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Spotlight on this year's People and Place mentors

At the beginning of the People and Place Programme, Footwork together with peers, identify a suitable mentor together.

Over the course of 12 months, this person/s will support innovators to strengthen the foundations of their work. This may include: developing an overall strategy, exploring methods to gather evidence of the project's impact and finding ways to most effectively communicate the difference the project is having to funders, community members, asset owners and other stakeholders.

In 2024, we’re collaborating with 10 phenomenal community innovators, asset developers, strategists and bright minds to support 17 peers across the country. 

Here’s a taste of what they are currently up to …

Image: Jess during a tour of Hastings Commons

Location: Observer Building

Dr Jess Steele OBE, Hastings Commons

Is mentoring: Deana, Coalville CAN 

Together Jess and Deana are creating a plan on how to get Coaville CAN HQ into full community ownership. This includes creating a clearer sense of what everyone in the team is responsible for, refining what Deana and the team focus on and how to articulate this with others.

Jess has thirty years of experience as a community asset developer and entrepreneur in Deptford and Hastings, as well as at a national level working with government, funders, corporates and academics.

Image: RivelinCo team and Marianna during a peer workshop

Location: Footwork Factory, Farringdon

Marianna Hay MBE, Take Note and Footwork

Together Marianna, Emily and Linda are working towards an increased sense of collective purpose which will energise and inspire the team and will allow them to bring together the many elements of their work in Hillsborough into one cohesive whole.

Marianna is a social innovator and entrepreneur with direct experience of setting up, building and leading social impact initiatives and organisations.

Image: Gareth, Pete and Tricia during a tour of one of their properties

Location: Bath

Paul Regan, E16 Community Land Trust

Together Paul, Pete, Gareth and Tricia are working to realise their vision for renovating Church assets into social housing whilst ensuring that the project continues to align with the core charitable purpose of the Methodist Church.

Paul is chair of E16 Community Land Trust (CLT) which is developing homes which are permanently affordable linked to local median incomes. He is a retired Methodist Minister based in the London Borough of Newham where he has lived since 1972. 

Image: Power team and Jessica having a visioning workshop

Location: Footwork Factory, Farringdon

Jessica Edwards, NESTA

Together Jessica, Hilary, Dan and Leonie are visioning the future of the Optimistic Foundation. This will help set the roadmap to launching an effective impact campaign including feature documentary, toolkit, and short features on their retrofit work in Walthamstow.

Jessica has expertise bridging the worlds of television, documentary film and non-profits. She was the Director of Impact & Partnerships at Doc Society for 5.5 years, initiating, growing and leading many of the organisation’s key partnerships and projects. 

Image: Sophi, Tim and other peers during a Footwork Field Trip

Location: Coin Street Community Builders, South Bank

Sophi Tranchell MBE, ex-CEO and local resident

Is mentoring Tim, Public Health Parks Trust

Sophi is supporting Tim to strategise how the local network of Community Health Champions can actively participate in the Local Plan consultations so that the network more clearly works as an active community voice to shape the Local Plan in Downham.

Sophi’s Parents and Grandparents were social campaigners and inspired her from a young age. She was actively involved in the Anti-Apartheid movement which has since shaped her ideas and the company she has gone on to create.

Image: Arwa and Turab during a tour of their meanwhile space in Brent

Location: Metroland Studios

Constance Agyeman, Challenge Works

Together Constance, Turab and Arwa are setting a solid plan for the year ahead with priorities and measurable goals. This includes thinking about the future of their meanwhile space as an asset in their business strategy. 

Constance has over 20 years of experience in the voluntary sector developing national and international programs which engage communities in addressing the issues that affect them. At the heart of her work ethos is a practice of co-creation with communities and innovators. 

Image: GreaterThan Website

Credit: David Altabev

Francesca Pick, Greaterthan 

Together Francesca, JoJo and Paul are mapping participation pathways and levels of external engagement to help spread the Interwoven word. Resulting in an organisation where the delivery methods and the offer is well articulated. 

Francesca is a seasoned ecosystem builder and network weaver, and has a background working to help networked organisations thrive as a result of distributed governance practices and tools.

Image: During a workshop with members and local stakeholders

Credit: YorSpace

Tom Chance, Beth Boorman and Alison Ward from Community Land Trust Network

Together Tom, Beth, Alison, Laurie and James are developing updated strategic business plans and communications plans. Creating a clearer sense of how YorSpace can be the best version of itself and deliver the highest local social impact possible. 

The Community Land Trust Network team has extensive experience working to mainstream the community ownership of land and affordable housing. Across advocacy, communications and market development campaigns as well as network researching, reviewing and designing models for the future of the CLH ecosystem.

Image: Sister Midnight duo Lenny and Sophie with Juliet during a strategy workshop

Location: The Conduit, Covent Garden

Juliet Can, Director, Stour Trust

Together Juliet, Lenny and Sophie are working on organisational recommendations for the short, medium and long term - which will cover policy, staffing and governance. Creating a clearer organisational overview and confidence in these processes ahead of opening the venue. 

Juliet has a background as a local social innovator, equality and justice campaigner and is the founder of social enterprise Stour Trust, which provides affordable work, civic and creative spaces. 

Image: On the highstreet during consultations for the

South Woodford Community-led Desing Code

Credit: AzuKo

Emily Horton, More Diverse Voices

Is mentoring: Jo Ashbridge, AzuKo

Together Emily, Jo and Azuko trustees are co-creating an advocacy strategy that centres around their diverse abilities and that builds the confidence to advocate on before of the charity’s mission in different contexts. 

Emily has a background in helping community groups and initiatives find their voice.


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