Tower Hamlets Resident and Health Trainer
Q: Please tell me about yourself.
A: After 14 years working on the commercial side of the National Media I wanted to do work that had particular value to me and so I set up a Social Enterprise. Running my own business allowed me to support myself with targeted health management for a condition I had developed. My business was a community focused accredited training and employment agency. I worked in partnership with employers, social agencies and educational institutes to support East London community members into sustainable employment and financial independence. We worked with community members identifying needs incorporating, exercise singing, drumming, conversation, self help workshops, arts & crafts and developed with women's support groups. After 23 years of successful delivery I closed my business and entered a stage of reflection and revision. How could I continue to work, look after myself and my health and continue to be relevant in an ever changing world? I decided to study Health Fitness & Diet formally to underpin my own knowledge with accredited qualifications and to broaden my perspective. With my experience of 'fit for me' health Management, I have an empathetic understanding of functional limitations and fitness barriers. I also have 25 years experience with the working in communities, funding & business management. With this in mind I formed two agencies. Intelligent Age Management - Functional fitness services for community agencies. Designed to prepare people who are not used to formal exercise to prepare to exercise safely and find their preferred exercise methods. It is delivered via group workshop, attendees are involved in the development of their fitness programme and are fit assessed prior to engaging. A mindful body approach with silent time, discussion and laughter practice is utilised to strengthen mental emotional and physical well-being. The service is available with all administrative evidence completed to provide a 'whole' service to the community agencies. Small Business Consultancy - Affordable low and no cost advice guidance and services for small & community focused business. We are a group of seasoned senior executives with lived life experience in senior and front line management having founded and ran Social enterprise, Business & Charities. Our knowledge is extensive as is our experience. We are formed to 'pass along' our knowledge and skills appropriately.
Q: What are your aspirations and challenges?
A: I aspire to continue to be relevant. Make good use of my life experience, maintain involvement, be engaged, interested and have value. I am in an interesting phase of my life and am learning how to evolve with it. I want to work with those who may feel that fitness is somehow unattainable, to provide information that changes that perception. Exercise - balanced movement, flexibility and stability are key to mental health, stronger longer & accessible daily living. Also, I have the skills to facilitate those who wish to advance and secure a fitness career which would be an excellent progression for interested individuals. Challenges come in many forms - I constantly need to manage my own health, it presents me with continual learning opportunities and reminders that we are always evolving and that adaptations constantly need to be made. Each person brings with them a lesson, this is challenging and motivating as I am solution orientated. The small business consultancy offers different challenges but as a team we usually have the answer between us. This is an interesting and rewarding way to support local business.
Q: What do you like about living in Tower Hamlets?
A: Tower Hamlets has so much history. Its a visual delight with beautiful architecture, old & new. River walks and secret green spots. I adore the little gardens dotted about and community veg growing. The wild life is extensive and surprising. We are a richly diverse community and all of us gently coated with that East End 'thing'. I never understand when politicians or presenters say 'the ordinary people' - no ordinary people in Tower Hamlets, only extraordinary people, lives lived, personal histories and battles that amaze and inspire me.
Q: What do you dislike about living in Tower Hamlets?
A: My dislikes change over time as do my likes. In 1989 it was impossible to get a taxi to come here and the newly built DLR had a very restrictive service. Now we have river boats Elizabeth line buses tubes overheads and can nip anywhere. It's superb.
Q: What changes would you like to see in Tower Hamlets?
A: I have witnessed uncountable changes in Tower Hamlets, the population has grown and become even more diverse and our extraordinary community members (on the whole) make it work. I think we should celebrate this. Recognition of community members - our essential workers. Those that keep us ticking along. A Tower Hamlets award for extraordinary people, remembering that for many of our community members; the journey to normal social achievements is often much longer, fraught with challenges and unsupported by what most consider as 'social norms'. And remembering that the person emptying our rubbish is essential to our health and well-being. We need women's centres. Places of commune refuge and respite and respect. Support the matriarch and you will automatically nourish the whole community.
Q: Do you have a message to the women in Tower Hamlets?
A: I have met women who have had some of the most horrific experiences in life. Witnessed their resilience and ability to overcome adversity for the sake of others, without recognition, reward or applause. Rise up Ladies - Respect to you.
Q: And do you have a message to the council in Tower Hamlets?
A: We have a wealth of resources via our community members. Encourage social engagement and contribution. Don't tick box people out of engagement, make space for those who think differently.