My start in Community Development began as the former Manager of Llangeinor Swimming Pool where I was invited to several area based regeneration programmes. Llangeinor later became a Communities First area, but more of that later.
With a background in health, sport and physical activity I was employed as the first Community Development Officer for St Mellons Healthy Living Project. It was the first project of its kind in Wales and focused on play, youth work, environment and nutrition – all delivered through a community development bottom up ethos.
My next role took me to the Vale of Glamorgan where I helped establish Creative Rural Communities, a Welsh government funded initiative to identify and support hidden pockets of deprivation in the rural Vale. My role targeted areas of social exclusion and I supported and managed several rural regeneration projects such as Major Music, Coed Hills and St Athan Gathering Place.
Relocation followed next as I moved to Devon due to family commitments and worked as a Community Development Officer for Devon & Cornwall Housing Association. Here I supported numerous Residents’ Associations with everything from summer fetes, funding applications, community consultation & representation, community clean ups, anti-social behaviour interventions and more. In addition, I was the main tenant liaison link between residents and the association.
Moving back to Cardiff I managed the Business Action on Homelessness programme in South Wales for Business in the Community as part of its Ready for Work programme. A significant number of the clients on the programme had been in prison and had substance misuse & alcohol dependency challenges in their life, experience I was able to build upon later in my career.
My last role before moving to Cardiff Met was as the Communities First Co-ordinator for Tylorstown Welfare Hall. This challenging role involved managing the organisation into a new outcome-focused delivery model through the introduction of nationally and regionally agreed key performance indicators. My role also involved managing an exit strategy to hand over delivery of the programme to the local authority, rather than by local independent charitable partners. In hindsight it could be argued that the winding up of the programme recently announced, can be traced back to this point.