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Stafford's Ken Downs explains his role supporting the community

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: March 02, 2014

Sinposts manager Ken Downs.

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WHAT WAS YOUR UPBRINGING LIKE? I had a very good upbringing in a Christian family and enjoyed my childhood in the 50s and 60s. I lived in West Croydon then moved to Henfield, Sussex then to Stafford in 1967.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES? Playing in the streets around our house with a box cart, pushed by a friend who lived across the road.

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.

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We 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 six months of unemployment became a training manager with another transport firm.

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 whilst also being development manager at Holmcroft Youth and Community Centre for one day a week.

I then started 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 and I started in mid April.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB AND WHAT IT INVOLVES: The job 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 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.

TELL US AN INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOURSELF: I love being involved with my church, which is Rising Brook Baptist Church, and help to run the running group, Rising Brook Runners.

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