice and Debt Action Leeds (what our name stood for back then) was set up in 2002, by union of Leeds Jubilee Debt Campaign, and the Trade Injustice Movement group.

Our fledgling group spent a great deal of time just getting set up as an organisation, but we did find time to squeeze in lobbying the parliament, a benefit concert for the Jubilee Debt Campaign, and a publicity stunt for access to water in Dortmund Square.