Promoting Wellbeing Manager, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Graduate of BSc. (Hons.) In Community Development, School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, Ulster University
I started working for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust in 2018, as a Community Development Worker, supporting disadvantaged communities to work together to address health inequalities. I am now the Promoting Wellbeing Manager for the Armagh and Dungannon area.
I manage a team of 12 staff, including 2 community development workers and other community facing health and wellbeing staff. I love this post as it’s an opportunity for me to make a difference at local level. I grew up in Armagh, as one of nine children, in a neighbourhood that experiences significant disadvantage. I still live here and I am passionate about it and being able to give something back.
I have been involved in community development most of my adult life and the values are a core part of who I am. Some years ago I did the level 3 Certificate in Community Development with Supporting Communities NI and that is how I heard about the Community Development degree at Ulster University. While I was studying I continued to work full-time with Craigavon Traveller Support Committee and the Community Family Support Programme. I was also doing voluntary work, and sitting on the local Police and Community Safety Partnership. And I became a grandmother at the age of 38! So it was challenging, but I don’t regret it for a minute. Having the degree has helped me fully embed the values in my work, to support the communities I work with. And it enabled me to move into a more senior position working at a strategic level where I can bring the values to the table to inform and influence discussion and decisions. I believe having a professional Community Development Degree elevates what I can speak to.
I would definitely recommend professional community development education. I would not be where I am today without the Community Development degree. It consolidated and validated my experience and introduced me to new connections and perspectives on theory and practice. It gave me confidence, helped me to fulfil a lifetime ambition to graduate from university, and it renewed my passion for learning. After graduating, I signed up for the BTEC Level 7 Extended Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership. It was graduate entry so I needed my degree to do it. It, and my degree, combined with my practice experience has made me a better manager.
I am continuing my professional development with further leadership training through the Southern Trust. I believe it’s important to continuously improve skills and keep professional knowledge up to date and I encourage and support my team to engage with learning opportunities too.