Social care background driving business connector’s agenda
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A former nurse says his passion for social care will be a driving force behind his plans to connect businesses and charitable organisations in a Norfolk coastal town.
Trevor Edwards, business connector for Great Yarmouth, plans to focus on employment, education, local enterprise and social cohesion during his year in post.
After leaving school Mr Edwards, 54, trained as a nurse in central London – 'a strange thing for a man to do' in the 1980s, but which set the foundations for his strong social awareness.
'I came into contact with a lot of people from the streets, that was quite an eye opener for someone of the tender age of 19.
'My career in the civil service took me away from the coal face of social care, so it is nice to come back to a job which brings me into contact with the social sector.
'I have got a huge amount of enthusiasm and a desire to make a difference.'
Since being seconded to his post from the Department for Work and Pensions in December, Mr Edwards has already helped to connect charities in the borough to businesses who have offered IT support, recruitment advice and accountancy and HR services.
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He is beginning to work with primary and secondary schools to signpost them to available business support, to improve pupil attainment and open up employment opportunities.
A recent achievement was helping Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Colleges to bid for four reconditioned car engines, donated by Vauxhall, for use in mechanical engineering classes.
Mr Edwards also hopes to find time to work on social housing projects, following the introduction of universal credit to Great Yarmouth and the subsequent effect on its rental market and homeless population.
He is also working to form a Great Yarmouth Dementia Action Alliance, for which he hopes to bring together community organisations, charities and businesses.
Managed by Business in the Community (BITC) under the umbrella of the Prince's Trust, the business connector scheme aims to build lasting links between companies and the communities they work in, focusing on more deprived areas.
Norwich and Thetford have also been allocated business connectors in the three-year programme.