What’s your name?
Where do you work and what do you do?
I’m the Policy & External Affairs Project Officer at Community Housing Cymru. I manage a broad range of research and policy projects, including those focusing on policy in practice, and also support the rest of the Policy & External Affairs team in their work.
Current work includes running our Primary Fire Authority Scheme (a UK first that supports more consistency across Wales), and working with Cymorth Cymru to run a network for members providing Supported Housing. I’m also in the process of establishing a network for data and research professionals in housing associations, and carrying out research around the impact of Universal Credit.
Why did you choose a career in housing?
I wanted to work in the non-profit sector, and was lucky enough to spot an advert for a short, fixed term contract in CHC two years ago. You can read more here.
What is the most important thing you have you learned since starting your career in housing?
How housing is so closely connected to other areas of life, including health, employment, welfare and equality. Decent housing really can form the basis for someone having a good quality of life, and anything difficult that a person faces is made worse by not having a safe, stable and affordable home.
Where would you be working, if not in housing?
I’m a proud feminist and get *very* animated about gender inequality, especially when sexism is compounded by other forms of discrimination. I’ve recently joined the Board of Trustees for Chwarae Teg, which I’m thrilled about. If I wasn’t working in housing, I imagine I’d want to be in policy/external affairs in an area of social inequality or injustice. I know how lucky am I am to have a good, comfortable life, and cannot understand how some people have so much while others have so, so little.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Seeing the final product of a piece of work, whether it’s a paper, a report or an event, is so satisfying. I enjoy the early stages of a project, getting things organised and settling into research and engagement, and seeing everything come together from that point is just great.
What motivates you?
Learning and developing are big drivers for me – gradually becoming more experienced, skilled and well-rounded in my work. Getting the job done well is important to me, as is knowing that what I’m doing contributes to the bigger picture. In the case of CHC, our work supports housing associations to do what they do best, which means that more people in Wales can have a safe, comfortable and affordable place to call home.
How do you relax after work?
I like to cook and bake (with varying degrees of success) and usually have a stack of books to read (I’m a big fan of psychological thrillers). I’m conscious of maintaining good mental health and wellbeing, so I try to meditate a few times a week and really enjoy going for long walks. One of the best remedies for a long day, though, is curling up on the sofa with my two kittens, Skippy and Lassie (yes, the beloved TV characters).
What’s your greatest achievement?
In a former life I co-founded and ran a small business for five years. My business partner has continued to run the company since I moved into the third sector, and I’m really proud of what we achieved together and what she has achieved since.
Your most embarrassing moment?
A year or so ago I wasn’t looking where I was going as I left the train station, and tripped off the kerb and flat on my face. I avoided eye contact with my fellow passengers for a few days after that!
What was your last holiday destination and what did you think of it?
My partner and I recently visited Lisbon in Portugal. We really enjoyed it, though perhaps underestimated how steep the hills were – lots and lots of stairs to climb! The food was fantastic (we ate *so* many pastéis de nata), and there were lots of interesting places to visit – we’d recommend it!