NAME: Ken Down
OCCUPATION: Area Manager, Signposts (Stafford) Ltd
FAMILY: 5 children 10 grandchildren
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? West Croydon
WHAT WAS YOUR UPBRINGING LIKE? Had a very good upbringing in a Christian Family and enjoyed my childhood in 50’s and 60’s. Lived in West Croydon to start with then moved to Henfield, Sussex then to Stafford in 1967.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES? Playing out in the streets around our house with a box cart, pushed by a friend who lived across the road.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU LEFT SCHOOL? I never had any clear idea.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? I had a fantastic job after leaving university with the Lindley Lodge Educational Trust as a Group Tutor. I led small groups of young people through experiential learning experiences. We were based on the A5 near Nuneaton and lived in tied accommodation as part of a Christian Community. It was a challenging job at times but I was always supported well by wonderful colleagues.
HOW DID YOUR CAREER AND LIFE PROGRESS? From Lindley Lodge I joined TNT, the express parcels carrier as a Training Officer, then, after 6 months of, unemployment became a Training Manager with another transport firm called Fashionflow in Ilkeston. I then became self employed as a trainer for a few years. After that I sought employment again and gained a computer training position with ECS in Stafford, helping people with disabilities to learn how to use specialist software on their computers and laptops. Then I joined SDVS as Training Manager and developed Skillbase training. After that I joined Adult and Community Learning at Staffordshire County Council and worked there for 2 ½ years 4 days a week whilst also being Development Manager at Holmcroft Youth and Community Centre for one day a week. An interview with the then deputy manager of VAST brought me into co-ordinating the Volunteer Centre at the Dudson Centre, Hanley and after a couple of years the volunteer centre was taken over by Staffordshire Moorlands CVS and I transferred to them.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE SIGNPOST CENTRE?
When the Stoke Volunteer Centre funding started to run out in the early months of 2013 I faced redundancy but was pleased to discover the current Job at Signposts was being advertised which I applied for and started in mid April.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB AND WHAT IS INVOLVES. The Job at Signposts involves overseeing the work of the two centres at Highfields and Stone. I manage the two managers of these centres and report to a board of Directors. Much of my time involves looking for funding and completing funding bids as funding is always a key issue in a small charity like ourselves. I’m also seeking to develop other centres in similar communities in Staffordshire. Signposts does a great Job of helping people in the communities that we serve and I am privileged to work with so many dedicated staff and volunteers.
WHAT ARE YOUR AMBITIONS FOR THE FUTURE? To continue working in Signposts for the immediate future or a similar charity.
TELL US AN INTERESTING FACT ABOUR YOURSELF. I love being involved with my church, which is Rising Brook Baptist Church, where I help to look after a small group who meet in Uttoxeter and help to run the running group, Rising Brook Runners. I’ve also helped to develop and lead training workshops there.
CAR: Peugeot 308
FAVOURITE MUSIC: Anything by Eric Clapton, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Matt Redman, Rend Collective Experiment.
FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Southern Spain and Portugal
FAVOURITE FOOD & DRINK: Chicken Tikka Masala
FAVOURITE NEWSPAPER: Independent
FAVOURITE BOOK: Bible and Christian books that help to apply its teachings.
FAVOURITE PIN-UP: My Wife.
THINGS YOU LOVE/THINGS YOU HATE: Love friendship and authenticity, Hate social injustice.