When I was asked to write a blog post to introduce myself, I felt a good starting point would be when I crossed the bridge and came to live in Wales (second time round) about 15 years ago. Originally from England I now view Wales as home and the turning point was when I started to support the Welsh Rugby team during the six nations!
During this time I have had a varied career, first as the Development Officer / Team leader for the Black Environment Network followed by four years working as an independent consultant. This period included working with Learning through Landscapes and supporting teachers to prepare for the new Foundation Phase, a curriculum that promotes learning through play in the outdoors for 3 – 7 year olds. This work struck a particular chord as my own son was very young at the time. I saw that if you communicated with young children using appropriate participatory techniques they were more than able to express their views about their environment and what they would like to be able to do outdoors.
A contrasting piece of work was with the Cymru Equality and Diversity Consortium when I managed community consultations to inform Black and Minority Ethnic Housing Strategies that local authorities were developing.
The thread that links this work is the importance of effective engagement and to ensure citizens of Wales regardless of age or ethnicity have a say in the design, development and delivery of services that affect them.
Continuing the theme of public engagement, working in partnership both internally and with external partners has been a key element of my most recent role as Education Advisor for Natural Resources Wales. Earlier this year I attended the Accredited Effective Partnership Working in the Environment Sector Course run by Participation Cymru. It was the first time the course was run with the environment sector and it is encouraging to see a public sector organisation promoting this vital area of work.
A few months later I saw the job advert for the Training and Development Officer post and… here I am! I have been given a warm welcome and I look forward to being part of the team and working with public and third sector organisations to support the development of public engagement.
You can contact me or any member of Participation Cymru team by clicking here