Hi, I’m Emma and I’m a community builder for Shift. Read on to find out what my role is all about.
What does a typical day involve?
I’m based in Fairfield so I’m usually out and about in the community. That could be in schools, parks or the Fairfield Centre. Over the past few months I’ve been working really closely with the community and the local Council on a planning project for the park in Fairfield.
What brought you to Shift?
I did a sport development degree at university and was enthusiastic about engaging local people in sport and physical activity. I grew up in a remote village with nothing to do so working with people to develop opportunities where they live was exciting.
I started at Shift when it was still called Community Sports Trust, six years ago on the Village Games initiative. Then moved over to the current Active 4 Life initiative. Village Games was based around the 2012 Olympics. I remember the whole country having Olympic fever, so it was a really exciting time. As people were winning medals it was matching up with what people wanted to do in the High Peak. There was so much positivity. It was brilliant and it felt special to be a part of that.
The first few months of Active 4 Life were all about finding our feet, but we realised the approach we’d previously taken wasn’t going to work here. This is when we adopted the asset-based approach and have taken the time to listen and develop meaningful relationships within the community. The work is very much based upon trust and exploring what happens when people come together and connect in a positive, active way in their place.
What’s it like working in Fairfield?
Fairfield is quite a special and unique place. There’s a really strong sense of community. It’s already got its own team of residents who like helping people to help themselves which enables them to thrive and live better lives.
People are genuine and nice, always looking after their neighbours and are willing to share. We recently ran a cooking group and some of them made extra for their neighbours which was lovely. On Facebook people will share good news from each other and are always willing to volunteer a bit of time.
There are also lots of good people working alongside me in Fairfield who are great to connect with. I feel really proud to have been accepted into the community.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Every day is different, it’s never the same even though it’s the same place and the same people. It’s gentle, quiet and requires listening to and meeting lots of different people. The people in Fairfield are some of the nicest people and they are real go getters. Some of the things we’ve achieved together in a short space of time is amazing, it does make me feel very proud on reflection.
I feel lucky in the High Peak to work with a lot of fun and happy people, it makes work a very pleasant experience. At Shift we mix our roles up a bit and all help each other out so we can bounce ideas off each other. It’s all very creative and easy.
I also get to travel around a bit. A really important part of working at Shift is we practice what we preach. We have meetings in beautiful locations around Derbyshire and have lots of walking meetings which are really productive. Being together outdoors in the natural environment makes us all much more enthusiastic.
In an ideal world what does the future look like?
A busy and well-connected place where people are naturally active as part of their everyday life.
What’s your favourite hobby?
I play netball a couple of times a week with my very good friends and I’m the captain of the team. I play WA now because my legs are too old to play C. We are also very social together and really enjoy doing an escape room against our partners, which is always very competitive. We recently did the Crystal Maze in Manchester which was amazing.
What’s your favourite place?
Formby national park – I love the sand dunes and walking on the beach with my three dogs. It’s amazing, so peaceful and quiet. You can walk for miles when the tide is out, it’s the most perfect place.
What’s your favourite quote?
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”, Oscar Wilde
If your colleagues could describe you in a few words what would they say?
A good friend who puts a warm and positive energy into everything I do.