We have some wonderful organisations at The Federation hear from one of our longest standing residents, Izzy from Social Mobility foundation on how her day goes...
I like to start the day with a swim. Luckily there’s a gym less than five minutes walk from The Federation (plus we get a discount for being located here) I’ll be in the office for 8am. I’m an early riser. I’ll grab a tea and a porridge in the kitchen, having a quick chat with anyone who’s around while I use the microwave and the hot water tap (hot water taps are pretty brilliant! No more waiting for a boiling kettle!) and have a nosy at the notice board.
By 9am I’ll running a workshop with my team in the meeting room. There are 4 of us now in the Manchester office, and we’re currently planning our events strategy for the North West. Social Mobility Foundation exists to support high achieving young people from low income or disadvantaged backgrounds. We work with them to access to the best universities and then ultimately into work via a five year programme. Weirdly, the digital and tech part of what we do is really under subscribed so we want to use this events programme to open up learnings and opportunities in this sector. My background is as an English teacher, so tech hasn’t been my forte really, but just by being in The Federation, I’ve learnt so much about the industry and how young people we work with can benefit from thinking about working in the tech sector. Our cohorts are naturally diverse, so we hope that we can also help improve diversity in the tech sector.
By 9am I’ll running a workshop with my team in the meeting room. There are 4 of us now in the Manchester office, and we’re currently planning our events strategy for the North West. Social Mobility Foundation exists to support high achieving young people from low income or disadvantaged backgrounds. We work with them to access to the best universities and then ultimately into work via a five year programme. Weirdly, the digital and tech part of what we do is really under subscribed so we want to use this events programme to open up learnings and opportunities in this sector.
My background is as an English teacher, so tech hasn’t been my forte really, but just by being in The Federation, I’ve learnt so much about the industry and how young people we work with can benefit from thinking about working in the tech sector. Our cohorts are naturally diverse, so we hope that we can also help improve diversity in the tech sector.
After the meeting, the rest of the team go back to our permanent desk space on the coworking floor, and I go to reception to meet one of our partner organisations. We like to show them around the space, because it’s really inspiring and we’re so proud to be here. They’re always impressed and it helps us give a good impression of what we do. It’s the same when we bring young people to the space who wouldn’t normally get to see this sort of environment. They always come away excited from being here. Hopefully this will encourage more of them into the tech sector. I drop off the partner organisation at one of the sofas to fill out some documents while I have a quick 1-1 with one of my team and then it’s lunch time.
Then its lunch in the kitchen at the picnic tables where I regularly strike up interesting conversations with other Federation residents. Sometimes a little gem of an idea might form which grows over time. Today, Ben from Lyon and Lyon was passing through and asked me for a catch up.
I’ve had a few people approach me to see how we can work together in this way since my colleagues spoke at a Federation show and tell a few weeks ago. The show and tell was a great way to meet all of the other residents and find out more about what they do. I always look forward to the socials. As an organisation, we have to connect with students, schools and universities, but also the industry, so it’s perfect having them on our doorstep.
For the rest of the afternoon I’ll catch up with the team and I might nip to Pioneer to have cup of tea with Caroline at Foodinate to see what they’re up to. I might take a phone call or two relaxing in the wicker baskets - and then I’ll start again tomorrow. We moved to Federation because Hazel Blears, one of our trustees, sits on The Coop board and she suggested it to us and we’ve been here now for 4 months. It’s ideal for us, the culture, the organisations who are here, the location - it’s perfect.
If you’re interested in taking space in Federation have a look at our co-working offer here. We’re also offering free space for tech organisations with a social purpose, apply for that, here.
We’re delighted with today’s announcement from Omidyar Network and Co-op Foundation that our work in Federation will be supported over the next two years. Both Omidyar Network and the Co-op Foundation share values that resonate deeply with what we are trying to achieve in The Federation.
Omidyar Network believe that by investing in people, through opportunity, they will create positive returns for themselves, their families, and the world at large. The Co-op Foundation want to invest in disadvantaged communities capacity to overcome social, economic or environmental challenges.
Many of those challenges are arising through the speed of adoption of technology and new inequalities that are arising as a result. In Federation we want to champion a much more ethical and inclusive digital economy where the benefits are shared much more widely. Over the next two years, with the support of Omidyar Network, the Co-op Foundation will be in a position to offer free co-working space for up to 60 individuals working for social enterprise start-ups. This offer includes desk spaces, meeting rooms and access to our event space. As well as access to the Federation team and wider Co-op colleagues who can help with advice and networking.
The funding will also go to support our events programme which will be curated to answer the question What Does A More Inclusive Digital Economy look like? Featuring a year round programme of talks we’ll be examining areas such as Surveillance Capitalism, Algorithmic Bias, Data, Privacy, The Gig Economy, as well as our comprehensive Tech For Good Live Programme and a focus on Civic Tech including Open Data Manchester and other players in the Civic Tech Scene. We’ll also be developing and sharing content and podcasts to make sure we reach as many people as possible.
We were delighted to recently host the Mayors Digital Summit in Federation and glad to hear that the Mayor recognises that this funding will further strengthen his ambition for Manchester. “I feel the digital economy should embrace collaboration and cooperation as much as it does competition. We need to build groups of people who can collaborate and through that collaboration achieve more together. This funding from Omidyar Network and The Co-op Foundation will provide so much more opportunity to do just this in Manchester. I look forward to seeing the growth in our tech co-operatives, community interest companies and social enterprises as well as a renewed focus on civic tech in the city including Open Data Manchester”
The funding has also been welcomed by the Steve Murrells, CEO of Co-op Group, the main sponsors of The Federation: "We are delighted that Omidyar Network and Co-op Foundation are supporting our work in The Federation. The opening of Federation House is evidence that social and economic revolutions, continue to be driven forward from Manchester and continue to have a strong Co-op influence. And that ‘influence’ is important because, as history has shown us, industrial revolutions and technological innovations have both good and bad sides. So innovation always needs checks and balances. And it needs something more too. It needs a culture and a mind-set that can guide its use so that we enhance life and not diminish it. In short, it needs an ethical approach and a guiding social conscience. That's what this support will enable us to do - raise important questions and provide real and practical support in our emergent tech community"
If you’ve established your tech business as a social enterprise (such as a community co-operative or community interest company) or are thinking of doing so and are interested in working with us at The Federation you can find out more about eligibility here (http://www.thefederation.coop/support)
We've recently had our 90th event in the building - a great milestone and a brilliant sign that we have been very busy since opening the doors to our variety of events spaces and meeting rooms.
We already have a bunch of interesting events ready to promote for the next few months:
Tuesday 9th January: Equal Experts
“Making Distributed Delivery work & Handling Complexity of Inception Phases”
Wednesday 10th Jan: Energimine
"An Introduction to Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies"
Friday 26th January: The Practical Democracy Project
"Devolution and democratic decision-making"
Tuesday 30th January: Open Data Manchester
"So you think you know your country?" Data, democracy and demographics
Saturday 3rd February - The Bureau Local:
"The Big Council Budget Hack"
Saturday 3rd February - Global Diversity Call for Papers Day
"Public Speaking Workshop"
Wednesday 21st February - Tech for Good Live:
James Brookes, Head of Projects, Thestartupfactory.tech
They help stratups grow from the ground up. At the moment we are working on two projects, a social media mentoring platform and a secure messaging channel.
The Federation brings a sense of collaboration and a sense of togetherness we haven't found in other co working spaces.
The pod is great, it took us 2 minutes to decide that we wanted one. We love the carpet, fixtures and people who work here. We love that it looks like a shed.
The rest of the space is full of great people, it's comfortable, the hanging baskets are great, the sofas are great. We moved into the city centre and the location is great. The transport is fantastic, the food is great around here and it's perfect for where we want to be.