Liz has now worked for Wellsprings Together Bradford for one year. She's helped the organisation to get off the ground and do some fantastic work with local churches.
Here we ask Liz some questions about herself and her work.
1. What’s your favourite thing about where you live?
I live in Bradford with my husband, our 4 year old boy, dog and cat in the house my husband grew up in! Apart from the people and animals I live with, my favourite thing is that because Bradford is so hilly, there are great views wherever you are. Just across the road from where we live are fields with views across Bradford and up to the Yorkshire Dales. Also Bradford is a big city (over half a million people) but you always bump into someone you know, which I love!
2. What’s the most exciting piece of working going on with churches in your area?
Bradford is a place where there’s always been poverty so it’s not something that churches are having to respond to for the first time. But the thing I find amazing and exciting is that churches are not jaded or worn out by this. They see people struggling and want to help them back on their feet and it’s the innovative ideas and ways of working that are really exciting. I also love the new partnerships that are developing in local areas - across faith communities, with statutory and community partners. Working with churches is now the norm locally.
3. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned over the last year?
To ask for help! I started in September last year, so as I was getting my head around what my job entails I felt the pressure of thinking I should understand things or know who to contact because I was the paid member of staff. However, when I remember to ask around I find that there’s lots of people willing to help.
4. What are your biggest challenges?
Not getting stuck in crisis mode. Things are pretty grim at the moment for lots of people in the Bradford District - the economy is still struggling and there aren't enough decent jobs for people. Long-term solutions are not obvious. However, to ensure people are able to live with dignity and to feel some hope for the future we need to be working together to find more sustainable ways of tackling poverty, in addition to ensuring people’s basic needs are met.
5. What is your dream for the next 5 years?
To have a range of well-funded, well-managed and coordinated emergency crisis services for people who need them (such as food banks, hot food projects, homeless shelters). Alongside that, churches and local communities will be working together to develop new and more sustainable ways of ensuring our communities thrive. Hopefully I’ll still be involved in Wellsprings Together Bradford or will have retired to the South of France having won the lottery…..
Author: Bethany Eckley
Date: 29 September 2014
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