Story of my life journey so far

Born February 1951, Leicester UK. Mum and Dad were tenant farmers until we moved to Hinckley at age 4/5; eldest of 4 children. Spent entire childhood observing and learning about nature. In infant school started learning the violin... still learning. In secondary school felt strong and enduring pull towards addressing the damage we are doing to the natural world. First degree: Ecology.

Decade of 1970's

Began Youth & Community Work career in area of creative arts development. At same time, s/employed graphic designer and magazine publisher; Midland Star and assistant/editor New Humanity magazine. First contact with The Findhorn Foundation.

Decade of 1980's

Completed teaching qualification, travelled India and moved to Birmingham, UK. Married and helped raise family. Deputy Co-ordinator of South Aston Community Project; a large and successful resident-led project on a social housing estate. For Birmingham City Council, managed an Arts budget plus chaired 1-day conference for UK Local Authorities on local currency schemes. With Leicester City Council Dept of Community Economic Development worked as independent consultant with local residents and professionals to further develop a city wide local currency scheme, successfully fundraised (National Lottery) for 3 year jointly managed post, expenses and office space, plus co-ordinated bid to ERDF.

Decade of 1990's

With Makbul Choudhrey, established South Birmingham Community Television, in partnership with Birmingham City Council and South Birmingham College. Founded Forman's Road Residents Association in our beautiful neighbourhood of Sparkhill. Worked with neighbours, residents and local schools to establish an annual volunteer clean-up of the River Cole Conservation Scheme.

Decade of 2000's

Completed masters degree at Birmingham University. Thesis theme: to model idea that the values and principles of the "caring professions" are no longer compatible with the culture, working practices, resource depletion and management style of their employers; large government (local & national) bureaucracies. Moved to High Peak, worked as LA social worker with elderly and disabled adults.

Decade of 2010's

Worked at Manchester University (Access Summit) as Study Coach with students in receipt of the Disabled Student Allowance. Learned that a major influence to our human experience and sense of well-being is the "story in the mind" that we use to guide our life. Following health issues, relationship ending, involuntary redundancy and housing crisis am now resident on the Ollersett estate in New Mills. Trained and qualified for Life Coaching practice.

Current

Participating in the following groups (click pictures for website links).

Writing

"Between Worlds": interactive, graphical, online magazine, 40 pages, considers the perspective that our current society, our collective and individual lifestyles, the expression of a blueprint established during The Industrial Revolution (1730-50 approx), has to urgently change. That transformation is now taking place as the groupings for the new world are appearing. Click image for link.

"The Politics of Community Development"; written in response to a formal approach to our local government body currently responsible for litter collection. Some local residents wished to operate, fund and manage a network of public litter bins; a service currently in decline in my home community. Click image for link

Other

Community

In an era of escalating cutbacks and growing dysfunction in all public services, at a time when the reality of global climate change demands urgent, co-ordinated and widespread transformation of our individual and collective lifestyles, the single most effective, most creative and cost effective remedy to address this has been consistently overlooked; the reservoir of energy, aspiration, experience and skills of The Community itself. Countless people of goodwill everywhere feel distressed and disempowered by a felt inability to create needed change in themselves, their community and the environment. Yet by a demonstrated willingness of the statutory sector to engage with and support a process of grassroots community self-help, new models of regenerative development can be co-created, for the benefit of all parties.

I am currently working to grow the following projects.

Peak Road Bungalows Community Association

To respond to issues of collective concern in this neighbourhood, some residents have pursued a strategy of divisiveness; blaming and spreading false malicious rumours about each other, leading to victimisation, harassment and death threats. There is another way. READ MORE.

High Peak Community Currency Scheme

An increasing number of communities worldwide are identifying local currency schemes as a way of:-

  • Regenerating the local economy
  • Keeping wealth-creation local, rather than filtering out to distant, large and multi-national corporations
  • Establishing new models of economic activity based on ethical principles and individual skills, resources and aptitudes

READ MORE

Peak Road Bungalows Community Association

A tried and tested method for establishing a successful community or residents association uses the approach and techniques of Planning for Real; supporting communities to bring about change and shape their neighbourhood. Using this approach, residents are discussing together a range of constructive initiatives, that require dialogue and partnership with our landlord (High Peak Borough Council). None of these require funding support from the Council, rather will save and protect valuable resources.

  • Landscaping and self-maintenance of communal areas. This will improve the quality of life for all, plus save the Council money.
  • Reorgansiation of existing car-parking area to provide 2 more spaces.
  • Neighbourhood renewable power generation scheme and electric vehicle charging point (Funding source and technical support identified plus initial dialogue).
  • Dementia support, training and establishment of direct payment care scheme.
  • Register of 1st aiders plus equipment store.

High Peak Community Currency Scheme

Successful UK local currency schemes include the Bristol Pound, the Brixton Pound and the Totnes Pound. All of these schemes use an electronic platform, Cyclos. Cyclos is completely user-definable and is available in a free version. Transactions can take place either by a physical token of exchange, or else by a smartphone app. A demonstration of how the system works is available HERE.

Contact

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