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Hello from our new leaders

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

Hello Castlefieldians

As some of you will know, Carol Middleton announced at our AGM that she is to step down as Chair. At our Trustee meeting last week, I was elected as the new Chair and Lou Pullen was elected as Vice Chair.

I wanted to write to you my first post as your Chair. It’s an incredible honour and I’m humbled to have been chosen by the Trustees to lead Castlefield Forum. Lou Pullan joins me as our highly capable new Vice Chair, James Bowers will continue in his excellent role as secretary and Giles Grover will continue to support as Treasurer while also taking a lead in the brilliant cause which is Manchester Cladiators (and indeed you may even have caught him in the media). Thank you to all of them and to the rest of the Trustees for their commitment and experience that they bring to the Forum.

Part of this post is so I can introduce myself but also very importantly to thank Carol for all the incredible work that she has done over the last decade. The Forum would not be where it is today without her time, tenacity and can-do attitude. Thankfully you will be pleased to know that Carol will remain as a Trustee and has agreed to mentor me to keep me on the straight and narrow.

A bit of a background to me. I’ve been a Castlefield resident since 2006 and have been involved in the Forum since its inception. I soon joined the Committee and eventually became Vice Chair. Since becoming a charitable incorporated organisation I became a Trustee and remained in the Vice Chair position. Over the years, I’ve been involved with various initiatives including kicking off the Roman Gardens regeneration project with our sadly departed friend Ian Christie, through to leading on our Spirit of Place initiative with the National Trust, which will be pivotal in taking Castlefield forward for the next decade and beyond. On a side note, we will be sharing our thoughts on this with you in the coming months.

I work full time in a corporate role; my day job takes me into the world of product development so I’m used to juggling different problem spaces, multiple stakeholders and occasionally, complex problems. Ultimately though I always believe that you get a better outcome by working together and so my mantra at work is similar to how I approach things at the Forum and that is that it’s a team sport. We will always get a better result with diverse thought and opinion. I may be Chair but I believe in collaboration and a flat hierarchy.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce Lou Pullan, our new Vice Chair.

Lou has lived all over the world but has been in Manchester for 11 years; like me, she’s a proud adopted Manc. She became involved in the Forum after being a founder of Britannia Basin Community Forum (still active) as a way to strengthen the community feel and improve the Hulme side of Castlefield. In her own words, Lou “is passionate about the people of the area and making the whole of Castlefield a great place to live and visit”.

In her day job she works with a national sports team on kit operations so is used to thinking creatively, problem-solving and working with people from all walks of life: all skills that she can put to good use as Vice Chair.

To end, it’s really important that you feel connected to the Forum so please keep in touch on any of our social media channels and please continue to support our work whether it’s through volunteering, joining one of our action groups or attending our quarterly meetings now that they are back. Indeed, we look forward to seeing many of you at our next public meeting, be it online (likely) or in person (sadly unlikely). We shall have to wait-and-see!

Finally, nobody could replicate what Carol has done and achieved; please keep me honest and I will do my best for you and for Castlefield as I help guide the Forum through the next phase of our evolution. There are some exciting times ahead but first we have to all get through this pandemic together.

Best wishes,

Calum McGowan & Lou Pullan

Chair & Vice Chair

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