Unlocking local potential
After 30 plus years in law enforcement both locally and nationally I retired, or I vaguely
recall I did. I am presently working in the field of governance, compliance and fraud
investigation in a private capacity. For the past ten years I have been able to connect more
closely with my community in Totnes where I live and try to make contribution to our
wonderful town. I am a trained Adviser for the Citizens Advice South Hams, this has enabled
me to better understand the real challenges that people in our community have to cope
with, ranging from housing conditions and need, managing on low incomes, employment
issues and health matters especially living with disabilities. I have also engaged with groups
in our community addressing issues of the street and homeless persons and working
towards better support and provision for our youth community. I have supported at our
Totnes Connection Hub providing advice and support through the food bank, in support
clients who are homeless or ‘outside’ of the system. Also, in the past year I have been
working with others to re-establish support for those affected by domestic abuse and
violence in our community, we are now providing a range of help including one to one and
I joined Totnes Community Development Society as a Member in 2016 as the Atmos
referendum was taking shape. This event opened my mind to the concept of the community
taking control of development for the benefit of the community. Seeking to facilitate
provision of what a community really wants and the generation of income from such
projects being kept in the community. I believe in ‘putting in’ and enjoyed joining other
TCDS Members in the Golden Iris project (Elmhirst site) where we brought that building
back into temporary use for the benefit of the town. I have a real connection to the Mansion
in Fore Street and want to see the planned project to bring it back into life for our
community delivered. When recently invited to join the Directors of TCDS my acceptance
was without hesitation as I feel we as a community need a society that is more than just
business, society for me is about its people. Totnes is a rich cultural community and needs
to bring into being spaces for our cultures to breathe.
I am co-founder of both Transition Town Totnes and Transition Network, which supports, networks and trains Transition groups in over 50 countries. I write, blog and speak widely about the Transition movement. I am an Ashoka Fellow, and one of the founders of the award-winning social enterprise New Lion Brewery in Totnes, which in 2019 became 100% community owned thanks to 270 community investors.
I am author of ‘The Transition Handbook’, ‘The Power of Just Doing Stuff’,and most recently, ‘From What If to What Next’. I was awarded a PhD by the University of Plymouth in 2010, and more recently Honorary Doctorates by the University of the West of England and the University of Namur. In 2012 I was voted one of the Independent’s top 100 environmentalists and one of ‘Britain’s 50 New Radicals’.I have appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Four Thought’ and on ‘A Good Read’, in the French film phenomenon ‘Demain’ (‘Tomorrow’), and spoken at TED Global once, and at 3 TEDx events. I host the podcast series ‘From What If to What Next’.
I am a freelance consultant, working with communities as an adviser for the NEF/Co-ops UK Community Economic Development Programme. Beginning my career in Bradford, as one of three locations in the UK leading the DoE Extended Schools Pilot, my background is in community led development including co-production around health and social care, the establishment of community and social enterprises, relationship building across three tiers of local government, regeneration and asset transfer and management.