Power to Change welcomes three community business leaders to the board

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Sarah Gorman, Melissa Mean and Jess Steele OBE have all joined the board of Power to Change, the charitable trust strengthening community business to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.
3 Mar, 2022

The new trustees bring direct experience of community business leadership to the board, as well as a deep understanding of the issues affecting our neighbourhoods.

Tim Davies-Pugh, interim CEO of Power to Change, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Sarah, Melissa and Jess to the board. As community business leaders they have been pivotal in shaping and informing the work we do to create better places and powerful communities. To have them as trustees further ensures that community businesses are kept at the heart of the organisation.”

Sarah Gorman

Sarah Gorman is the chief executive officer of a vibrant community business called Edberts House, based in Gateshead. Working with local people, the organisation builds happier, healthier, friendlier communities. Sarah began 11 years ago as the only employee and has built a team of around 40 paid staff and 50 volunteers, initiating change through locally led community houses and addressing the wider determinants of health through social prescribing.

Melissa Mean

Melissa Mean works across urbanism, the arts, technology, and public participation. Her work has ranged from creating the UK’s largest urban beach on a disused carpark in Bristol, to setting up a pop-up furniture factory for community manufacturing. She is the founding director of We Can Make, a community-led housing programme which is part of Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol. We Can Make unlocks micro-sites for affordable homes, using digital fabrication tech to localise production and build community wealth.

Jess Steele

Jess Steele has nearly 30 years’ experience as a local community activist and entrepreneur in Hastings, and at national level as deputy chief executive of the British Urban Regeneration Association and director of Innovation at DTA/Locality, including leading the development and delivery of the Meanwhile Project, the campaign against delinquent ownership, and the national Community Organisers programme. Jess specialises in supporting ambitious local projects to rescue and repurpose the most challenging of precious buildings across England and Wales. Jess was part of the Community Business Panel back in 2015 when Power to Change was first launched. She also nurtured and coordinated the Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust to support bottom-up development and bring local property into community ownership.

Recruiting new board members with community business experience will complement our existing board skillset and help lead us through our 2022-2025 strategy. We are recruiting more board members in 2022, and we are looking to further include people with a range of different lived experiences, particularly those within the community business sector itself.