I live in Crich, a thriving community in rural Derbyshire. Home to the National Tramway Museum and once Florence Nightingale. It’s a place where people care about each other and come together for fitness, fun, friendship, music, arts, heritage, horticulture and much more.
There is a strong sense of belonging, where people go the extra mile to help each other (Crich Careline is a great example). The Neighbourhood Plan brought masses of people together to plan for growth which evoked plenty of passion and energy.
The ‘village’ status and vibe is however, being eroded as more and more houses are built, putting pressure on tired, old infrastructure such as small schools, sewage pipes, drainage, roads and services. This is causing practical upheaval on a daily basis where underground pipes are bursting, children rush school meals to accommodate the increased numbers and parking is almost impossible.
As an exercise enthusiast, I lead a ‘Family Mile’ fitness session on the park every Monday evening, support the Junior school with sports leadership, play guitar in the pub music group and I am currently campaigning for a better transport system for children travelling to Secondary School in a nearby village.
I am motivated to lead and contribute to village life as I see first-hand the benefits of neighbourliness and interdependence. I believe wholeheartedly in enabling others to be active, whether that’s children and teachers in school, older people at the luncheon club or adults who just want to jog around the park together and chat about their day. It makes us all feel good.
At work, I lead a Community Interest Company (Shift) which enables people across Derbyshire to lead active lives. We are currently working with staff at Chesterfield Royal Hospital to increase levels of activity at work and we co-ordinate a network of social jogging groups involving over 400 volunteers and thousands of joggers each week.
I am married with two children (Henry 12 and Tess 10) and have two energetic dogs who love chasing through the woods at sunrise most days. I enjoy cycling, surfing and walking and I recently learnt to sail.
I am looking forward to contributing to the Institute for Community Studies, particularly my own learning and insights of what makes communities strong and how to mobilise people around a shared purpose. I am keen to connect with people around this topic and help influence policy makers and commissioners to invest in and take time to understand what really matters to people – for the long term.