Meet your neighbourhood manager
What is your background?
I’m from the North of England but I have been in Edinburgh for 30 years. I was originally a botanist and lectured at Edinburgh University, but moved into social work 20 years ago. I started at the City Centre Neighbourhood Office in December 2008, coming from homeless and housing support.
Why did you switch from botany to social work?
I wanted to move on from academia which I found stifling. I always had a keen interest in social issues.
What are the challenges of the job?
It’s a busy area and it’s a challenge to make sure work around the trams doesn’t have a detrimental impact on the amenities for everyone else.
What is your favourite part of Edinburgh?
I like the feel of the Grassmarket and the views from it, the location of Princes Street is the most astonishing city centre you can get, views from Calton Hill over Leith and across to Fife.
There are many different aspects to Edinburgh, all of which have strong visual appeal.
Who has influenced you?
My very first professor of Botany, when I was a student in Wales. He died recently and many of us who worked with him have been pulling together recollections and memories. He brought a sense of wonder to academia. I’ve also been influenced by many of the senior managers I have worked alongside.
What do you treasure most in life?
Apart from my children, my motorbike and my concertina.
I’d love to speak to Darwin, but anyone with a sense of enquiry – Richard Dawkins, for example.