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Meet the Working Party

Another post in a series where we get to know a bit about the members of the Greater Creative working party, the team behind all of the creative goings on in the parish. This time it's the turn of Ian Newham.



Which part of the Parish do you live in and what is your connection/history in it?

I have lived in Blackwell for over fifty years. I came to Blackwell at the age of 14 when my father purchased the butcher’s shop and slaughterhouse on Alfreton Road. I have lived in Blackwell ever since except for a period of five years when I lived in Stonebroom when I was married in 1970. I worked for my father in the butcher’s shop taking over when he semi-retired after selling the shops he owned in Sutton in Ashfield. I sold the business some years later and went to work at Stevensons Fabric Dyers in Somercotes where I stated on the exam floor and ended up as information and communications manager. During this time I gained a BA degree with the Open University. It was during this time I was co-opted onto Blackwell Parish Council, became a school governor and was a founding member of Blackwell Residents Action Group where I was treasurer and then chairman. More recently I became Vice Chair of the Doe Hill Park Advisory panel and treasurer and founder member of the Friends of Doe Hill Park group. My last employment was at Nottingham University where I was involved in IT support in the Medical Faculty working in the Medical School at the Queens Medical Centre Nottingham.


What is it like being a part of the Working Party for Greater Creative?

Being part of the working party is in equal measure, exciting, interesting , hard work and sometimes frustrating. It is great to work with people who share your interests, ideals and visions. It gives one a sense of purpose and a great feeling when a project comes together.


What were the reasons you wanted to be involved in Greater Creative?

As a member of Blackwell Parish Council, I thought that I could liaise with the group giving access to any support the council could give. I was also very interested in the historical and social strands in the groups working brief. I wanted to help with what I perceived to be a great initiative which would have benefits for all residents in the parish.


How has covid impacted Greater Creative? Have there been any take-aways from this experience?

Covid stopped any workshops from taking place, made face to face meetings of the working party impossible. On the upside everyone became proficient with Zoom, workshops were taken to the community using ready made kits distributed and collected if necessary when complete by members of the team. Some projects were possible with social distancing an added dimension to the organisation. It made everyone very proficient at “thinking outside of the box”.


What have you personally gained from being involved in Greater Creative? Can you share any learning, surprises, or a challenge you have faced and overcome?

I have personally gained a great deal of satisfaction seeing things coming together despite odds sometimes stacked against them. Being part of a team who work well together, new friendships. Sharing information within the group and further afield.


What are you most proud of achieving so far and why?

I am proud of being part of a team which has achieved so much over the last couple of years, and I am looking forward to another year of further challenges and hopefully successes. Just hope we can continue beyond the end of the current round of projects.


What are you looking forward to doing next in this project?

I am looking forward to continuing my involvement in the creation of the smart phone app which has given me the opportunity to make use of historical documentation that I have researched and put to use my own knowledge of the past.

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