I joined SAVTE in May 2023 as the Operations Director having over 30 years experience in the charity sector in Higher Education and Outdoor Education. My role is to support the team that delivers all our provisions for learners whether that be training our volunteers who do the 1:1 English language support; over 25 Conversation Groups and a range of ESOL classes delivered by the team.
But my first experience of SAVTE was back in 1985 when I volunteered as a ‘Home Tutor’ for a Yemeni woman who lived locally. For a period of about 9 months, I visited my learner weekly and helped her to develop her English language skills so that she would feel confident to go shopping, access her GP etc without the need for an interpreter or to be accompanied by her husband who was working at one of the steelworks. Years later, inspired by my SAVTE experience I set up a Lingua Club at the University of Sheffield Students’ Union to train home student volunteers to support family members of our students who did not speak English.
This story of my own experience of how SAVTE was such an important part of my own development makes me so proud now to be supporting the team to continue this valuable work. We have come a long way since 1985 but at our core is the recognition that our work with our volunteers and staff really makes a difference.
Outside of work, my real passion is getting into the water – the colder the better! And I also love running and walking in the Peaks with my family, friends and my dog.