We are run by a Board of Trustees, who have responsibility for the CIO and the building. All Trustees work on a voluntary basis.
Our Trustees are a group of local residents, some of whom came together for the original founding of the organisation, and some of whom have moved to the area and joined recently. They work in diverse careers, bringing a range of skills to LOL, but all of them share a desire to provide a shared community space for Levenshulme that aims to help improve the lives of those who use it.
Olivia O’Connell (Chair of Trustees)
Olivia has worked at multiple arts organisations including Classical Opera and The Mozartists, Buxton International Festival, Improbable, Opera Holland Park and Manchester International Festival, and now Contact in Moss Side. She has lots of experience in event management and delivery and has been involved in managing events for a range of stakeholders including The University of Manchester and Manchester International Festival 2019.
Olivia lives nearby and visits Levenshulme regularly, often attending Levenshulme Market. She is committed to supporting the members, volunteers and trustees to create, plan and manage events for the whole Levenshulme community. She is keen to build on previous experience of supporting funding applications for creative events and outreach programmes, and would like to further her understanding of the important role played by trusts and foundations in fostering cultural connections and community based activity.
John Roby Brown (Trustee)
John has lived in Levenshulme for 40 years, raising his family here. He worked in the Civil Service for 31 years (in the Benefits Agency and predecessors), retiring in 1998. He has been a dedicated volunteer in many Levenshulme community groups since.
His commitment to LOL is to provide a lively community arts and community centre, accessible to the whole of Levenshulme and the district, which is financially stable.
Jez Hall (Treasurer)
Jez is a community development professional, working within a social enterprise, with clients from across the public sector. His work is linked to supporting social enterprise, improving community engagement and promoting participatory democracy. He has lived in Levenshulme for around 30 years. Both of his children were born in Levenshulme and attended local primary schools and he has always been involved in a range of community activities, most recently Levenshulme Old Library.
Jez really wants the Old Library to be a flourishing community facility, offering opportunities for local people to express themselves, learn new skills and build a strong cultural connection with others. He is passionate about maintaining a landmark heritage building that Levenshulme can be proud of, and as (or more) importantly, for it to be a place where people can achieve their full potential, and be part of a strong, safe, vibrant community.
Hilly Barber (Trustee)
Hilly is an actor and role player and one of our founding trustees. She has lived in Levenshulme for 20 years, raising her children here. She would like to see Levenshulme Old Library become a fully functioning arts space for a diverse range of the local Levenshulme community.
Jean Bernard (Trustee)
Jean has been a Levenshulme resident for 33 years. She worked as a probation officer for 21 years, and more recently at Levenshulme Inspire for 4-5 years and as a community organiser for 4 years. She organised Levenshulme Food and Drink Festival for 4 years, and has also worked in 5 local primary schools over a number of years. Jean is connected to a number of local churches, attending Levenshulme Baptist Church. She is interested in supporting events either by attending, inspiring or organising, as well as being interested in work with volunteers
Brittain Adams (Trustee, Events/Social Committee)
Brittain is one of the founding Trustees and has been involved in many Levenshulme community groups. He is a Levenshulme resident and works in a range of areas, including IT systems and creative solutions. Brittain is active in the Events/Social Committee and is keen to increase our offering at Levenshulme Old Library.
Claire Sharples (Trustee)
Claire has been a Levenshulme resident for 4 years and grew up nearby in Withington. Claire works in arts and cultural development, research and evaluation spanning education and social agendas. She is particularly interested in creative exchange and democratic inclusion, having conducted academic research in this field.
She would like to work with the team, LOL users and wider community to help the space offer a diverse and sustainable programme and income that provides creative opportunities for the whole community.
Sana Rahim (Trustee)
Sana is an academic doctorate student and university tutor, with experience of working at The University of Manchester, MMU, Salford University and Leicester University. She is a local resident and has family connections to the area of over ten years. She is hoping to make the arts centre more diverse, to include education and help it work towards being more inclusive – particularly to marginalised communities and ethnic minorities.
Saf Horrocks (Trustee)
Saf is a Stage and Events Manager and works in the Theatre and TV Industry having worked in the arts for over a decade. She is also a member of the Equity Stage Management Committee, elected 2019. Saf moved to Levenshulme in 2018 having been drawn to the sense of community and collaborative living within the district.
Saf hopes to offer her experience in the arts to a centre which she sees as having the potential to be a core cultural hub in the village. She would also like to encourage people from a similar background to herself to become more involved at Levenshulme Old Library and to challenge people’s perceptions of the space.
Sidra Iftikhar (Trustee)
Our youngest trustee, Sidra grew up Levenshulme and still lives here.
She brings great experience of working overseas in a volunteer capacity, including in Iceland and elsewhere.
Matt Byng (Trustee)
Our newest trustee, Matt joined us in May 2021, after moving to Levenshulme in 2019. He’s currently a public policy manager at a national regulator. His career so far has been rooted in social and education policy.
He’s keenly interested in the local area, particularly the growing independent scene and the endless enthusiasm to make Levy into a terrific place that is diverse, passionate, and caring. He’s also a bit obsessed with Victorian and Edwardian architecture, which Levy has an abundance of. Alongside that, he enjoys live music, politics, theatre and walking.
Our dedicated staff team
Laura Deane (Co-ordinator)
Laura studied Photography and Philosophy, and has been teaching A-level Photography and Arts for 14 years, as well as stints working in community art organisations and delivering freelance arts workshops and exhibition management. She completed an MA Photography in 2013, and also works as a freelance artist, selling and exhibiting work. She has lived in Levenshulme for 14 years, and is currently raising her two young children here. She used to bring her baby daughter to the Library every week!
She began working as Building Co-ordinator in September 2019, and has been getting to grips with the varied role, managing building and structural repairs, bookings and events, and the day-to-day running of the organisation. She loves working at LOL because she wants to be involved in creating a community for her children in Levenshulme. The commute helps too!
She would like to see this beautiful Carnegie building restored to its full potential as a central community hub that is always busy and full of life. She has a personal interest in bringing art to the district and would like to see more exhibitions and inclusive workshops for the community. But first, she wants to stop the building from falling down…
Jayne McFadyen (Finance Officer)
Jayne is our Operations and Finance Manager, working closely with Directors and Associates to keep our virtual office running. She has twenty years experience in setting up and running charities and community interest companies and over 25 years experience in business management.
She has a wealth of experience in business processes, finance and business improvement. As well as working for us, Jayne is also Operations and Finance Director for Shared Future CIC. In her spare time, she plays vinyl at festivals and parties and runs The Melodrome Mobile Theatre.
Neil Barton (Caretaker)
Neil is our fantastic caretaker, who cleans and maintains the building. He works for us because he is dedicated to helping to keep our community building open. Neil is also a maths teacher so if he is not wielding a brush or help a theatre company with a get-in, he is probably trying to work out just how many leaves will fall on the Old Library grounds before Autumn is over.
Jason Cooke (ALLfm Volunteer Manager and all-round Good Egg)
Jason works for ALLFM but is a stalwart of Levenshulme Old Library too – he manages our on-call security, assists with building management, user coordination and many other tasks. As well as his day jobs, he co-presents Charity Shop Classics on ALL FM (Sundays 11am) and runs Comedy Balloon, the longest running open mic comedy night in Manchester.
Active in arts & performance since 1986, he’s appeared on the same bills as John Cooper Clarke & Frank Sidebottom, has toured with Hawkwind, performed comedy in the Shetland Islands & provided occasional soundtracks for film and television.
Veronika Diamond (Freelance Arts Programmer and Producer)
In 2018 Veronika programmed the Levy Fringe programme at Levenshulme Old Library. In 2019 and 2020 she stepped up to produce the entire festival securing funding from Arts Council England. 2019 saw thousands of residents participate in approximately 30 events across 10 days. She has secured further investment in the 2020 festival and stepped up to direct the biggest and most inclusive fringe yet! Aside from Levy Fringe, in 2019 Veronika delivered a weekend of ‘Creative Windrush’ in partnership with the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. She has also secured further investment for physical infrastructure for Levenshulme Old Library.
Veronika has a portfolio of clients who keep her busy, projects range from devising commercial and participatory programmes for arts organisations, producing international touring work, programming and arts development consultation.