I am a community engagement specialist with a Masters Degree in Applied Social Research, plus over 20 years’ experience using insight to inform programme design, decision-making and evaluations.
Joining Forever Consulting in 2022 has taken me back to the roots of my career in consultancy when I worked for CLES Consulting and Ipsos Mori. In the intervening years, I was the Senior Engagement and Insight Manager at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and then the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
I’ve also worked as a Regeneration Manager in one of the most deprived areas of London, and even qualified as an Environmental Health Officer! Over the years I’ve specialised in policy areas such as crime and policing, the economy, environment, health, as well as work and skills.
I am well versed in designing engagement programmes that meet clients’ needs and are meaningful and enjoyable for participants. I am also skilled at employing a range of engagement approaches, and qualitative and quantitative research methods. My favourite projects are those that involve communities all the way from their design to their evaluation, and take a ‘doing with’ not ‘doing to’ approach.
Why I chose this career…
I’ve always been passionate about social justice, and while my career has followed different paths, a recurring theme has been to help people and try to make a positive difference.
I absolutely love the variety of projects that consultancy brings, as well as visiting places all around the country. I’m naturally curious (a nice way of saying really nosey!) and really enjoy talking to people about their experiences and views.
Another thing I love about my job is knowing I’m working on something useful for clients, whether that’s to provide an answer or solve a problem – there’s nothing worse than a ‘tick box’ exercise!
Places I love…
I do love travelling and am always planning my next adventure (Jordan!) and I have a particular fondness for Africa. I’ve been fortunate to travel around West Africa, and parts of East Africa, including climbing Kilimanjaro. I’ve not been to South Africa yet, but it’s high on my list! Closer to home, I love the green spaces across Greater Manchester, especially the Heaton Mersey Common on my doorstep, and the hills around Peel Tower.
The project I am most proud of…
Without a doubt it’s the research I carried out in rural villages in Tanzania. It aimed to understand the additional knowledge and skills local people needed to prevent HIV transmission in young people. It involved designing the engagement programme and materials – standard stuff – and then training volunteers to carry out the research in Swahili – not so standard! However, by observing the sessions I realised how much can be garnered by facial expression and body language alone, even if you don’t speak the language!
0161 214 0940