We welcome Clare McLean who in January started as the street connector trainee.
Clare has been a member of the street connecting team for a long time and has been active in Firs and Bromford for many years. The new role is about training to be a street connector mentor. To give a bit of an introduction to Clare, we thought it’d be good to hear a bit about her story, about her motivations and why she is excited about this new role.
So Clare, tell us a bit about your story
I was born and bred in Bromford, and have spent most of my life living in the estate. I did have periods where I did move off and just felt that I was just living in a house on a row and I wanted more for my granddaughter. So I moved back. I love Bromford and the people. My mom has always been very heavily involved in the community, and I think I take after her. I am proud to call Bromford my home.
Tell us a bit about the last time you moved away and about your motivation to come back
So I moved purely because the house-owner wouldn’t do any repairs and it got me and my family really down. We needed a new start. So we moved away which was a hard decision but felt right at the time. But we still travelled back to Bromford most days and we’d walk 40 minutes to be ‘home’. Then ultimately we decided to move back. One of my daughters had a baby, Zalaykah, and we wanted her to grow up in an area where people knew us, where people would look out for her.
So tell us a bit more about your involvement in Firs and Bromford
Over the last 10 years I would do everything I could, from after school clubs to youth groups to face painting events, to help the locals school raise a bit of money, anything I could do to help the community.
What are you most passionate about
It’s all about community! When we moved we lived in a row of houses in a lovely street but it wasn’t a community. We would go to the shops and not speak to anyone. I love a community where people mix together and are passionate about where they live. I am passionate about bringing people together, and people realising their worth.
Why are you so passionate about connecting?
A little story about my daughter. When she had a child she felt isolated again, she didn’t go out and we were encouraged too come down to the Real Junk Food Kitchen and see what’s going on. So I managed to get Chloe out and there were so many people chatting. All sorts of people from the neighbourhood connecting with each other, sharing food, putting things together, finding opportunities to do more together. From bringing Chloe out led on to so many more things, I now can’t keep her in. I saw and experienced the difference that simply connecting with people can make, and how important it is to be in a community that comes together and looks out for each other.
What excites you about becoming the street connector trainee.
It gives me more opportunities to grow. I want to learn a lot more about myself. I think I’ve come a long way in the last few years, gaining more confidence and that is by putting myself out there speaking to people, and I’ve come to know my own worth and value. I think I can offer that to other people.
Instead of sitting in the hub and hoping people come to us, we can go knocking a door to have a conversation and listen to bring out a bit of confidence, and this might help people step out and gain their self-worth and confidence.
Clare we look forward to this next phase of your journey and our street connecting story as you step into this street connector trainee role and flourish.