Our Co-operative

Green-elephant-co-op-logoOur management company, Green Elephant Co-operative Limited, is named after the mechanical elephants produced by Luneside Engineering, the last owner of the Mill. Green Elephant is registered as a cooperative to allow the people working at the Mill to decide how the place is run. Those renting space and others using the Mill facilities have the option to become members of Green Elephant.  Members are eligible to vote in the directors, decide how any profits are spent and also make key decisions about how the company is run. Co-operatives operate on the basis of one member, one vote.

The legal framework for our kind of co-operative is now the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, and we are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, where our registration number is 31944R; you can find our registered details on the Mutuals Register.

Co-operatives UK have a page explaining what is a co-operative; the International Co-operatives Alliance hosts a page on co-operative identity, values and principles.

We have separate pages here for

There are currently six directors of the cooperative:

Alison Cahn

I am a BAFTA winning journalist and producer/director with 20 years experience in television current affairs, documentary and factual programming. I then spent seven years as a Director of Communications in the NHS and higher education. With a fellow resident of Lancaster Cohousing, I have set up Forgebank Films, a small film making cooperative specialising in producing promotional and educational films with a documentary feel. We specialise in films with an environmental, educational or community subject matter. I am also a  journalist, communications consultant, copywriter, organisational story teller and coach.

I moved from London to Lancaster by narrowboat in 2012 to join Lancaster Cohousing and quickly became involved in getting Halton Mill up and running. I’m constantly excited by the possibilities it offers to be a hub of creativity and enterprise, as well as being a good fun place to work.

Chris Coates

I have been something of a serial co-operative entrepreneur over the years, Green Elephant will be something like the eighth co-operative venture I have been involved with setting up and running. Starting off in the late 1970’s with living in a housing co-op and working in a building co-operative. Followed by setting up a small timber merchants specialising in English Oak.  In the 1990’s I was involved as a board member in New Era carrying out a whole variety of projects supporting people to get back into work. I am also a member of Edge of Time  a small publishers co-op .

More recently I have been a member of Welfare State International , a partner in Greenbuilt and a Green Party Councillor on Lancaster City and Lancashire County Council’s.

When asked the question “What do I do?” I always hesitate – before answering either ‘Carpenter turned construction project manager’ or ‘Making things happen, by whatever means necessary.’ Depending on who’s asking the question.

Fiona Frank

I’m committed to getting Halton Mill to be an inspiring place to work!  I’m a networker, keen to support individuals and organisations to reach their potential in the Mill through ensuring that everyone is able to share services, information and skills – and that there’ll be time for chats over a coffee during the working day.

While I am mainly based at Lancaster Cohousing next door to Halton Mill, I also work part time as a consultant for a  community organisation in Scotland, doing projects and outreach work and bidwriting, and am in London once a month where I run a development programme for interns in an art gallery, and act as team leader for a volunteer social media team. I have a PhD from Strathclyde University, an oral history study looking at Scottish Jewish Identity, and I worked for many years in adult education and adult literacy research and development at Lancaster University and The Adult College Lancaster.

Mandy Blackwell

Mandy is an Independent Recruitment Consultant who works with business’s in the North Lancs area to find them talented people to join their teams. With 20 years experience in recruitment she likes to think she is a great matchmaker for people and employers.

Miles Doubleday

I am a self-employed software developer specializing in database and web development. My preferred tools are Microsoft Access, SQL Server, C# and JavaScript. The Mill also lets me explore my other enthusiasms: cooking and music making. I led the cooking for the first Green Elephant Xmas dinner and fed 75 happy people at my Masala Kitchen popup. My musical contributions include solo synth for yoga sessions, events with my band, Elephant In The Room, and playing piano at our occasional lunchtime concerts. I live next door in the cohousing project, where my passion is for community governance and consensus decision making. It is a pleasure to see the car sharing software I wrote for them in daily use.

Aaron Kara

I am an award-winning learning designer with a background in animation & design. I first came to Halton Mill to work in the Hive coworking space for a few months soon after the Mill opened in late 20013. I now run Lunebase, my digital wellbeing tools business from the Mill, which I founded with Dr Tom Jamieson, a practising GP and Clinical Educator at Lancaster University Medical School. Outside the Mill, you can find me playing 7-a-side football, riding a surfskate or spending time with my two young sons. Learn more about how Lunebase works here: https://www.lunebase.com