This is the building I first came to in 1996, sensed something I wanted to be part of, and never really left. The building that gives the Earth’s Birmingham-based friends their permanent home, so everyone knows where to find us.

This building enables us to meet every week, so we don’t forget what matters between meetings. This building brings us together – as friends, as pub chatters, as activists and sometimes as life partners. This is the building where we can get our letters delivered by cycle courier, have brilliantly unexpected conversations while the kettle boils, share lovely meals, get our bikes fixed and go to the city’s best activist meetings.

This building has seen the self-led training-up of countless experts in environmental fields, and seeded all manner of green enterprises. Its alumni turn up everywhere. In this building I fell in love over regional planning, environmental justice and Earl Grey.

This is the building where I learnt all the diplomacy I don’t always practice, honed my brutal chairing skills, and created a role that has given 8 people a stepping stone to their career.

On this building’s old warehouse floorboards are painted the last 17 years’ campaign slogans, leached through the banner fabric, and are stacked piles of campaign materials no-one can bear to throw out. This building has sent thousands of willing volunteers off to Glastonbury and welcomed them home mud and all. This is the building where people offer each other help when they know things are hard, and is so much more than a building. This building’s Victorian brickwork and holey roof shelter so much that is brilliant, help so much change to happen, and will soon be stronger, greener and better.

By Karen Leach