I first came to Sheffield as a student in the late 1980s, when I studied Psychology at the University. I loved the city then.
After graduating I lived in West London for 15 years running a charity working with homeless people and drug users, building up a small project with 2 houses and 10 bed spaces into a charity with 30 beds, 6 houses, a training arm and a renovated supermarket providing supported employment. In 1997 I was ordained as a self-supporting priest in the Church of England and got interested in the creativity and discipline entailed in running social enterprises.
Feeling the need for a change I moved back up to Sheffield in 2000 to start working for St Mary’s when it was half way through a £2.65m refurbishment and have been here ever since.
The strength of St Mary’s is its diversity and the astonishingly talented and committed staff team. Running a business and a charity alongside each other requires huge and understated skill, tact and diplomacy from the whole team. It’s a great place to work, one of endless creativity and imagination.
In 2010 I completed a Masters in Management with Sheffield Hallam University. The research element of that qualification led us into understanding that the question you ask is fateful. Learning to ask a different question can change everything. This led us into Appreciative Inquiry and the asset based approach that underpins a lot of our new work. I have recently co-authored a paper accepted for publication in the Action Research journal.