BRONWEN HEWITT MBE
I retired from my role as CEO of a large charity for children, young people and adults with disabilities two years ago, however my passion for working in the area hasn't gone away and the need for better services still grows. I wanted to be part of creating a community, and a sense of belonging to meet that need; and The Kintsugi Project is a wonderful way to do that. I offer experience with charities and social enterprises, financial management, large build projects, staff and volunteer teams, strategic leadership, events, fundraising, sustainability and ‘mucking in.' More importantly I believe in the power of people and have a real will to change the way society views people with disabilities. The sense of belonging and wellbeing that a strong and open community gives to everyone is life changing and something that I value deeply. Let’s challenge the status quo and create a community together where everyone can be a part of it, sharing their skills, forging friendships and enjoying the fun and laughter that is on offer.
I am a Clinical and Community Psychologist and have worked across the public and third sector with people with mental health difficulties, Autism and learning disabilities for most of my working life. I have close family and friends with disabilities and mental health difficulties so have witnessed how difficult access to both services and a community can be. This drives my passion for working with Community Psychology ideas which tell us that the whole is more than the sum of its parts and that changing our communities is the key to improving wellbeing for us all. Being part of the The Kintsugi Project is a way for me be involved in putting those ideas into action and have some fun along the way!
I have a son with autism and learning difficulties and have been a carer for him since 1991. I have experienced first hand the lack of support available for him and his friends to join communities that offer them something interesting and accessible which is why The Kintsugi Project has been so important to me. I'm also a keen gardener and have worked alongside people from the military who have disabilities and mental health difficulties and am keen to see a space where they can join a community with others with similar difficulties and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
I'm a musician, armchair philosopher and survivor. I have extensive first-hand experience of mental health services, and have struggled with the prefabricated nature of treatment, and poor integration of the social elements of mental illness. I strongly believe in the power of collective action to improve one’s environment and self. The Kintsugi project is a way for me to cultivate that communal space for myself and others, and to build a space where everyone can thrive and benefit from having a sense of place and community.
After experiencing first hand the lack of support and the isolation that so many feel when going through mental health difficulties, I found myself at The Kintsugi Project looking for connection, friendship and a purposeful way back into work after my mental health struggles.
I wanted to be a part of creating a space not just for myself but somewhere where everyone is welcome no matter what their situation, disability or health difficulty.
When the opportunity arose for me to be a key point of access for local people who needed access to a community fridge, I jumped at the chance to continue to develop something that is desperately needed in our local community.
The community fridge project not only helps to reduce food waste and stop hundreds of thousands of tons of perfectly good food from going to landfill by simply redistributing it, but it also helps to alleviate those experiencing food insecurity.
Together we are creating a community that is accessible to everyone with no questions and no judgement.
Being involved with the community fridge project has continued to show me how important it is to not only help provide food and basic essentials to anyone that needs it, but that it is just as valuable to provide a place that enhances human connection, compassion and belonging to those around us, but also being able to provide a voice for anyone that has lost theirs .