Our new CEO is Carolyn Jackson, Carrie to her friends. She brings with her over 35 years of experience in the field of health and wellbeing, higher education, research, practice development and innovation. Here she talks briefly about her vision for The Bay Trust in the future.

I am thrilled to be joining The Bay Trust at such a pivotal time. The global challenges facing us all concerning climate change and human wellbeing have never been so critical. I am looking forward to working with local, regional, national and international groups to address some of these challenges together to benefit our children, youth, families and older generations. The intergenerational capacity of us all to co-create solutions to address the issues we face at a local level are immense. By coming together, we can pool our resources, skills, strengths and life experiences to make a real difference to support our communities to thrive.

Research, practice development and innovation in sustainable healthcare

I am a nurse by background. I trained in Scotland in the early 1980s as one of the first degree nurses in the UK, and my career took me all over the world enabling me to help people in a wide range of settings. I remain active on the Nursing Midwifery Council register today because it is vital to me to have an obvious understanding of the health challenges and issues our communities face and how well the services provided by the NHS, private and third sector providers are meeting their needs. In the early 1990s, I specialised in education and later in research, practice development and innovation travelling all over the world to work with people to improve services and make a difference. In 2006 I settled in Canterbury having spent 5 years in New Zealand where I ran 12 acres on a small holding, grew all my own vegetables and campaigned for environmental protection and sustainability.

Initially working at Canterbury Christ Church University I led the academic department for nursing, leading the training of adult nurses in the region for our local hospitals alongside many other programmes. I worked very closely in partnership with our regional hospitals, community services, GPs and clinical commissioning groups. Later in 2011, I set up the England Centre for Practice Development, a national centre for applied health research, practice development and innovation. The centre has been very successful in helping to support the transformation of regional services in Kent, Surrey and Sussex as well as impacting on work going on at a national and international level.

Partnership approach

I am immensely proud of my heritage and am passionate about working in the field with people in our local communities (regardless of the type of community this may be). I take an embedded approach to understand what the local issues are and then co-create solutions together with people, researching impact and developing people’s skills and talents as part of the process. That is what makes me a practice developer. I don’t do research ON PEOPLE I do research and innovation WITH PEOPLE. As a result of my work, I am skilled at networking and putting people together with ideas to enable them to happen. So I am looking forward to drawing on my transferable skill set to support the future of The Bay Trust charity.

Developing The Bay Trust’s Mission

We will continue to connect with the local community to find out what the charity can do further to support local education, holistic health and wellbeing initiatives. The Pines Gardens will become a future focal point of new types of holistic therapies with The Calyx a regional expert hub for Health and Wellbeing. A new creative arts and wellbeing hub will complement a more integrated approach to how we support community health, and the tea rooms will provide a focal point for different community networks. Most importantly, working with regional GPs we hope to develop a coalition model that will enable cohorts of people in our local communities to be prescribed a course of gardening, or yoga, or Tai Chi etc. rather than anti-depressants or anxiolytic medications. This is particularly important because across the lifespan more and more people are experiencing mental health issues and cannot get access to mainstream services. We will be able to support many people living with long term conditions using a population cohort model, and we will develop our ability to measure the impact of our initiatives on the people we work with.

Developing Community Ambassadors

The charity will be developing an ambassadorial model sharing our knowledge, skills and expertise with local communities, and our volunteering activities and opportunities will grow. You will see the charity also grow its reputation for outdoor learning through nature, both for schools but also for teachers to develop new skills. These events and activities will be at both Rippledown and in The Pines Gardens itself. There will be a return of the Summer Holiday Club to support working families.

We will be working across the region to bring together other like-minded charities and organisations to network and develop strong, cohesive partnerships to benefit our local community health and wellbeing. Together we can do more to inspire and have an impact.

Come and see me when I get into the post or invite me to come and have a chat. Drop me a line if you want to connect.