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Awards Spotlight - Vickie Heydon-Matterface, Brownhills and Willenhall Methodist Circuit

Introducing Vickie Heydon-Matterface, Brownhills and Willenhall Methodist Circuit, Inspiring Youth Award Winner

How would you explain what you do to someone completely unfamiliar with your work, and what is your favourite aspect of your job?

I am a pioneer within the Methodist Church, with particular focus on children and schools. This includes working with schools and local families to help equip them with knowledge and information to help them understand more about the Christian faith. I love storytelling, especially when I can use my props because this really brings a story to life and you can see the reactions on the children’s faces.

What is your proudest moment from the work you’ve done in your community?

I was really pleased to be able to enhance our longstanding ‘experience’ sessions for schools using the Leamore Garden to teach about Christian Festivals in exciting and innovative ways, which support and enhance the RE curriculum within primary schools. The teachers were really appreciative, and it was great for the children to see these special stories acted out in full costume and get to ‘meet the characters’. When they stepped into our “stable” and saw the Christmas characters arranged around the manger their eyes were alight with wonder and it was a real ‘wow’ moment.

What floats your boat outside of work?

I love watching comedy and attended a stand-up course in London. I think if you can make people laugh, it’s a really good way to make a personal connection. Otherwise, I enjoy cooking, gardening and reading.

What is your vision for Walsall in the next five years, especially within your sector? What would need to happen and what support would be needed to make it a reality?

My vision for Walsall in the next five years is that the full range of its people’s cultures and ethnic backgrounds are celebrated and highlighted to create colourful and diverse creative opportunities. Walsall has some wonderful history, and it would be great to really put it on the map for being an inspirational, inclusive and diverse borough.

Inter-faith work and celebration events of diverse cultures have already begun. I attended a wonderful event last year at Forest Arts Centre with demonstrations, performances and workshops from different groups and it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of working together in the future. Networking and showcase events are a good way to highlight individual group contributions and raise awareness of some smaller groups. We need to support smaller groups and businesses, help and encourage them to move forward and thrive together.

What have you learnt from the last six-eight months that you will be applying in your area of work going forward?

I think it’s important to re-evaluate what it is that you are wanting to achieve and identify specific things that are helping or hindering you from doing this. At a time when there has been a surge of online engagement, I can see the importance of moving forwards digitally, but with the increase in cases of personal isolation and mental health issues there must be a hybrid (or mix of both) approach to planning for the future. Some people are missing out due to not being able to access online platforms so it’s even more important to think of creative ways to engage with and help others.


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