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Moving on after 10 years on the Board

24 May 2022 · Categories: Innovators Learn, Opinions and responses

Close up photo of Janet, she is smiling.For the last 10 years, Janet Walden has been part of the Community Catalysts’ Board and has chaired it for the last 5, bringing a wealth of experience and a passion for supporting people to lead full lives. Janet will be stepping back from the Board in June so it seems timely to have a catch up and celebrate her 10 years with us…

So, you’ve been with Community Catalysts 10 years – how did it all come about?

Before Community Catalysts launched in 2009 I was working at the Department of Health and Sian Lockwood – Community Catalysts’ founder and first CEO – pitched an idea to me about developing a project around local budgets. It sounded like a much-needed piece of work and one that would really stimulate communities. The Department of Health funded the first Community Catalysts project in Oldham which helped support Dance Syndrome (among others) to get started.

I then retired in 2010 and joined Community Catalysts’ Board in 2012.

What attracted you to join Community Catalysts’ Board?

The organisation has a huge commitment to values and inclusivity which really struck a chord with me. The work is all about local solutions, creativity and making a real difference every day.

After 10 years, it’s really refreshing to see that enthusiasm, passion and commitment to effecting change still running through the organisation.

What have been some of the highlights for you at Community Catalysts?

I’ve really enjoying seeing the organisation grow and how this has led to real change in different communities – it’s been great to see our work going into all sorts of new areas, retaining creativity throughout. It’s been fantastic to see how our work has influenced other organisations too.

And what have been some of the challenges you’ve faced?

The last 10 years have been a particularly challenging economic environment but despite that, Community Catalysts has thrived and continues to grow. Another challenge has been around helping people to look past the risk of trying something new…

…People can be in a place where it seems easier to carry on doing what they know but that doesn’t help us face some of the challenges we see within social care…

…So, while it can be challenging for people to move away from traditional ways of doing things, Community Catalysts puts a lot of preparation work in so we really understand each local area and can show people the benefits of how working in a different way can be transformational. Our Communities Care work is a great example of moving away from traditional time and task models of homecare to helping people set up their own small enterprises to support other people to live the lives they want.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren and using my skills and strengths in my local community. I’m a Governor at two local schools so will carry on with that and get involved with other local projects.

While I am stepping back from the Board, I hope to keep links with Community Catalysts and stay in touch. I wish everyone well and want to add a huge thank to you all…Thank you for your support and friendship and thank you for delivering the ambition of the organisation – carry on with your fantastic work and stay true to the values of Community Catalysts. Also, a quick mention to Pip, who has been in post as CEO for almost a year and has become a real asset to the organisation, helping it grow from strength to strength.

Thanks Janet, it’s been a lovely look back…and forward. Thank you for all your hard work over the last 10 years – we wouldn’t be where we are today without the Board and your support. All the best for the future from everyone at Community Catalysts!


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