I’ve been involved with Civil Service Local projects for 5 years now, and it’s been really rewarding. I started off doing the apprenticeships, on the very first pilot for them. I got a lot out of that, including a level-5 qualification in leadership and management.
Then I felt I needed to give a little back to Civil Service Local, because they’d given a lot to me, so I went back and got involved in a number of projects over the years.
I’ve done a couple of prison projects, one as a team member at Kirkham, then I moved on to managing one, the Hindley youth offenders’ project. After that, I took over the vulnerable citizens projects, which started working with the Olive Branch in Lancaster to create healthy eating ideas, Blackpool Food Network to develop their volunteers’ soft skills and has since expanded to include Oak Tree House, which supports homeless citizens.
Ultimately, with all these projects, it’s leading to the point where citizens will be able to make the right choices, live independently and get jobs for themselves, and have the sort of life most of us would take for granted.
What keeps bringing me back? It’s doing things differently. CS Local gives you a framework to operate within but you have the chance to shape and develop what is delivered to citizens. I love to be able to innovate when there’s no set procedure to follow, and Civil Service Local gives me the opportunity to be different, to do things differently and get different experiences, and to work with people from other government departments.
It’s also about developing a different set of skills and a breadth of capability in terms of mentoring and coaching people. And it’s about that warm feeling, giving something back, and doing something for other people for no other reason than because you can.
There’s been a lot of changes, and they’re good to see. There were very few of us at the beginning, but this group of committed people has now developed into this huge network of people across the North West who are all linked in and involved with Civil Service Local, contributing to making these things a success.
I think we’re really starting to give back now in the areas of greatest need and make a difference where it counts – supporting society’s most vulnerable in the towns and cities where we all live and work .
It’s been a really positive journey - and long may it continue!