People living in Paganhill and Farmhill have welcomed Paganhill Community Group’s first paid community hub manager, Laurie Davies.
Jaqui Smith, Chair of Paganhill Community Group CIC said: “We received a grant to fund a 20-hour-a-week post for two years, match funded by Stroud District Council and Gloucestershire County Council Public Health and after interviewing several people, we selected Laurie.
“She has joined us at a key time; we are gradually re-opening The Octagon off Farmhill Lane as a Community Hub with a range of activities for residents of all ages in addition to our food hub. We are also planning a survey of local people with the help of Stroud Town Council and the University of Gloucestershire.”
Laurie will be based in The Octagon Community Hub and will also be out and about in Farmhill and Paganhill to hear residents’ ideas and signpost any help or support needed.
Her appointment is a welcome relief for Jaqui and fellow directors of the Paganhill Community Group Community Interest Company – Sally-Anne Wherry and Haydn Sutton – as she will take on a lot of the day-to-day work in the community off their shoulders.
Paganhill Community Group has been a focal centre of support for local residents in Farmhill and Paganhill during the pandemic, running an essential food hub and growing and sharing vegetables, delivering shopping and collecting prescriptions for people isolating.
Laurie said: “I am so excited about my new job, and I’m really busy, learning more about the local community, meeting as many residents as possible and starting the hard work needed to build upon the amazing work and commitment that has made Paganhill Community Group the amazing community asset that it is.”
Previously, Laurie worked as a Project Coordinator for the Gloucestershire Community Foundation, as a Senior Caseworker for former MP David Drew and as a Project Coordinator for a youth charity in Bristol helping young people set up their own community-focused social action projects.
She has also been on the Stroud Town Council for five years and was recently elected as District Councillor for the area she lives in – known as the ‘top of town’.
Laurie grew up in Stroud and went to Archway School. She left the area at 19 but came back seven years ago to raise her son.