Freegle Directors - 2015 Election Candidate Statements and Q&A
Andrew TrustyFounder of Trash Nothing
I joined Freegle officially as a National Volunteer in 2014 but I have been very active unofficially in my work running the site and mobile apps. I'm not currently associated with any specific Freegle group since I'm based out of Denver, Colorado in the US but I've enjoyed working with moderators from Freegle groups (and non-Freegle groups) for the last 8 years that I've been running the trash nothing site.

Outside of reuse, I'm passionate about food related issues and when I'm not working on my own garden I volunteer regularly for a community garden and a group that harvests fruit trees for local charities.

I think of myself primarily as a software developer but in running trash nothing I've had years of experience in working with reuse group moderators and group members from all over the world.

I'm interested in becoming a Freegle Director because the relationship between Freegle and trash nothing has proved to be very beneficial for both organizations and I believe that working together more closely will better help to grow and spread the ideas and practices of reuse. And I'm also interested in ensuring the long-term viability of Freegle as an organization because I believe it's one of the best things that has happened in the reuse movement.
Andy LudlowOxford Freegle, Witney Freegle, Vale of the White Horse Freegle, Chipping Norton Freegle, Freegle Director
My name is Andrew Ludlow, known as Andy. I live in Oxfordshire and have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. I have been involved with re-use groups since 2007, and am currently a Director and Company Secretary of Freegle Ltd, co-owner of Oxford Freegle (34,790 members) and of Witney Freegle (6,657 members) , The Vale of White Horse Freegle (8,400 members).and Chipping Norton Freegle (3889). I was responsible for bringing Oxford Freecycle over to Freegle, with lots of help from the Freegle Team, and then I persuaded Witney and Vale of White Horse to come over.

I am Chairman of Wootton Parish Council, near Abingdon. and also Director on the Board of our local Community Centre.I have recently retired from working for Openreach, the working arm of BT, after 25 years working outside. As I am now retired, I am able to devote time to giving something back to the Community without work getting in the way

I do not have any other post in the Freegle system that will conflict with the post of Director. I have also been on a mediation panel for Freegle, which was able to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.

I am honest and have never had any kind of hidden agenda in any of the organisations I have belonged to and I am never afraid to tell it as it is. My outlook on life is one of practicality. I am logical in my thinking and eager to find solutions for problems, which I think will be useful qualities as a Freegle Director.My vision for Freegle would be to see it grow and adapt to keep it at the forefront of re-use in this country because I believe that re-use is the way we must go as our resources are not infinite.
Cat FletcherBrighton GreenCycle Sussex, Freegle Rep, Freegle Media Coordinator, Freegle Director
I am based in Sussex and run the Brighton Freegle group. I’ve been a Rep and a Director and have done lots of media, publicity and engagement with external organisations for Freegle UK over the past 5+ years. We now have over 50,000 followers on social media and a myriad of relationships with government, charities, media and business because of work I have done with the help and support of other Freegle volunteers.

My skills and enthusiasm are not with governance really so if you want a Board full of administrators then don’t vote for me! There are lots of other fine candidates who are highly skilled at organisation machinations to vote for (indeed I do hope lots of them make it to the Board because we need that expertise). I do however have a lot of knowledge and experience around waste policy, community action and social innovation – especially to do with reuse, waste prevention, eco building, sharing economy, publicity, resourcefulness and community activism. So I get the ‘big picture’ stuff and have a huge network of contacts and projects. I feel that I can contribute to the visionary, strategic stuff for Freegle and be a valuable advisor for marketing and publicity.

I am self-employed and do work for the University of Brighton, Brighton and Hove City Council amongst others as a waste reduction consultant. I frequently (every week!) deliver public and academic presentations and events about Freegle, reuse and sustainable materials; so am experienced at and like communicating our Freegle ethos, building bridges with communities and other organisations, influencing positive behaviour change and generally inspiring people to reuse and be resourceful. It is possible as a Board Director that there may be a conflict of interest if I were to carry out a paid Freegle media campaign for example so I would always declare that and honour the best option for Freegle and work with the Board for a harmonious outcome.

I understand and can fulfil the working, financial and legal responsibilities the role requires.

I have recently been hampered to perform to my full capacity but am confident that I will have the time and energy to commit to the new role of Director for the Freegle IPS Board and am comfortable working in a team (and one that communicates online!). I have high hopes for Freegle.

For more information on what I get up to see:

Thank you.
Christian BrenninkmeijerWilmslow Freegle, GAT, Freegle Support
Freegle Groups: Wilmslow, Covering Congelton
GAT members, but more for technical advice
Freegle Support, especially dealing with Hotmail and AOL complaints
Checking for new scam courier sites
Main interest in Freegle national is technical.

PhD in Computer Science, Msc in Computer science and a Bachelors of Arts in Business administration.
Currently working as a Software Engineer (programmer) for University of Manchester, department of life sciences.
In the past I have been a retail manager in a number of countries.

I have been thinking of being a candidate to the Freegle board for a while now, but had decided to postpone this for a while as I have recently started a new job. However as there are currently not 9 other good candidates available I have agreed to stand.

My main influence on the board will probably be on the technical side. The Member has recently voted to reduce the Freegle dependency on Yahoo. I personally feel this is a path with many dangers. For one this will place both an increase IT demand on Freegle. Resulting in higher server costs and the need for more programmers.

If Freegle moves to a more centralized IT platform the individual group moderators will loose the independent guarantee of absolute control of their group. While I am not for a moment saying that anyone in Freegle central plans on doing a Freecycle style takeover of local groups, moving to a centralized Freegle systems, without the underlying yahoo platform would make taking over individual groups possible. But I will guarantee that with the exception of abandoned groups this will not happen so long as I am a board member.

In my opinion one of the key strengths of Freegle is the open and honest way that things are discussed and moderators are treated. As a board member I will make sure that this policy continues. This includes the locaal moderators having access to all of the information held centrally about their members.

Freegle needs a lot of work in publicity and probably a lot of effort in fundraising. Regrettably I have to honestly say that neither are my strengths.
Edward HibbertEdinburgh Freegle, Ribble Valley Freegle, Freegle Rep, Freegle Geek, Freegle Director
I have served as a Rep and subsequently a Board member since Freegle started. I am active on Central and most working groups, and I'm a member of the Geeks (who maintain our website and servers), and the primary developer for Freegle Direct – which this year I have given a facelift. I also develop ModTools, which helps mods of Freegle (and other) Yahoo Groups moderate without losing their sanity.

We have a large base of volunteers, giving time and skills for free, without whom Freegle simply could not function. This is amazing and humbling. At the same time, there are specific areas where we are short of particular sets of skills. I'm not talking about Liam Neeson stuff: volunteer support, better IT, and media. If we could do all we need to do for free, that would be great. But our experience is that we can't, and if we want Freegle to have a secure future we can't just hope that obsessive volunteers will turn up. So there are some skills which Freegle needs to pay for.

Over the last few years our financial reserves have risen – at the start of this year we had around £18,000 – significant parts of this come from partnerships I have led with Give As You Live, donations from personal contacts, and now Careicon.

I believe that this year, we need to spend most of that money.

We have a history of running Freegle on a shoestring. We want good value for money. We want to be fair. We want to be sure that if we paying existing volunteers, we are doing the right thing.

All of these are good aims – but the result has been near paralysis, where people donate more money to help Freegle and it sits in the bank. For literally years.

We have to stop being afraid of spending – and raising - money. We must remain a volunteer-led organisation, but by spending what people have given us, we can get more people freegling more often.

Outside Freegle, my day job is with Recycling Lives, a recycling and reuse company which supports its own homeless charity, Careicon (a social network for charitable fundraising) and other charitable causes. I am on the Board of Volunteer Centre Edinburgh, which promotes volunteering in the city. I've moved south from Edinburgh to the North, and am currently based vaguely near Preston.
John CarrollHertford Freegle, Freegle Director
I’ve been a moderator since 2007 a role that has been enjoyable and helped me to increase my level of patience having to work through problems with local users who have even less IT skill than I do. I’ve also held positions on several sports club’s organising committees over many years.

I work in the IT industry having moved from knowing technical stuff and designing systems, to now managing large teams of people who do the clever stuff. This means I do appreciate the need and ways to work with many people’s talents and motivations. Although volunteer organisations are different from companies, my experience is that most is achieved when people want to make something successful.

Over the last year, with the help of the board and especially the treasurer, I’ve been the Finance Director for Freegle. This means I’ve dealt with transferring bank accounts over to the new Industrial Provident Society [IPS] structure, reading up on the laws that IPS companies have to abide by and trying to move us forward on spending the money people have donated to help Freegle thrive. I hope that the budget mechanism introduced helps us do more and move us forward more quickly.

Over the next year I see the focus on utilising what we have to make a bigger impact in terms of the amounts we save from landfill. Priority items such as:

1. Polishing the great work Edward and Chris have done on Freegle direct and the mobile app with a clean graphical image, ready for a big media launch to once again get Freegle growing in terms of users and message numbers;

2. Increase public awareness of the service by re-launching the mobile app & Freegle Direct. Really promote the ease of use with the mobile developments, maybe adding some national PR help to the fantastic work Cat does and working out the best ways to sustain this;

3. Keep developing support for the volunteers who run Freegle. Also working out ways to widen the base of volunteers for the other roles and functions that need to be done. Although its number 3, I see this as our biggest challenge, otherwise Freegle runs the risk of hitting the buffers should key technical and media volunteers leave.

Just like last year, my list isn’t very expansive, as without a bigger base of volunteers as I think Freegle should stick to its core purpose, as that is hard enough to pull off well. Doing this will have many other facets to it that the organisation need to tackle including funding as well as shaping and supporting government policy on re-use.

Although I don’t have lots of time (3 kids and a full time job), I do manage to get things done and will try to enhance Freegle next year if elected.
Ollie ClarkOtley Freegle, Freegle Geeks, Freegle Rep (emeritus), Freegle Director
I have been a moderator and then co-owner of Freegle groups for almost ten years, first with Leeds Freegle and just over a year ago, I set up Otley Freegle which is steadily growing.

I am active on Central and most of the working groups. I am also part of the Geek and Graphics teams and I was one of the founding Reps for 3 years before stepping down to spend time with my new baby.

I was recently elected as a Director of the new Freegle IPS and I have already been a Rep so I am familiar with the commitment needed. I have been heavily involved with Freegle since it was set up and fully support our aims and objectives.

I have good attention for detail which would be essential in fulfilling my financial and legal responsibilities as a Director. As a Rep I showed I was able to grasp complex issues and suggest a way forward. I always contributed fully to the work of the Reps and held various additional roles; GAT observer, signatory to the bank account etc.

If I should be elected you can rely on me to work to further the aims of Freegle and its members and volunteers.