I started out as a philosopher studying at London and Oxford. I still have the philosophical habit of questioning everything I’m told.

My work with the voluntary and community sector began when I managed a volunteer project in the east of Newcastle. I went on to work for NEA, the national fuel poverty charity and then to Newcastle City Council where I specialised in the voluntary and community sector. The Newcastle Compact won a national award thanks in part to its comprehensive funding code that I helped put together and get agreed.

My professional interest has always run alongside my own voluntary activities. As chair of my local tenants and residents association, we were part of a long battle by the community to stop the demolition of the area. In addition, I’m a former chair of Pottery Bank Community Centre and was the founding chair of Newcastle Philosophy Society.

In 2015 I was awarded a PhD from Northumbria University for my work on the application of complexity science to community studies and social policy. In addition I have an MSc in Urban Policy and Regeneration, also from Northumbria University, for which I received a Distinction.


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