Caroline Taylor-Beswick – Senior Development Manager (from Jan 2022 on secondment with UNICEF UK)

I joined Boingboing in March 2018 and from our base in Blackpool, have been a proud co-leader of world’s first Resilience Revolution ever since! I wanted to join Boingboing because I was (and still am) excited by the research-practice interface, the focus on using a social justice lens when thinking about and applying ideas of resilience, and a commitment to co-production or ‘nothing about us without us’ as has become our mantra. One of the things I really value about being part of the Boingboing community, are the range of opportunities we have to learn, grow and develop. And it’s in the spirit of this learning and development that I am really thankful to have been supported to take up a secondment opportunity with UNICEF UK from January 2022. The secondment will see me take up the role of ‘Programme Manager – North & Scotland’ for the Child Friendly Cities and Communities programme. You can find out more about it here https://childfriendlycities.org/united-kingdom/.

Below, you can read a bit about me before joining Boingboing, and you can also read more about my ongoing role as the Chair of Trustee’s for the Boingboing Foundation here https://www.boingboing.org.uk/the-boingboing-foundation/. I’m particularly excited about the Foundation contributing to the ongoing exploration of ‘activism for resilience’ (A4R), the development of an ‘Activism Lab’ as part of the Resilience Revolution pilot in Blackpool, and trying out participatory grant making as an approach to more inclusive funding and resource allocation.

Before joining Boingboing, I had a range of different work and voluntary roles. I got hooked into community development approaches during my first roles with a Healthy Living Centre initiative, including an exercise referral scheme, walking groups, community allotment and ‘cook and eat’ groups. I was particularly interested in the work engaging with young people, and this led to me undertake post-graduate study to qualify as a Youth and Community Development Worker. Various youth work roles followed, ranging from rural outreach, Young Carers, youth work in a ‘Young Offenders Institution’ to more structured programmes such as running a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Young Leader programmes and Peer Education. Youth voice and participation have always been really important to me, and I went on to manage a countywide Children’s Rights service, offering advocacy and Independent Visitor support to young people who were Looked After by the Local Authority.

This work, alongside my role as a Foster Carer, led to an increased interest in the role of ‘social care’ and in particular the social work profession. I was fortunate to secure a place on the Step Up To Social Work graduate programme, which ultimately led to achieving a an MA in social work. As part of my qualifying journey, I spent time in a multi-disciplinary team with Adult Mental Health services and once qualified was a social worker in a Safeguarding and Assessment team of Children’s Services. These experiences provided me with a more holistic view of how different services and professions should be working together with a family, and how important relationship focused and strengths based approaches are when supporting people / families who for various reasons may be feeling at their most vulnerable. It is these combined experiences that led me to Boingboing and the Resilience Revolution!