Growing Republic & Useful Links


THE KITCHEN CAFE on Great Moor Street, Bolton:  Vegetarian Cafe & workers co-op.  A tranquil meat-free island in a stormy sea of fast food madness.  Recession-proof prices, healthy & good for the environment. Real Food for Real People!

Dave Spikey officially opening The Kitchen on Great Moor Street in 2011

BOLTON ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORT: bicycle recycling & Mystic Visions of a New World On Two Wheels, shop on Knowsley Street, Bolton.

TRANSITION TOWNS: Community Solutions – designed by everyone.  That means you – nice radical people, thinking outside the box!

BOLTON DIGGERS: The original Diggers were  set up at the end of the English Civil War by Wigan-born Gerrard Winstanley.  They set up rural communes based on working together on the land and sharing the  produce but were soon suppressed by Oliver Cromwell.  Many modern  socialists, communists, environmentalists and anarchists have seen Winstanley and the Digger groups as their forebears.  In recent years, an annual Wigan Diggers festival has been held in Wigan Town Centre to celebrate Gerrard Winstanley’s life and ideas.  The idea of the commons has been developed not just to mean shared land but also software, services, health, education, leisure  facilities, cultural assets and the air we breathe.

Now more than ever, commonly-held assets and services are being threatened and withdrawn -  health, care, benefits, libraries, community facilities – the basic safety net of working-class people.

Now more than ever, in the spirit of the old Diggers, people need to come together and put The Commons back at the centre of  our concerns.

For further information on the Bolton Diggers, contact Alan on 07986255782 or you can leave a response on this website.  Look out for Bolton Diggers on the Events page too!

BOLTON WHOLEFOOD CO-OPERATIVE: We are a collective who buy our food in bulk, direct from the wholesaler. We buy anything our members want, organic produce, nuts rice, flour, sugar-free jams, foods suitable for allergy sufferers, also household products and toiletries that are made from natural ingredients and are not tested on animals. None of the products contain genetically modified ingredients.  The benefits to our members are the wholesale prices and the freshness and quality of the products. The idea behind the co-operative is that members share the work involved in the ordering and distribution and help each other develop skills that will enable each other to do the work. If you would like more information we are based at The Green House Project, 1 Quebec Place, Quebec Street, Deane, Bolton BL3 5JW.  Contact:   Link:

PERMACULTURE NOW: Bolton-Bristol combo.  Join The Revolution!  It is big, green & angry!
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twitter @PermCultureNow

HARPERS LANE ALLOTMENT SOCIETY:  for information on the Harpers Lane Allotments Site in Bolton.  To contact the Secretary please email on

INCREDIBLE EDIBLE BROMLEY CROSS ( have started two new growing sessions, free to anybody living in the Bromley Cross area. One is at the Hough Lane Garden from 10am to 12.30pm every Saturday; the other is from 1pm to 3pm every Tuesday afternoon at The Village Hall.  Contact 01204 418125 or email for more details.

GREAT LEVER – FOREVER MANCHESTER The Neighbourhood Works - are starting an open community conversation and discussion for Great Lever communities, to help people make things happen the way Great Lever wants.  Meetings start at The Southfields Pub, Green Lane, Bolton BL3 2EE at 6pm Wednesday 31st October 2012.  Contact Gary on 07946424079 for more details.


Feeding Manchester Events - For anyone involved in or interested in becoming involved in the development of a sustainable food system in Greater Manchester.

SWCAA – The South-West Community Allotments Association has opened its membership for groups and individuals to join right across England & Wales, offering members public liability insurance cover through a scheme aimed at keeping premiums affordable for community food growing organisations.  and

ECOS – GREATER MANCHESTER TREESTATION - Set up in 2008, Greater Manchester TreeStation was one of the first tree stations to be established in the UK, and the very first in the North West.  The TreeStation was born from the realisation that (a) tree work arisings were often wasted due to lack of adequate recycling infrastructure or scale inefficiencies and (b) the wide scale uptake of sustainable solutions like biomass heating requires a high quality and secure supply. It made sense to integrate complementary activities such as treework and biomass production, to provide an appropriate local infrastructure on a viable scale.

The TreeStation is part of the growing movement towards living and working in an environmentally and socially conscious way.  We believe that through the decisions we make we can take personal responsibility for shaping the world we live in and encourage others to make positive changes. We are genuinely driven by our values and don’t do ‘greenwash’.

ECOS/Greater Manchester TreeStation currently supply several local allotments and growing projects with woodchip, including some delivering a social benefit, such as Emerge (food recycling and growing project) and the HEAP (Highfield Eco-Allotment Project working with asylum seekers).

(above extracts from ECOS GM TreeStation website)

Greater Manchester TreeStation Ltd: The Yard, Vaughan Street, West Gorton, Manchester M12 5FQ; Phone: 0161 231 3333; Email:; Website: and

The following article related to ECOS and Greater Manchester TreeStation was taken from

If you’re looking for a green investment, how about putting some money into a “one stop shop” for all things tree and wood-related? A not-for-profit organisation that specialises in tree surgery, woodland management and green solutions to wood waste, is inviting people to back the venture by buying shares. It estimates it will be able to pay a return of 5%.

Greater Manchester TreeStation is one of a growing number of community initiatives open to small investors who sympathise with the cause, but are also looking for a return on their money. And there was good news this week for others thinking about setting up a community-owned business, or who are looking for funding.

The Co-operative Group has launched a scheme that will underwrite community share issues. If it likes the look of what is being proposed, the new fund will provide backing to the tune of up to £50,000.

According to the Co-operative Group, the UK is witnessing a “resurgence” in enterprises set up and run for the benefit of the community – from bookshops and renewable energy projects, to pubs and post offices. The number of UK co-operative enterprises rose from 5,450 in 2010 to 5,933 in 2011.

Often there is an opportunity for people who back a venture’s aims to become a member by buying shares, and that’s the case with Greater Manchester TreeStation, based in West Gorton, which acts as a hub for a wide range of wood-related activities.

It does a lot of work for local councils, and hopes to build up its business, supplying woodchip for heating. The company was set up in 2008 and recently changed its constitution to become a “society for the benefit of the community” – a type of Industrial and Provident Society.

Nick Torr, one of the team at the society, says: “For me, what the TreeStation is working towards is a no-brainer – we have this valuable local timber resource all around us, even in our urban environment, which needs to be responsibly managed to help create the sustainable future our children deserve.

“Surprising quantities of wood are still being wasted, or poorly utilised. Our aim is to ‘upcycle’ as far as possible. Timber from our own activities, and other contractors, is used to make sawn timber for joinery, firewood, and woodchip for biomass boilers. Nothing is wasted, as anything left over is in demand for composting locally or use on allotments and by gardeners.”

The organisation wants to secure more contracts for supplying woodchip and to expand its firewood and tree surgery operations, so it has launched a share issue to raise £140,000.

The minimum investment is £200, and the society says that each year the directors will recommend what interest rate should be paid. The share offer document states it is currently intended it will be set at 5%, though that may be changed by the board.

It also warns that the share offer is exempt from regulation and therefore, “if the business fails you have no right of complaint to the Financial Ombudsman [Service] or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme”.

Meanwhile, the new fund has been set up specifically to support community-owned enterprises looking to raise money via a share issue. Backed by the Co-operative Group and the Co-operative Loan Fund, and operated by Co-operative & Community Finance, its main aims are to boost investor confidence, while improving access to capital by underwriting a share issue by up to £50,000.

However, the reassurance provided by its confidence in a project may mean the share issue hits its target without this investment.

Applications from all kinds of community-owned ventures will be welcomed. However, it will only invest in Industrial and Provident Societies.


COMMUNITY LAND ADVISORY SERVICE – New website launched – A new website at has been launched as part of an initiative aiming to make more land available for UK community gardening and growing groups.

The Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS) is an impartial, collaborative initiative, designed to help tackle the lack of available land for community gardening and associated activities.  Demand from the community sector for land has outstripped traditional sources of supply in recent years, leading to issues such as 10-year waiting lists for allotments in some cities.

This increasing need for community-managed land has been fuelled by an expansion in local food growing, concerns about the environment and a desire for communities to have a green space that local people can share.

The new website will contain a portfolio of useful documents, from FAQs about community land use, to overviews of topics such as finding land, offering land to community groups, negotiating tips and information on leases and planning. There are also links to a wealth of existing publications and websites.

A small team of CLAS advisors are also available in England and Scotland to help answer specific queries with detailed technical advice.

Funding for the project has come from a variety of sources, including the Department for Communities and Local Government, Tudor Trust, Esmeé Fairbairn Foundation and the Scottish Government. During its three-year development stage, CLAS will be project-managed by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens.

(from FCFCG email May 7th 2012)

The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens website:  The Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens exists to support, represent and promote community-managed farms and gardens across the United Kingdom.

BOLTON CVS – supporting community projects in Bolton:

Bolton CVS is a charitable company which exists to support voluntary and community organisations and positively promote voluntary action in Bolton.  Our vision is of a sufficiently resourced and sustainable voluntary and community sector which successfully meets the diverse and changing needs of the people of Bolton.

Our website provides the latest information, news and opportunities for our online community – providing an up-to-date resource to assist with your work and activities.

You can read more information at

For funding information for Voluntary Groups check the following link on the Bolton CVS web pages OR

Greater Manchester Voluntary Sector Support

Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations (GMCVO): Free events for organisations interested in developing community projects, – Details: Alison Crush, GMCVO, 0161 277 1022, or see the web-page at

Bolton Oxfam & World Development Movement The WDM are a group of committed local people who meet regularly to tackle the root causes of global poverty and injustice.  Visit their website for further information at or at

Manchester for Co-operatives - Co-operatives 2020 – supporting co-operatives and social enterprises in Greater Manchester, including gardening/growing/food/environment related projects.  Please contact Joanna Huddart at Co-operatives 2020, on 0161 448 0788 or email

Wigan Allotment Network - For information and details of growing groups in Wigan, visit or contact Hannah at or phone 07739 447949.

Wigan Diggers - The Wigan Diggers Festival celebrates the life and ideas of Wigan born and bred Gerrard Winstanley & the 17th Century Diggers’ (True Leveller) Movement. The 3rd Diggers’ Fest was held on the 7th September 2013 in The Wiend area of Wigan.  Visit their website for further information at:


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