Say hello to our new project workers

It’s International Week of Happiness at Work (20 – 26 September) and with two roles going in our Help and Connect team, we’re taking this opportunity to introduce some new staff who’ve recently joined Grapevine.

To read all about the Help and Connect roles and a career with us, please follow this link.

Introducing Sophie Stone, project worker on our Experts by Experience Co-Production Service and Warwickshire Empowerment Service (WES) projects. Both projects sit in our Shifting Power strand of action at Grapevine.

Sophie Stone, project worker at Grapevine. Sophie is a white woman with dark blonde hair, wearing a black jumper and two necklaces
Sophie Stone, Grapevine project worker

Sophie’s five favourite things:

  • Playing netball
  • Spending time with her family and friends
  • Cooking
  • Going to the beach (for a walk or to swim in the sea)
  • Christmas time.

What did you do before joining Grapevine?

I worked as a one-to-one teaching assistant in a primary school for three years.

I loved this job as it gave me the opportunity to work with a variety of children, each with their own unique and wonderful personalities. It was very rewarding to see the progress the children made and it was lovely to see them getting more involved in day-to-day school life without feeling overwhelmed.

After three years, I felt like I wanted a change and to have a bit more variety in my job role. I wanted to experience working with adults and to experience a job which works in the wider community. I am very pleased that with Grapevine I am continuing to help people to feel empowered and strong as an individual.

Before I worked as a teaching assistant, I completed a degree in Psychology at York University. I loved my course and thoroughly enjoyed being in York for three years as a student.

Why do you do work like this?

I want to help people to feel empowered and inspire people to make a change in a community that sometimes overlooks them. I want to help make systems that impact our community fairer and more accessible. I love building relationships with new people and finding out what makes them happy or what they enjoy doing.

What are you looking forward to most about the role?

I’m looking forward to building strong relationships with people in the community and working together to plan creative ways of bringing more people into Grapevine. I’m excited to work together to brainstorm and come up with new ideas that will make a difference to the community.

A fun fact about yourself?

I love Countdown (probably a little bit too much!!). I have the Countdown app on my phone, which I play whenever I have spare time and I play along with a piece of paper when the TV programme is on.

Grapevine project worker Kelly Collie. She is a young white woman with blue eyes and dark straight blonde hair smiling at the camera
Kelly Collie, Grapevine project worker

Next up is Kelly Collie, who joins us on WES too. WES supports people with a disability, learning disability or autism to have their say on how they live their lives and how the services they access are run.

Kelly’s five favourite things:

  • Spending time with friends
  • Going for walks
  • Making cocktails (usually a little too strong!)
  • Cooking (and eating of the cooking!)
  • Watching crime dramas and documentaries.

What did you do before joining Grapevine?

At the age of 19, after a two-year education break, I realised I wanted to work helping others so pursued a Social Work degree.

I qualified in 2010 and worked for 11 years within a range of adult social care teams. I am originally from Kent and moved to the Midlands in 2011. I love living in Warwickshire. I live with my husband, two children and my needy cat, Mr Tom.

Why do you do work like this?

I am a super chatty people person and love meeting new people and hearing about their lives.

Having worked “in the system” for a number of years, I have become hyper-aware of the many injustices and inequalities certain people face within these systems. I am keen to effect some changes and to empower those who otherwise may not have a voice.

What are you looking forward to most about your role?

Meeting new people, learning their stories and making a difference. I am an artsy and creative person and hope to be able to utilise these skills in this role.

A fun fact about yourself?

I love to organise social events and have the nickname “El Capitain” for this reason.