Nicola has over 15 years’ experience in voluntary and statutory services. She has excellent people skills and uses her coaching and motivational interviewing skills to develop relationships and bonds with the people she works with. In previous roles, drawing on her own lived experiences, she has supported individuals affected by homelessness, mental health, substance misuse and offending. She is passionate and committed to improving the life chances and aspirations of vulnerable people in our communities.

Here she tells us more about why she applied for the role, what she hopes to achieve and how she has found her first few of weeks in the job:

“Supporting vulnerable people has always been at the heart of every job I have had. Building resilience is something I had to do personally many times in response to life events and I also understand the ripple effect of being resilient and how it can filter to other people.

So many people are impacted by loneliness and isolation, particularly after the pandemic, and many just need that listening ear with a little bit of information, help and guidance to encourage them to navigate and access services leading to a network of support.

With my personal experience, and amazing work background, I feel I can motivate and support the Kindness Champions to help strengthen our communities even further and really make an impact.

Our aim is to get out and about into the most disadvantaged communities, who often do not access typical support services, build relationships and trust with people, and get a real understanding of the barriers they face and what is important to them.  

I would like to see the expansion of peer-to-peer support services and befriending networks, because the best people to help you see the possibility of change and develop your own resilience, are those who have navigated those changes themselves.

I want to make sure the voices of our clients and communities are heard and used to generate system change in how marginalised and disadvantaged groups are viewed, managed and sometimes excluded from the same playing field as those from less disadvantaged groups.

So far, I can honestly say I am loving my new job and to say the days go fast would be an understatement.

Building relationships and understanding how everyone works collaboratively is so important in this role so I have been meeting colleagues from whg, partner organisations and other stakeholders. I’ve been attending events and going to lots of meetings to introduce myself and get a feel for the work going on locally.

Needless to say I’ve been out with my team of Kindness Champions to see the amazing work they do in the community and have met some of our amazing customers along the way.

I’ve also learned how a few colleagues like their cup of tea which is making me very popular already!

In my free time I am a child welfare officer of one of the oldest non-league clubs in the country - Darlaston Town (1874) FC.  I live locally in Walsall and I love my community. Out of work I am often planning fundraising events and volunteering at the footie club, ensuring the younger players are developed, nurtured and coached to represent my town at a semi professional level for years to come. I love groundhopping to new non-league football grounds and supporting my local team.

My ultimate passion is live music and festivals and I have events booked well into the coming months. If someone asked me to choose either a holiday or festival weekend well, I am more than happy to slum it for the feeling of a cold beverage, in a field of likeminded people at a music festival. For me absolutely nothing beats that feeling of waiting for the band to come on stage and take you on that lose yourself journey.

I also love photography, being outdoors, discovering street art/graffiti and spending time exploring new places and eating street food. More randomly I collect beer mats!

I am a real busy bee, cramming so much into every day, but sometimes I also love to read and I set myself a reading challenge every year.

Despite seeming to be pretty extrovert I love nothing more than cuddling up on the sofa at the end of a long day with my French bulldog Frankie.