How long have you lived in Ramsgate?
I moved into Dumpton in 1981 when I was 2. My parents moved from Suffolk to run a Fegans Children's Home here. We moved to Broadstairs when I was 11, but I moved back to Ramsgate in 2000 having got married.
Why did you start helping the local community?
I love living in Ramsgate and feel part of this community. My community has always been a great support to me and my family, so I suppose I'm giving something back. Likewise, as a Christian, I am dependant on the help God gives me, and enjoy 'paying it forward' to the community.
Over the years, I have been given many opportunities to serve the local community initially as a teenager through church and various organisations. My first job after university was with the Youth Offending Service based in Ramsgate, where I later trained to become a YOS Social Worker. For the last 9 years, I have been the team leader at Fegans in Ramsgate, for the last 4 a leader at Community Church Ramsgate, and recently I have become a trustee of the Thanet CAP Debt Centre.
What are your earliest memories of Ramsgate?
Racing around 'Pleasurama' and getting fish 'n' chips afterwards. I also have many fond memories of being at school at Chatham House.
What are your ambitions?
I would love to see Ramsgate become the best place in the country to raise a family.
For my part in this, I'm channelling my energy into raising my 3 children, and working with friends at Fegans, Community Church Ramsgate and the Thanet CAP Debt Centre.
What are you currently working on or towards in Ramsgate?
In 2015 we (Fegans) will be opening a brand new £1m building in the top-end of Ramsgate. Our hope is that it serves the children, teenagers and families in the town really well. It will have a quality Cafe with Indoor play area, a Community hall housing various activities and groups, a purpose-built Fegans Pre-school as well as offices & meeting rooms where a variety of activities, events and programmes will be run by Fegans, Community Church Ramsgate, Thanet CAP Debt Centre and other trusted partners.
Why did you start this current project?
We felt that families in Ramsgate needed a centre where they could relax and get a good cup of coffee while their children played safely. We also felt that, when needed, families should be able to access the very best advice, information, support and inspiration for their job as a parent - the best, most important, but hardest job in the world!
For some time now, the team at Fegans has been too large for our property on the Margate Road and we haven't been able to expand our work because of the limitations of the buildings. Likewise, we wanted to begin new partnerships and start new initiatives in Ramsgate but needed larger premises.
At the end of 2010 the Morris and Hilda Laing Charitable Trust contacted us to discuss funding a legacy project in the town with us. The new building is the result of this incredibly generous funding.
Where did you get the idea from to start this?
Fegans has been supporting children, young people and families since 1870. So in many ways this isn't a new idea but simply re-packaging the same heart to see children and families thrive.
However, since becoming a parent (I now have 3 children) I know how much a resource and project like this will benefit the whole community.
What can Ramsgate look forward to from you in the future?
We hope that this new centre is the first of many similar projects in the town, and in Thanet. We are hopeful that like-minded people will join with us to help see Ramsgate become the 'best place in Ramsgate to raise a family'.
How do you feel your contribution has helped or made a difference to Ramsgate?
I would like to think that whenever people encounter 'Fegans', 'Community Church Ramsgate', or the 'Thanet CAP Debt Centre' they feel welcome, encouraged, loved, valued and supported when needed.
Where do you see yourself helping the community in a year’s time?
In a year's time I hope the new building is working well for the town. I see myself continuing to serve with Fegans, Community Church Ramsgate and the Thanet CAP Debt centre. I would imagine we will be planning to develop the work and drawing together a group of people who will join us.