The story of how I didn't get this job I applied for, yet was invited for interview for the team co-ordinator job, for which I came "a close second" out of the 5 candidates, is worth telling, for it tells of the struggle within an organisation such as the Hastings Trust between, on the one-hand, delivering it's vision, mission and aims, and on the other, working with difference in the most creative way?
My application form:
My application form:
Reasons for applying for this post:
Please include the reasons you are applying for this post and details of skills and experience (including unwaged) which you believe make you suitable for this post. Please refer to the Person Specification as appropriate. You may extend this section by no more than two sides of A 4 (no smaller than 10 point). Do not attach CV’s, examples of your work or any further supporting information: they will not be used to assess your application
I am keen to join in the team-building involved in community development under the name 'Neighbourhood Enablers'. Engaging more people in active citizenship, serving their well-being and the well-being of the community is exciting and valuable work. These are values for which I stand and the Community Capacity Builder post has a remit which I can deliver, with my skills, knowledge and willingness to learn.
Working in Cambridge
Having graduated in Social Policy & Administration with a first class degree and continuing as a Masters Graduate in Criminology, as a researcher in this field following 1200 'offenders' and their Probation Service supervision processes, I developed my report-writing skills, my accuracy & my deep interest in building stronger and safer communities. At the same time I became a volunteer community mediator, working on neighbour disputes.
Working in Bristol
The development of Community Mediation, including communication between 'victims' and 'offenders' became my main professional occupation and, having moved from Cambridge, I also found some time to volunteer with local mediation services in areas of greater deprivation, working in particular, in Bristol with homes for “Looked After Children” and the courts.
I see my Community Mediation work as Community Development experience, for it is about creating ways for people to develop their own action plans to improve their lives. The mediation process ideally generates individual capability and collective capacity to deal with future difficulties.
As “Head of Restorative Justice” for the national charity for Community Mediation for 5 years, I developed my capacity to support volunteers, trainers and influence national policy making and practice. As an example of a small grant administration, I won a tender to deliver the Restorative Justice Assessment Profile Pack to the Youth Justice Board. This £10,000 contract required delivery of a sophisticated product (based on research, interviews, focus-groups and piloting with a turn-around of 8 weeks), which I co-ordinated through a team of 8 people, a practitioner conference, telephone interviews and flexibility of my working hours. The end result was hailed by the chair of the Youth Justice Board, Sir Charles Pollard as “A major achievement, with international implications” (quoted also in the the Mediation UK Annual Report).
My co-ordinating a team of trainers in 'restorative justice' and being pro-active in the co-development of best practice standards for restorative justice and subsequent National Occupational Standards; Ied to an invitation to 10, Downing St to be “thanked for my work on behalf of victims of crime”.
When Mediation UK lost government funding and folded, I set up a company (Mediation Support Ltd) to enable annual national practitioner conferences (which I had arranged for 5 years) to continue and to provide tailored support to community mediation services. I was contracted-in to provide supervision of staff and volunteer mediators and to fund-raise as well as to further develop case-management tools. I also pursued an interest in providing internet and telephone support for people in conflict/dispute. In time, I took over from my accountant the accountancy tasks associated with running a small business, and I have a good level of numeracy.
In addition to running the Mediation Support Ltd company, when the opportunity came to take a co-ordinator post (18 hours a week) within HMP Bristol on a multi-partner project, I experienced the agendas that pull partner agencies in different directions and learned more of what successful partnership looks like in a working environment of some difficulty.
I stepped into more pioneering internet-related project work (as recognised by eg Forum for the Future) which developed new ways of trust-building within communities under the name freelender.org.
Working in London (and India)
Having many friends involved in work that seeks to empower the “downtrodden”caste (Dalit) in India,
I chose to take an opportunity in London to enhance my rapport-building and recruiting skills, in a post as a “two-step” fund-raiser; the approach being to make good human connection on the first (cold) call and lend an inspiring booklet for householders to read before returning a few days later to answer questions and sign-up new supporters. Visiting the charity projects in India (run mostly by those from the Dalit caste) gave me a wider-perspective on what community empowerment looks-like in impoverished communities.
Working in St Leonards
My move to St Leonards to get involved in more local community development work coincided with the launch of a new (inter)national movement focussing on well-being, namely Action for Happiness. I chose to launch “Hastings & St Leonards Action for Happiness” as the first local group in the UK. The experience of translating ideas into local actions is something that I hope will be of value in “developing ideas into 'neighbourhood action challenge' activities”. The newly formed group (recruited by flyers, internet and word-of mouth) got straight into meeting the challenge of a short lead-in time to a week of free and wide-ranging activities, called “A Good Week”. Here I co-ordinated a wide-ranging week of events including complementary therapies, films & discussions at a community centre & activities at St Leonards Warrior Square station. A subsequent two-day event planned required up to £6,000 funding (£300 each for 20 participants), or a creative solution. By trading hours of my social media skills for an equal number of hours from the international trainer in the “Dialogue Road Map”, 20 participants were enabled to attend on the basis that they would put an equivalent number of hours into the community or into supporting the event (eg catering). This has been the start of a “timebanking” initiative that could be developed further. A week later the local group hosted a filmed visit from the national director of Action for Happiness in a gathering which I facilitated in a way that impressed viewers as inclusive and productive - “a model of its kind.”
Based for the last 8 months within a local community centre has also built wider connections with local residents and provided an education about local issues and needs. The issues that I have been engaged in by members of the local community include landlord maintenance of damp properties, noisy neighbours, mess on the streets, and a sense of dis-empowerment.
In taking a 10 week course on Community Development, studying the National Occupational Standards for Community Development Work & reflecting on my own community development practice one learning point has been about recognising the necessary balance between the steps to getting the tasks done and the dynamics of the relationship that help the people involved to do the tasks: encouraging, asking, resolving, sharing responsibility, developing the confidence and developing the skills of all members. I also recognise how privileged I am to have had all the experience and training in participating/leading meetings that I have had. It is crucial to enable skills development amongst participants who will have had very different learning opportunities and experience of groups and of others. People's experience of deprivation also varies greatly in terms of their environment, their personal connections, health, prospects, experience of (in)tolerance, understanding & support.
In studying the National Occupational Standards for Community Development Work & reflecting on my own community development practice I have learned of the tension between community engagement and community development and how the occupational standards numbers are all underpinned by equality and anti-discrimination, social justice, collective action, community empowerment and working and learning together.
I have renewed confidence from research and experience that connecting with others, learning and volunteering contribute to well-being, and that people flourish with care, respect and dignity.
I am committed to equal opportunities and I seek to be sensitive to different abilities and special needs whilst upholding anti-discriminatory practice.
I have excellent numeracy and literacy skills, am proficient at administration of (and accounting for) funds, as well as producing monitoring & evaluation reports. Together with 15 years of providing mediation services on a voluntary or paid basis, in all I have excellent organisational, negotiation and problem-solving skills. I am available to work flexible hours, can work effectively on my own initiative, enjoy working with groups and meetings at all levels, have a good knowledge of local issues & needs and am interested in learning and developing further knowledge and skills as a team-player in Community Development Work.
I am proficient at working with Microsoft Excel, Access, Powerpoint, Outlook & Word, and I have throughout my career been active in using computing technology innovatively, being part of a team that won the 2010 “Social Innovation Camp” award for the best idea for an app to reduce youth offending.
I hold a full, clean driving licence, which I got 6 years ago.
I value the mission of the Hastings Trust in creating effective partnerships within the local community and see the contribution I hope to make as a Community Capacity Builder as serving the well-being & sustainability of the Trust's work and directly serving local regeneration. With the vision in place, I would like the opportunity to support the effective development of Skills, Incentives, Resources and an Action Plan. I'm keen on policies which build clarity and harmonisation and I greatly look forward to the possibility of engaging with the Neighbourhood Enablers team. Personally, I am dedicated to ongoing learning about effective communication, building relationships, developing self-responsibility and options, and reviewing progress.
Name of school /college/ university/training provided
Oct 2011 to Dec 2011
Sep 1996 to Jun1997
Sept 1991-June 1995
Sept 1980-June 1984
(10 week course)
(Staff Support Training)
Masters Degree (M.Phil)
(First Class Honours)
A levels: Grades A, B & D
Community Development and Community Engagement
Computer software programs: Microsoft Word, Excel & Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS)
Social Policy & Administration
English, Geography & History
Please list your most recent employment first and include employment training, voluntary and unwaged work where appropriate
|Position & Responsibilities||From - To:||Final salary/Reason for leaving||Name and Address of Employer|
CEO, Mediation Support Ltd. Communication & Community Development work. Support local residents, co-ordinating collaborative structures & developing funding bids to undertake work which brings greater connection between householders in St Leonards, eg through “time-banking” of skills & the development of dialogue that values all.
Door to Door fund-raiser. Role: To successfully recruit new regular donors in London for a charity working in India and to also support others in the community team to do so. Responsibilities: To fundraise effectively; participate in up to five 2-3 hour training sessions per week, accurately keep records, to further develop and describe Karuna’s model of fundraising &
support other Karuna fundraising efforts as required.
Restorative Justice Co-ordinator, HMP Bristol. (18hrs/week) The role was:
1) to support the prison as a place of repairing the harm that crimes have caused- involving victims and the community.
2) to produce a full evaluation:- effectiveness of this project in numbers etc & what it means to the individuals to be engaged in repairing harm and moving on.
Head of Restorative Justice, Mediation UK: A networking & coordinating role within (& representing) the community & voluntary sector. Within this national charity role, I made presentations to government ministers, generated the resources to launch successful projects, led a team of trainers and a volunteer policy committee, led in quality assurance, and published books which have set new standards and shared practitioner experiences.
Research Assistant/Associate: Developing research design, data collection and interviewing offenders/ probation officers. Specialising in reconviction data and prediction, my most influential work exposed significant gaps in the Police National Computer system (by comparison to Court Records).
From 2006 (often part-time; currently full-time)
September 2010 to April 2011
September2007 to June 2008
October 2001 to June 2006
£6K + accom & travel to the Indian projects. I moved to St Leonards to engage more with local community development issues.
£24K pro-rata for 18hrs/week. I left to work on other projects
£29K. / End of government funding for the charity led to redundancy.
Approx £16K. I left to work at Mediation UK, which enabled me to participate in more hands-on development work.
Mediation Support Ltd,
Southwater Area Community Centre, 1-2 Stainsby Street,
St Leonards, TN37 6LA..
The Karuna Trust,
72, Holloway Rd,
London N7 8JG
Bristol, BS5 0HE
& based at HMP Bristol
Bristol, BS1 4BS
The Institute of Criminology,
University of Cambridge,Cambridge