Jim Lamb

Interview with Jim Lamb: July 1997

Jim Lamb was educated at Otago University and gained an honours degree in Philosophy. His first training and experience in Community work was as a Youth Community Worker in the Merseyside area of the United Kingdom. After returning from the United Kingdom he worked at a variety of positions gradually specialising in the area of Industrial Relations and workers issues.

In 1989 he became a member of the Christchurch Unemployed Rights Collective and has worked in beneficiary organisations since that time. He has very wide involvement and links within the Christchurch Community, particularly in the low income area.

Since 1992 he has been employed as co-ordinator of the Christchurch Peoples Resource Centre. This is a beneficiary driven support group for people on benefits and low incomes. The driving principle of the organisation is that the most effective solutions to problems are those coming from, and implemented by the group affected by the problem. He has developed processes by which low income groups can research, assess and find solutions to their issues. His main work in the last two years has been in developing a beneficiary run advocacy service concentrating on the areas of benefit entitlement.

This year his work has included bringing together a group consisting of community workers and people on low incomes to examine unmet needs in the area of access to credit and banking services. This group is now in the process of setting up a cooperative that will address these needs.

He is currently active in a wide range of community groups and projects.

He is:

  • A founder member and Director of Community Energy Action. (This is an organisation that has developed a number of very successful projects focussed on involving low income communities in energy efficiency activities.)
  • Committee member of the Christchurch Tenants Protection Society. (An organisation that works with Tenants both on individual tenancy problems and broader tenancy issues.)
  • Core group member of the Aotearoa Network of Unemployed and Beneficiaries.
  • President of the Canterbury Council of Civil Liberties.
  • A member of the Peoples Network. (This is a national grouping of activists from a variety of areas developing an action agenda based on the principles of economic and cultural sovereignty.)
  • A Director of PlaNet Canterbury. (This is the Canterbury sector of the national PlaNet network, an organistion consisting of a number of environmental and community groups which has established an electronic information sharing network with a focus of access to electronic media for community groups and those on low incomes. )

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