Pick of the Month – December 2023
12 December 2023 | By Lucy Pratt
To round off the year, we've got four more picks to share with you – from sports and wellness to community arts and carnival! Each individual is doing exemplary work in their area, leading their organisation with evident commitment and interest. Read the full piece to hear more about their experience, as well as some brilliant advice for emerging and/or prospective leaders!
Trustee of the Month – Dain Lewis, The Walker Cricket Ground Trust
Dain Lewis is a Trustee and Chair of The Walker Cricket Ground Trust. The Walker Cricket Ground Trust is a multi-sports ground and registered charity whose purpose is to provide sporting facilities to the people of Southgate, North London. It aims to be open for all to enjoy the beautiful grounds and relaxing environment located in the busy hub of London – to both existing members and new users alike.
Dain explains what motivates him as a trustee:
“My role as a Trustee and Chair is not just an honour but a profound responsibility. It's about ensuring that The Walker Cricket Ground continues to be a place where sportsmanship, community spirit, and inclusivity converge. The future of The Walker Cricket Ground Trust is bright, and I am privileged to be at the helm of this transformative journey.
Through my journey, I strive to be a role model, showing that with dedication and hard work, one can continuously evolve and contribute positively to society.”
He also shared a bit about the Trust’s current priorities:
“I aspire to see The Walker Cricket Ground Trust transform into a hub of inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation. I hope to enhance the accessibility of our facilities, ensuring everyone, including those with disabilities, can enjoy what we offer. I aim to diversify our Trustee Board, bringing in varied expertise and perspectives.”
Finally, he shared his advice to aspiring trustees:
“For those passionate about giving back to their communities, my advice is to start by identifying what truly drives you. Connect your passion with the needs of your community. Begin locally, as this allows you to see the direct impact of your efforts. Volunteering your time and skills is an excellent way to contribute. It's important to listen to the community to understand their needs. Collaboration with existing groups can amplify your impact. Remember, consistency in your efforts is key. Finally, inspire others around you to join in, as collective efforts often lead to greater change.”
Keep up to date with what’s going on at The Walker Cricket Ground Trust via Twitter @WalkerGround.
Social Entrepreneur of the Month – Marie Graham, The Wellness Project CIC
Marie Graham is one of the founders of The Wellness Project CIC. The Wellness Project CIC is a Salford-based social enterprise delivering a range of wellbeing related services and workshops across the North West. The organisation works with employers to develop menopause and wellbeing friendly workplaces, providing support to develop policies, training managers and delivering staff awareness sessions on a wide range of wellbeing related subjects.
Marie told us about what motivated her to start the organisation:
“Menopause was a turning point for me. Around five years ago, I decided I wanted a new direction in life. The work I was doing was rewarding but quite stressful, it wasn't good for my health, and I wanted to spend more time directly working with people. I re-trained as a yoga teacher and on a part-time basis, I started delivering workplace mental health training. In August 2019 I became fully self-employed and in February 2020, working with my two fellow directors, we set up The Wellness Project CIC.”
She also told us about the work she is most excited about:
“My favourite project at the moment is our Lottery funded Menopause Champions courses that we run for free for Salford, Bolton and Bury-based organisations. I'm passionate about creating a change in the narrative around menopause. While I'm pleased there is so much awareness raising at the moment, a lot of the coverage remains negative. I believe that with the right information, support and treatment, menopause can be a time when women can adapt and thrive.
The last few years have been a challenge but really positive; I've just started another chapter of my life, embarking on a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). Who knows where that will take me!”
Finally, she shared her advice for aspiring social entrepreneurs:
“Be flexible, think about your range of skills and don't be afraid to diversify what you do. Ask for and accept help – The Wellness Project would not have survived and thrived without the support and mentoring of friends, professional contacts, networks and Dave, my husband. Finally, have faith in yourself.”
Charity Leader of the Month – Amanda Bright, Arts Bridge Charity
Arts Bridge Charity began life in 2011 as ‘Bridge Arts & Culture’, evolving in 2014 to its newer name and a focused commitment to its mission to use the arts as a bridge to learning; it places particular focus on those at most risk of exclusion from the arts. The charity wishes for its work to create friendships, develop creativity, grow career aspirations, and build respect for our elders and the area we live in. Amanda overcame barriers to arts participation herself and now works to embed accessibility into the sector through leading Arts Bridge.
Amanda explained her work and vision:
“Arts Bridge Charity delivers arts-based community and school projects in areas of high poverty with a particular focus on working within Black and Asian communities in London. Our most recent project saw us commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Windrush by creating portraits of Windrush elders from our local community. These were exhibited at Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Tottenham and were accompanied by audio clips of the elders sharing their stories.
Our vision is a society in which all children, young people and community elders have the skills, self-esteem and aspiration to achieve their full potential regardless of their social and economic position, as part of a society in which the arts are highly valued and in which communities are strong and connected.”
She explored her background, journey and role within Arts Bridge:
“I’m from Tottenham, London (born and raised). It's an area of high poverty with a large Black and Asian community. Growing up, there were little to no arts activities in the area. Apparently, I was a very creative child - always singing, dancing and making up stories. My mum wanted to nurture that creativity so she would scrape together the money to send me to dance and drama sessions in other boroughs. Because of my mum’s perseverance, I was allowed to develop my creativity and establish a career as an arts professional. I created Arts Bridge to prevent others from facing the obstacles that I had to overcome.
My role involves visualising and devising our projects, writing funding applications, liaising with partner organisations and then putting a team of practitioners together to deliver the work.”
Reflecting on her experience, Amanda offered advice for future leaders:
“I would encourage prospective leaders to understand the power of delegation! This can be very difficult to do, especially if you are passionate about what you do and are more than happy to burn the candle at both ends to make things happen.
Cultivating an exceptional team of practitioners and senior practitioners, as well as taking on a project administrator allowed Arts Bridge to flourish and expand exponentially. Delegating to others allowed me the headspace to keep innovating and visualising long-term goals for the charity.”
Amanda noted the importance of inclusion, particularly for those in elder community groups, who aren’t always given opportunities to explore creative outlets:
“Arts Bridge delivers many Intergenerational projects and projects that focus solely on working with elders. I think that elders are underserved within the creative participation sector and I feel it’s vital that elder community members are given opportunities to develop/rekindle their creativity and explore. It helps prevent them from feeling lonely, isolated, disconnected and undervalued by their community - negative states of being which can have a detrimental impact on their general health and wellbeing. I’m very proud of the strides that Arts Bridge is making to change this.”
Stay in the loop with Arts Bridge on Instagram @artsbridgecharity.
Fellow of the Month – Amelia Bayliss, Global Grooves
Amelia’s career has spanned an array of arts, culture and heritage roles, including ancient (5,000 years!) and modern (est. 2002) venues across England. As General Manager with Global Grooves, she is eager to explore everything The Vale can be for Mossley, Greater Manchester, and beyond.
Amelia is passionate about enabling people and organisations to realise their ambitions and achieve their goals. Through voluntary roles from mentoring with Refugee Action and Reclaim to being an elected Parish Councillor, she has an opportunity to impact people and places, working with communities, charities, the private sector and local authorities.
Amelia told us more about her work and role:
“I’m the General Manager at Global Grooves’ Carnival Arts Centre, The Vale. My role is very varied which I love, its key themes are operational, event and project management. I progressed from administrative roles in hires, coordinating commercial income generation in the arts. I progressed into operational management and strategic planning to get to this current position.”
Considering the local context in Greater Manchester, Amelia considered future opportunities for the area and her organisation:
“Situated in Tameside, Greater Manchester there is a big opportunity to build on the cultural funding in this borough in particular. By partnering with other arts organisations and working strategically with local authorities we could start to see real investment in the area. With large funding for ‘levelling up’ and phrases like ‘Northern powerhouse’ it’s crucial that arts and culture are on the agenda for large-scale funding locally.”
She explored the opportunities to come as part of the Professional Fellowship:
“I’m most looking forward to meeting a network of engaged peers to learn from and broaden each other’s horizons. Stepping out of my purview and considering fundraising and philanthropy in different scenarios and organisations will be incredibly eye-opening. I’m also looking forward to getting back into academic writing and study, something I’ve missed since my Masters at the University of Manchester in 2011.”
Finally, Amelia noted an area of the sector she’s particularly keen to see change:
“Reporting. Over the years I’ve seen colleagues grappling and struggling to give funders extensive reports for minimal funding. When funders allow a more creative or relaxed approach to reporting they might find they get richer evidence to support the success of their funds.”
Keep up to date with Amelia's work at Global Grooves on Twitter @GlobalGrooves.