A bit about me. I’m a 42-year-old passionate individual whose heartbeat is helping others and assisting them achieve their dreams albeit an agoraphobic getting on a bus or someone on benefits starting up their own business.  I see everyone as an equal and believe we all have natural gifts and talents which sometimes lie dormant and need encouraging out of an individual.

I haven’t always been this way my past was extremely difficult I have a background of abuse and traumatic events, I grew up in terrible conditions with no encouragement or stability.  This manifested later in life with life changing mental illness, I was reliant on organisations and charities along with prescription drugs to keep me in a place of existence.  I didn’t value life and never believed I could achieve anything.  My mindset was negative, and I saw everyone and thing as against me.

Being a single parent of two girls also came with its challenges, finances were non-existent, being a mum with no positive role model was near to impossible, but I had love for my children and always wanted them to have the best I could give them.  I would always get involved in education and groups where I could learn more about being a grown up and more importantly a mother!

As my children began to grow I knew I needed to discover who I was and what my purpose here was too.  All I desired was to help others, but I couldn’t do that until I’d dealt with my own issues first.  This was an extremely painful process that took years.  In this process I saw so many gaps in the system, organisations, and especially in community.  There was no consistency which was so detrimental to my recovery.

As I started to trust a little more I started to grow and have self-belief and compassion for myself, my mindset was changing from negative to positive and I started to help out in areas like homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and generally helping others by being an example and using my life to show that all things are possible for those that believe.

I gave my time for many years through volunteering and just being an advocate in my local area, I’d attend community meetings and would network with people from politicians to street cleaners, I helped people that were qualified in their field achieve their dreams and so many wanted me on their team but I recognised that setting up the businesses and helping people get to their goals and dreams was when I needed to move on.  People would draw to me because I never see anything as impossible and if a person is passionate enough about something they can achieve it.  I’m living proof.

One thing I did discover about myself through these processes is that I absolutely hated working a ‘normal job’, it somehow feels to me like an imprisonment and being dictated to and being subjected to rules and regulations I didn’t necessarily agree to be my idea of hell.  I also needed to sustain a life for myself as I’m already playing ‘catch up’ as I restarted my life in my mid-thirties!

In June this year I was at a community meeting where I heard about a trainee community organising opportunity.  As I heard a little more I turned around to my friend and said ” this is what I’m already doing, but it’s a paid role you get trained, and achieve a recognised qualification, I want this job”!  I spoke with Penny and she advised me to apply.  I wrote my heart on an email, sent my CV in and within a few days I was offered an interview and given the job.  It was all so amazing, and all fell into place.

The challenge for me was learning a new way, as I would do too much for others and community organising is about giving more power to the people and taking a back seat whilst they do it (in a nut shell).  I was frustrated and never thought I would totally understand their new concept that I had found.  Finally, after completing the introduction into community organising the light came on and all the pieces of the puzzle started to fit.  I got it, and I loved it even more.  I’m encouraging anyone who wants a successful and happy community to do this course, it will change lives and communities if used effectively.

The area I’m commissioned to work in is a place which is dear to me, I have been part of for many years and I know wholeheartedly that positive change will continue to happen in and around this community.  It’s my desire to see the community take complete ownership of such a beautiful green space and park.  To grow individually and collectively.  It will happen!!