For the first time since Connecting for Good began in Coventry in 2018, we are welcoming a team leader to work alongside our community organisers and further progress the movement’s aims of ending isolation and marginalisation in the city, reforming the system that allows it.
Introducing Laura Fisher to Grapevine! Listen to or read her first interview with us below.
We believe in our Connecting for Good ecosystem. Where the most vulnerable and unseen are no longer made to feel lonely and marginalised but instead have strong relationships and the chance to fulfill their potential – like anyone else.
We are organising local people living and working in Coventry who care about the city and the people within it.
If you would like to get involved, a good place to start is Collaboration Station on the third Wednesday of each month at Esquires Coffee inside Coventry Transport Museum. It’s where ideas go to make friends and creates a space for Coventry locals to come together to collaborate on community led action. If you’re new to the night, email community organiser Gemma to find out more.
What were you doing just before you joined Grapevine?
For almost a decade, I worked in Educational Outreach, also known as Widening Participation. I loved working with young people across Coventry and Warwickshire, empowering them to realise their potential and to dream big with their future aspirations and educational journey.
Some years ago, I had the opportunity to connect with Gemma from the Connecting for Good team and it very quickly became an aspiration of mine to work at Grapevine and now here I am – and it’s even better than I thought it would be!
What other experience will help you with your new role?
I have a vast amount of experience volunteering in my local community. I am a Chair of Governors, Parish Councillor and Trustee at a Creative Optimistic Visions, a community interest company in Coventry. I was also Women’s Officer for my local political party and co-founded a local Intersectional Feminist Group.
My newest project is setting up a support group for those who have experienced sexual violence, assault and abuse*. I am also familiar with being a carer and the distress and isolation you can feel from time to time.
During lockdown I joined a virtual Collaboration Station session where one of the ‘rooms’ aims was to set up a support group for those who are partners of or have family members with ADHD and autism. During this period of my life, the group became a huge support for me and coincidently, Katie who founded the group now also works for Grapevine (on the Accelerate employment support project)!
Why do you do work like this?
As cliché as it may sound, I have always known since I was young that I wanted a career which would allow me to help and support people. Back then I had no idea what a Community Organiser was or that it could be your full-time job. Often people feel like they don’t have the know-how or power to make a change for themselves or their community, so being able to empower local people to come together and do exactly that, means I look forward to getting out of bed and coming to work every day. I’ve quickly learnt that Community Organising is a way of life and I am fully embracing it!
What are you most looking forward to about the role?
Easy – the people! Whether it is the Grapevine team, those who have connected with us or the new people in my community I am yet to meet. I truly believe in the work the Connecting for Good team do to end marginalisation and isolation.
“As a proud Coventrian, I am excited to reconnect with the city and the people who live here and empower them to make lasting, transformative change to our communities.”
A fun fact or skill you’d like to share with us?
I believe I’ve quickly showcased my passion for organisation and being tidy! From transforming the Connecting for Good Office space with the help of the amazing Sian, to my obsession to get the Grapevine bins emptied!
I’m an avid reader, love a good podcast and am a huge 80s film fan. For those of you who are old enough to remember the film, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, my claim to fame is that I have ridden the actual bee from the movie.