Sharing her Love and Hopes for the North

I am delighted to announce that I have started as the People’s Powerhouse Coordinator, I have watched People’s Powerhouse develop with very keen interest over the last few years and so when an opportunity to join and be part of something really special came up I jumped at the chance.

I am coming from an organisation called the Community Transport Association (CTA) where I have worked for the last 12 years, supporting the growth and development of originations within CTA’s membership. I thoroughly enjoyed my previous role, in particular empowering people to co – design solutions to the biggest problems we faced as a sector. I am excited to bring what I have learnt during my time at CTA to the People’s Powerhouse, as we look to engage with people and organisations across the North, building capacity, through support and engagement, events and collaboration.

I am sure you will hear lots from me over the next few months as we head towards the People’s Powerhouse convention in November in Sunderland, where there will be plenty of different opportunities for organisations and people to get involved, but for today I thought I would take the opportunity for you to get to know me a little better and understand why I think the People’s Powerhouse is so important.

  1. What does being from the North of England mean to you?

Having never lived anywhere other than the North it is fundamentally a part of who I am. I am so proud of being a Northerner and all that it represents; kindness, grit, openness, authenticity, a strong but level head and so much more.

  1. What’s your connection to the North?

I was born in Burnley hospital and have lived and worked in Greater Manchester for the majority of my life, and for those who get to hear me talk at some point you will hear a very distinct Mancunian accent ! I am not sure how many generations I could trace back but I think it is fair to say my roots are very much planted in the North of England with stories of my great grandparents who worked in the mills being told to me often when I was growing up.

  1. What’s your favourite thing about the North and why?

It’s got to be the people, I could say a close second would be the vibrant culture but ultimately that still comes back to the people who are creating and contributing to that culture. There is something really special, different and unapologetic about the way that Northern people communicate, something we need more of and we should be encouraging.

  1. Who’s your favourite Northerner and why?

This is a super hard question, as I have a list as long as my arm full of the usual suspects that would be on lots of people’s ‘Favourite Northerner’ list; Tony Wilson, Victoria Wood, Jim Cartwright, Maxine Peake, Brian Cox, Anthony Burgess, John Cooper Clarke, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Shelagh Delaney to name just a few of the people I admire who have Northern roots.

However, my favourite Northerner has to be my late Grandma, Barbara Garlick, a woman who during her time here embodied so many of the wonderful things we associate with the North of England. She was open, kind, hard as nails, wise and made a great meat and potato pie.

  1. What kind of North do you hope for?

I hope for a North that is fair, at the moment we live in a country where opportunity is greater for some people in our society than others. I hope for a future where these things are different, one in which everyone has an equal chance at life and an equal stake in shaping the places that are important and influential to them.

  1. Why do you think we need a People’s Powerhouse?

People feel disconnected from politics, they are kept out of the conversation and are not able to contribute their story to shaping the future in the places they live and work.

People need a way back into the conversation, in a meaningful and real way, this is where the People’s Powerhouse comes in. Equipping organisations and empowering people to find a way into the conversation.

  1. Which part of the People’s Powerhouse charter means most to you and why?

The great thing about the charter is that the six things we are focusing on as a catalyst for change complement one another, this means you can’t really do one without the knock on effect being a change in all of the other areas too.

That said I think currently the one which stands out as being an important focus for my role, and the charter starting to create the change we want to see is ‘A Louder Voice’. More people and different people need to be heard and influence public policy; I am very excited at the prospect of starting working towards this, so please get in touch and share your ideas on how we can develop this part of the charter in a practical and affective way.

  1. Biggest challenge facing the North at the moment?

I think we can become overwhelmed very quickly by the long list of challenges we face. Dependent on which lens you are looking through so many different answers to this question are thrown up; devolution, economy, deprivation, loneliness, inequality.

However, I think if we take a step back from those answers and look again what you see is a place and group of people who feel powerless, ill-equipped and in some cases unaware of the change that needs to be made to solve the challenges we face. How we get to a position where people are aware, equipped and feel powerful is the big challenge.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to get to know me a bit better. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more or have some ideas on how we can work together by emailing me – stephanie@peoplespowerhouse.org.uk