Communications & Learning Officer

Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming

Cambridge Heath, London
£29,021 for 4 days/week for 11 months (£39,574 FTE)

Paid • Part Time • Fixed Term Contract [email protected]

Sectors: food, farming & horticulture, sustainability

Closing date: Monday, 7th December 2020  

Gross Annual Salary: £29,021 for 4 days a week for 11 months. This equates to £39,574 full-time equivalent. In addition, Sustain matches pension contributions up to 5% of gross salary.

Hours: 0.8 FTE / 4 days / 28 hours

Location: Role is office-based in Cambridge Heath, London. Initially remote in line with government Covid-19 guidelines. Travel within Europe is likely, with occasional overnight stays.

Position type: Maternity cover. Fixed-term contract for 11 months.

Annual Leave: 15 days Basic Annual Leave (based on pro rata 0.8 FTE for 11 months). This equates to 20 days on a full-time equivalent. Public holidays and office closures (pro rata) are on top of this. The Basic Annual Leave entitlement rises 2 days every year to a maximum limit of 25 days (pro rata).

Closing date: 10am, Monday 7th December 2020

Equal opportunities: Sustain is an equal opportunities employer. See our Equal Opportunities Policy.

Right to Work: Entitlement to work in the UK. You will need to hold the necessary rights/visa to work in the UK, Sustain is not able to assist with applications for work permits.

Other details: Cycle to Work scheme available on salary sacrifice basis

We actively and warmly encourage applications from people from diverse backgrounds, including from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who are currently under-represented in our staff team. Read more about Sustain’s commitment to tackling racial injustice in the food system here:

About Sustain

We are an alliance representing around 100 national public interest organisations and hundreds more working at international, national, regional and local level. Collectively we strive for better food and farming through advocating food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.

We operate in collaboration with our membership and:

  • Share information to strengthen the work of the membership and help promote their activities to the media and to policy makers.
  • Develop networks of members and allied organisations to devise and implement policies and practices on particular issues of common concern.
  • Advise and negotiate with national and local government to ensure that legislation and policies on food and agriculture are publicly accountable and socially and environmentally responsible.
  • Encourage businesses to produce, process and market foods which are good for health and the environment, and to devise, invest in and maintain policies and practices that make sustainable food choices the easy choice.

Sustain fulfils its aims is through running a multitude of different projects and campaigns to improve food and farming, with the help of our members and other supporters. They broadly fit under a number of themes to be set out in our new strategy due to be published in 2021, which (of course) overlap and include:

  • Sustainable food production
  • Good food economy
  • Access to healthier food for all

We pursue these through a combination of local and national action, with much success. Through our organisational plan we are also committed to improving the way we work and have set some targets for improving our communications and campaigning, increasing the diversity of our staff, trustees and supporter networks, building stronger connections with supporters and other people working for change, and upskilling our staff and the movement.

About this role

This role has two main parts. The first half is to work with Sustain staff across our print, newsletter and digital communications to improve the quality, quantity and impact and increase the profile of Sustain, its projects and the aims of the alliance. Further details of this important work are provided under ‘tasks and responsibilities’, below. The second half of the role is to lead on the communications and learning strand of the international FoodShift 2030 project, for which Sustain is a partner.

About FoodSHIFT

Commencing from January 2020, the FoodSHIFT2030 project aims to achieve an ambitious citizen-driven transition of the European food system towards a low carbon circular future. The transition includes a shift to less meat and more plant based diets, while improving food and nutrition security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and revitalising urban-rural linkages. 

The project has received 7.5 million Euros from the EU Horizon 2020 programme and features a strong multi-actor consortium with 31 partners composed of local governments, small and medium sized enterprises, NGOs, universities, research institutions and network partners, including IFOAM EU. 

The rapid transition to a citizen-driven food system that the programme aims for will begin in FoodSHIFT Accelerator Labs in nine city-regions: Greater Athens, Avignon, Barcelona, Bari, Brasov, Berlin, Greater Copenhagen, Oostende and Wroclaw. Subsequently the learning and experiences will be shared with twenty-seven other city-regions ('Enabler Labs'). Each lab will work on maturing, combining and scaling up existing food system innovations within a specific thematic focus - including urban agriculture, procurement, food waste, climate friendly food, food education, and much more.

Sustain will be contributing to FoodSHIFT2030 as a network partner leading on sharing learning (knowledge transfer) and dissemination via city and region networks and also between FoodSHIFT Accelerator Labs and Enabler Labs. Sustain will facilitate this by providing webinars and applying their experiences from the Sustainable Food Cities and Food Power networks, and drawing on relationships with many international partners. For more information about the FoodSHIFT2030 project, check out:

Tasks and responsibilities

The Communications and Learning Coordinator will have a varied and exciting workload and work in collaboration with Sustain’s senior management, Sustain staff, staff working on Sustainable Food Cities (run in partnership with Food Matters, the Soil Association and Sustain), cities and project partners.

The Coordinator’s responsibilities will include (with indication of likely divide of time over the week):

Within FoodSHIFT:

  • To inform, understand, demonstrate and spread knowledge from this project about replicable models to improve urban food systems and their measurable impact on key indicators.
  • To help the Accelerator Labs (cities) by working with Sustain staff to feed in our experience on city based initiatives that have scaled up solutions on the following issues: fish, urban farming, public procurement, rural to urban supply chains, food waste, local food infrastructure and plant based diets.
  • To bring our experience on good food governance locally through the Sustainable Food Cities and Food Power networks.

The Coordinator will deliver these by organising a programme of webinars and workshops, as well as encouraging the production of materials including videos and toolkits, and the use of relevant information sharing platforms such as email forums, working with both UK and international partners. The role will also involve travel within Europe to attend meetings and events and to share learning.

Within Sustain’s wider work:

Working with Sustain staff to improve the quality, quantity and impact of our communications and increase the profile of Sustain, its projects and the aims of the alliance. Here are some examples of what this would include:

  • Producing, and helping implement, communication plans with staff for their project and campaigns work.
  • Increasing press and digital media coverage for Sustain’s work.
  • Coordinating Sustain’s press list and strengthening relationships with key journalists and media outlets.
  • Working with staff to ensure that Sustain’s responses to topical news stories are sent to relevant media sources and posted on our website and via other digital media.
  • Working with Sustain alliance members and their press leads to identify key spokespeople on various food and farming issues to forward media responses where we do not have in-house capacity.
  • Producing Sustain’s digital newsletter Digest, coordinating content including adding Sustain alliance members’ news on the Sustain website.
  • Regularly monitoring and analysing the impact of Sustain’s output both on the Sustain website and social media platforms to help us develop our content for greater impact.
  • Increasing traffic to Sustain’s websites, and working with Sustain’s Digital team to improve people’s experience on the sites.
  • Organising staff training to improve skills on e.g. supporter newsletters, social media, press and media work, including interviews and press releases.
  • Helping to ensure that all of Sustain’s communications better reflect the diversity of voices of those we are working with and for.
  • Coordinating production of videos and other audio and visual content for all Sustain projects for use on e.g. web pages, social media and events.

The Communications and Learning Coordinator will also:

  • Contribute to the mutually supportive culture of Sustain, among the staff team, and project participants.
  • Actively identify ways to support diverse groups through their work, in line with Sustain’s policy on improving diversity in the food movement, including supporting racial and socio-economic justice
  • Support fundraising activities to enhance, extend campaigns or develop new ones, contributing ideas and expertise to fundraising initiatives that may be of benefit to programme partners and cities.
  • Maintain excellent financial and other records, to help with accountability and open to public and funder scrutiny. The Coordinator will work with Sustain’s finance and management team to report to the funder, relevant project working parties and sub-groups, and the Sustain Council of Trustees (who ultimately also report to Sustain alliance members).

For now you would be expected to work at home, although we are allowing people to work in our offices where required and would expect you to be able to work from the office when things return to normal. The role will also involve up to two European trips with overnight stays, if and when lockdown restrictions are lifted. The post holder will also undertake any other responsibilities in connection with the work that may arise from time to time, which may in the future include line management responsibilities.

Personal specification

Sustain is seeking a creative and experienced communicator with fantastic team working skills who shares our commitment to improving the food system, and who has the following skills and experience:


  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills in fluent spoken and written English, with strong attention to detail and the ability to translate complex data and policies into accessible language and engaging stories and communication materials
  • Experience of getting media coverage and established contacts with media outlets/journalists/bloggers
  • Experience of running webinars and facilitating learning between a dispersed set of stakeholders
  • Experience of organising and running training sessions or workshops
  • Experience of producing digital content for web and social media
  • Knowledge of issues on healthy and sustainable food and farming
  • Excellent relationship building and team working skills, supporting achievement of shared goals
  • Ability to work independently, with high levels of self-motivation
  • Good project management, time management and organisational skills and the ability to work under pressure and to meet deadlines
  • Energy, enthusiasm, creativity and tenacity
  • Entitlement to work in the UK (Sustain is not able to assist with applications for work permits).
  • Availability to commence work promptly following the recruitment process
  • Availability to travel within Europe for meetings


  • Experience of working within a network or coalition
  • Digital campaigning and social networking skills
  • Good public speaking skills
  • Experience in the field of healthy and sustainable food, and action at a city level
  • Experience of working with local government and city/place-based approaches to sustainable food
  • Reasonable communication skills in one or more European language other than English

To apply for this position, please email [email protected] the following:

  • Maximum two-page CV and a maximum two-page covering letter (telling us about your experience and how this relates to the personal specification)
  • Complete an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form (if you wish). Please note all forms will be separated from the applications. 
  • As we are recruiting for several positions over this period, please add Communications & Learning Coordinator to the subject line of your covering email along with your name.

Application deadline is 10am Monday 7th December 2020 and successful applicants will be notified by 15th December 2020. Interviews for this position will take place virtually (via Zoom or MS Teams) on Monday 21st December 2020. Ideally we would like the successful candidate to start in February 2021.

The Sustain alliance is a registered charity (no 1018643) and a company limited by guarantee, which is registered in England and Wales (no 02673194). Registered office: The Green House, 244 – 254 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9DA

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