I’ve been a committed social activist since I was 16, and all my adult life I’ve been working – paid and voluntary – with communities in London, the Southeast and the Southwest of England. I have worked with young people and adults in all sorts of settings, including: researching for and supporting development and relief projects in Southeast Asia and South America; providing information and support for leukaemia bone marrow donors across the UK; working with people at risk of becoming homeless; providing information and guidance to young people, and community development and case work with minority ethnic groups.
The breadth and depth of experience I’ve gained from this work equips me with the skills, knowledge and energy I need to work with enthusiasm and fresh thinking.
My strengths are in engaging with individuals and groups, listening and facilitating their becoming informed and empowered to function well and achieve their goals in their work or their projects or their life.
I think I’ll always do this kind of work, and I hope to work alongside a steadily growing and increasingly diverse group of people. I am motivated at the prospect of playing a part in the continuing development of Zebra Collective towards its full potential.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank
Most of my working life has been spent teaching English, Communication, Media and Film Studies to young adults in FE Colleges. I have loved having the opportunity to work with people to achieve their potential and beyond, and hope to continue that in my work with Zebra.
In between the official work I have been part of a co-operative houseboat community, trade union branch chair, founder of a pressure group and chair of a statutory watchdog authority, the Community Health Council. I believe that good things happen when people get involved in the way their lives are organised and controlled, and have always acted on that belief.
My work with Zebra allows me to use my teaching expertise in a role which emphasises people getting involved.
I have worked all my life in my home town, Plymouth, in multifarious community work and social care settings: with people with learning disabilities, people using mental health services, young people in care, in youth clubs, with people with alcohol or drug issues, and with inner-city communities facing big challenges. In 2011 I took up a very different role, working in Nepal for 3 months supervising the youth exchange programme under Zebra’s contract with Global Xchange, before returning to Plymouth in January 2012 to oversee the 2nd phase of this programme.
Through all this I have developed a good overview of the scene and a very useful network. In the years up to 2002, observing what worked well and not so well, I began to imagine co-creating an organisation driven by strong values of social justice and a commitment to working to a high standard. The thinking came real with Zebra: I was a co-founder and, ten years on, working in and growing this workers’ co-operative continues a fulfilling challenge, a job I feel like doing however tough. My work experiences – as a hands-on practitioner, a counsellor, a manager, and a board chair – have fostered my abilities as a group facilitator and trainer.
I lead on Zebra’s solution-focused communication work.
“He said that most men were in their lives like the carpenter whose work went so slowly for the dullness of his tools that he had not time to sharpen them.” Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
I am Zebra’s Organisational Co-ordinator. I have over 35 years of experience in this kind of job working in, banks and colleges in Customer Services and Co-ordinators roles, whilst successfully building a family business.
I am born and bred in Plymouth, and sometimes it feels I am either related to or friends with the whole of the city. I went to Notre Dame and have worked in the City ever since.
I’m a keen fundraiser albeit on a small scale, and have taken part in various sponsored events. Recently I organised a ‘fun’ quiz night and meal in a local restaurant with the funds raised (£1100.00) going towards the Birch Ward Trust Fund at Derriford Hospital for much needed renovation of the ward, where cancers of the blood and lymph system are treated.
I have been brought up to believe that everyone is equal, and that is something that has been one of my underlying values throughout my life. Zebra’s values of equality and participation and its drive to push these forward make this an exciting place to work and one which I’m sure I will have a long and happy association with.
“Coming generations will learn equality from poverty………………” Kahlil Gibran
Since completing my Postgraduate Diploma in Youth and Community Work I have spent the past 16 years working in Plymouth within the community and voluntary sector at a grassroots and strategic decision-making level.
My experience of working with local communities has shaped my belief that a community development approach builds the capacity of individuals and groups and turns ‘talk’ into ‘positive action’. I am passionate about community engagement processes that enable local people to influence and shape public services that affect their lives and neighbourhoods.
I have a special interest in staff and volunteer support and supervision methods resulting in the development of Zebra Collective’s Solution Focused Management course. I am an experienced facilitator and enjoy focusing on team building, change management and organisational health checks/evaluation.
To Zebra I bring my experience, passion and values for working alongside people and the ability to listen and reflect on my own practice.