I work closely with colleagues at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) so that we can find ways to put evidence from our research into practice in our neighbourhoods. This includes building on our work on loneliness and dementia and finding ways for communities to become increasingly self-reliant and positive places for people throughout their lives.
Part of my job is to look after the Folk Hall and café in New Earswick. Working with its Manager, Jen Piggin, we are developing the Folk Hall as the hub of the village, where people of all ages can meet and take part in a wide range of activities. We are opening a branch of the Post Office at the Folk Hall in the January 2017 and are looking forward to welcoming the New Earswick branch of the public library, Explore, when it moves in during 2018.
I am also responsible for JRHT’s resident involvement – making sure that our residents are able to influence how we provide our housing services. I work with Sarah Charlton, our Resident Involvement Officer, to make sure that our residents have a variety of ways that they can contact us and get involved.
If you have an idea about how your neighbourhood could be made better for local people and want to start a project to make that happen, then I can help put you in touch with other people who might share your ideas. I can also help you with practical advice and support in getting your project off the ground, and if you are are already involved in a community group and feel that you need some help with developing it to the next stage.
I love the mix of practical work at JRHT and thinking about the evidence of our research at JRF. It’s the combination of being part of this two-sided organisation that drew me to this post. The aspect of the job I enjoy the most is meeting the most extraordinary range of people and working with them to bring their ideas to life. I am always amazed at the energy people have for the projects that matter most to them and how much difference these can make to the wider community.
I’ve had a varied work life – from starting out as a physiotherapist through to working with arts organisations and theatres; as the interface between the local council and its residents; being a lollipop lady and now, to working in a housing trust. All my work has been with people, often in the places where they live and (hopefully) helping them to lead as rich and fulfilled lives as they can.