A Day In The Life Of… Amanda Johnlewis, Programme Manager for Growing Health Together and a new member of our Inclusion Network

“I am programme manager for the Growing Health Together (GHT) a place based approach to prevention and health creation, which not only supports people living and working in communities across East Surrey to collaborate but also support them in order to co-create conditions in which everyone’s health and wellbeing can flourish. I have worked in this role for just over a year now and it is very eclectic. I work with the GHT Leads from each of the five PCNs – North Tandridge, South Tandridge, Horley, Reigate and Merstham and Redhill – supporting them with various administrative requirements, such as bid writing, obtaining their monthly updates to submit to Surrey Heartlands, as well as maintaining an up-to-date overview of their activity on the GHT website. I also seek out new funding opportunities and keep abreast of opportunities for the Director of the initiative – Dr Gillian Orrow – to promote our work. This can be both national and international and includes speaker opportunities and connections with statutory, voluntary and citizen-led organisations.

My average day encompasses all of the above, perhaps mostly responding to emails from the Director, who may have a variety of requests that she would like me to action, such as website updates, contacting various individuals, arranging meetings, as well as investigating opportunities and meeting the community.

I love the mix of the role. And particularly love meeting members of the community, establishing new relationships, forging new pathways of wellbeing and getting the monthly updates from the GHT leads. I really like the result following bid writing/supporting a voluntary organisation or GHT lead and having a successful outcome.

I was inspired to become an Inclusion Champion for ABC following a meeting with Jasmine and Lena about Black History Month. The consensus during those discussions was that understanding about black history should not be confined to one month. Also, I wanted to provide an objective and wider view point of black history that goes beyond what is taught at school or written about in the media, and instead acknowledges the rich history of black culture within Britain – which did not begin with the Windrush.

I would like the learning to be reciprocal. I hope that I can educate about black culture/history/life whilst at the same time gaining an understanding from others.
In the words of Cormac Russel, ‘There has been a damage-centric point of view written and portrayed about black and brown people’. Little by little, I would love for people to think ‘I have learned something new today’ and have an open mind.

Initially, I plan to provide a variety of chats and open sessions. I would also like to hear what others have to say and tailor the role accordingly. I think the Inclusion Champion role is an evolving one and I want to see how I can work with ABC and others to develop my own understanding too. There are several sayings about the value of learning, and I support the sentiment behind the idea that ‘we are always learning’. ABC’s Inclusion Network hopefully allows us to ALL learn ALL the time, but it is up to us what we do with that new found knowledge.”