Nick Beddow has been a community worker for 38 years, most recently as Community Engagement Specialist for Our Life in North West England. Previously he was the CEO of the national charity CDX Community Development Exchange, and Team Leader and worker at Stockport Council Community Development Team.
He started out as an activist in 1979, joining Nottingham Save Our Nurseries Campaign to defend local childcare nurseries from the cuts: this led to the creation of a community co-operative to run the nursery, with vocal support from a certain Mr Brian Clough. Nick was also a founder member of the National Child Care Campaign.
He has dedicated his energies to ensure that community empowerment is realised in practice by diverse communities: at Our Life, Nick pioneered the creation of a very successful approach to community research, recruiting and training teams of residents to lead their own community engagement. This work inspired a lively Community Action Forum and supported residents in gaining CD Recognition qualifications, attracting international attention for community-led research, with visits from mental health and wellbeing academics from USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and a study visit by community engagement practitioners from seven European countries. This fun led to similar projects across the North West, with South Asian communities researching community awareness of tuberculosis in Blackburn and taking ownership of their issues and dismantling stigma and prejudice.
All of Nick's work is rooted in community-led approaches: he has also supported several Citizens Inquiries to enable residents to delve into local services and issues, leading to residents setting-up a Wellbeing Hub in a disused shop. He sees Asset Based CD as a catalyst for a people-first culture, where “who feels it knows it” and where people take back the power, finding strength within themselves and each other.