I have now been the new Administrator for Participation Cymru for a grand total of two weeks, so about time I wrote my first blog post to introduce myself. I am from Cardiff and graduated in psychology from the University of Bristol in July 2013 before returning to work for Sustrans Cymru as an Office Receptionist. I worked for Sustrans Cymru for just over 6 months before joining Participation Cymru.
My CV to date can be politely described as diverse – I seem to have a little bit of many things. Previous jobs have included coaching children’s football, working as a telephone fundraiser and a ‘Sports Activator’; increasing participation in sports as part of a University of Bristol Union initiative. The only other job I have had in which I have ever had to write a blog was when I was a Communications Intern for Transform Drug Policy Foundation (which I somehow found the time for two days a week during my final year of university) – I apologise if my lack of blogging experience shows!
Bristol Debating Union (BDU) was a big part of my life during the university years, and I enjoyed organising tournaments during my spell as External Convenor and planning and delivering training sessions during my spell as Director of Training. My experiences as part of the BDU have developed my organisational ability, and between football and debating I have some training experience (although not on the same level as Siobhan, Sarah and Mandy).
As well as developing my skills, competing regularly for BDU meant that I was able to travel around the UK and beyond to attend tournaments, including on one occasion to Belgrade. Between April and June 2013 I was a Borough Convenor for four London Boroughs as part of the London Debate Challenge; an annual tournament organised by the English Speaking Union which gives pupils from secondary state schools an opportunity to debate competitively.
As well as some previous experience of working in the third sector, I have volunteered for Oxfam, the British Heart Foundation and I still volunteer for Recovery Cymru, an organisation for people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Soon I will be facilitating a weekly creative writing group at Recovery Cymru and am looking forward to it.
My first two weeks have gone very quickly, and I have enjoyed throwing myself into my new role as much as possible. I have been given such a lovely welcome by a team which I have a feeling I am going to really enjoy working with. So far they have provided me with a barrage of information and endless patience for my questions! Because of how welcoming everyone has been in some ways I feel as though I have been at Participation Cymru for longer than a fortnight, but I am definitely still learning both the full scope of the role and the implications of many models of participation!