Kat is one of the best-travelled members of the Groundwork East team - and not only because she moved to us from Groundwork South. She tells us what keeps her busy in Essex these days.
I’m a Community Project Officer within Groundwork Essex, so I help to deliver and develop our community-based project work in the county.
My first ever ‘proper’ job fresh out of university was actually with Groundwork South, where I worked within the Green Spaces team for the Thames Valley region. I started as Project Assistant, working on a whole range of outdoor community engagement projects, from running volunteer conservation tasks at the nature reserves we managed to growing sessions in schools and at community allotments. I got promoted to Team Supervisor and stayed with the team there for about two and half years.
I then took a little break from working life to go backpacking around South America for six months and when I landed back in the UK, Groundwork was my first port of call for finding a new job. I saw that Groundwork East had lots of exciting opportunities and I settled myself here!
I am an Enabler for Tesco’s Bags of Help community grants scheme, which is funded by the carrier bag levy. This pot of money is available to a whole host of groups and organisations in order to fund a project, event or equipment that benefits the community. Three projects in each area are awarded £4,000, £2,000 or £1,000 every two months following a public vote. It’s an important scheme because it makes project funding accessible to people who aren’t experts in bid-writing or people who might be completely new to the concept of funding applications.
My role as Enabler is to promote the scheme and encourage and support community groups to put in an application. It’s so nice to see funding being awarded to such deserving projects and to have been a part of their project’s success by making that funding accessible to them. Those happy phone calls from people who’ve found out they’ve been awarded money are very rewarding.
I also work on the Every Drop Counts project, an Essex and Suffolk Water campaign that is helping residents save water, money, and energy. We’re currently trying to make Witham the most water efficient town in the country! We’re doing this by delivering a programme of community engagement events and stands around the town, promoting water-saving messages and offering a free home visit by a plumber to fit water saving devices.
My favourite Groundwork experiences so far have been getting out and about and meeting and chatting to people. I’ve really enjoyed attending events to promote our projects and the Witham Community Day was definitely a favourite as it was a lovely and fun event to be a part of. I also really enjoyed helping to pull together the launch event for the Every Drop Counts campaign.
In my personal life, I love to travel. I’m quite proud of the fact that I’ve visited 40 different countries so far!
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