Q&A: Kate Belinis, chief executive officer for the Community Development Agency for Hertfordshire
PUBLISHED: 16:16 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:57 21 February 2013
Kate Belinis, chief executive officer for the Community Development Agency for Hertfordshire, based in Hatfield, takes time out to talk to Louise McEvoy about major plans in the pipeline and her organisation's biggest challenges
What does your role involve?
My role is to deliver services for communities to access with our support, and to collaborate with strategic public agencies to form relevant strategies and policies to address issues.
How long have you been in your role and what do you most like/dislike about your job?
I have been in post since June 2006 and what I like most is working with and for some extraordinary people and communities in Hertfordshire. What I dislike most is spending a lot of time filling in applications for our sustainable funding and resources.
What are some of the main issues you address in your bid to build sustainable rural communities?
A prime issue is access to services for people living in rural and peri-urban (less than 10,000 residents) areas. Services are declining as providers consolidate their services without much consultation and without realising the impact on people living and working in rural areas. Transport continues to be difficult for all age groups without access to their own vehicles and public transport is poor and inconvenient.
How do you address these?
Our role is to produce information, evidence and real case studies which will influence strategy at local, regional and national levels.
What major projects are you currently undertaking?
We are developing our newly formed trading company, Enterprise Herts CIC, and projects being progressed include producing bio-diesel from waste cooking oils and integrated community transport across Hertfordshire. We are also working with housing associations and councils to deliver affordable social housing.
How do you prioritise projects?
Our priorities are based on evidence provided by the communities. Their needs form the basis for delivery.
What are your organisation's main concerns/challenges in Hertfordshire today?
We are struggling, on behalf of communities, to get voices heard. With many targets to meet and different approaches used it is hard to get messages across at times, but this is our work. Somehow people think we can do our work without funding.
Has the credit crunch affected your work?
Yes. Organisations responsible for community buildings are finding it more difficult to access funding to carry out improvements. Several projects have been put on hold.
Can residents get involved with the organisation?
Yes. We are looking for trustees/directors to help with strategic influencing, building up funding and spreading the word about our work. Also help in our office would be very helpful. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you were given 10,000 to spend on a project, where would you spend it and why?
We would start a community garden and caf with locally grown produce so local communities can grow themselves into sustainable entrepreneurs.
Where in Hertfordshire do you live?
I have lived in Ware since 1989. We moved from London due to a job opportunity and schooling for our sons. It was very attractive to live locally to my job and receive first class schooling for our children.
What is your favourite place in Hertfordshire and why?
The towpath between Ware and Hertford is one of the best in all seasons! You meet such interesting people walking, jogging, cycling or passing by on the river in boats. Then rest in a good eatery in Hertford and back home - a good way to relax.