Connect embraces through Trailblazers71 & Choices Community projects a whole spectrum of varying needs, priorities and objectives, even though bound by the principles of inclusion, accessibility and opportunity.
Our Ambassadors are community leaders, from all backgrounds and experiences, but united in their passion and commitment for their area.
Our Ambassadors will continually challenge our Governance and Leadership teams to strive toward new heights in each area.
Ambassador for Music & Arts
Lisa's commitment to Music and the Arts is not just a passion, it's a literal labour of love.
As Director of Drama for students aged 11 to 18, Lisa provides innovative opportunities for young people to express their artistic talents with her distinct and infectious enthusiasm, but her energies don't end at the end of the school day.
Lisa is an Award winning theatre Director producing performances including Bugsy, Seussical - A Musical and the critically acclaimed musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and directed Oh! What a lovely war! for Southampton Operatic Society. She regularly performs herself treading the boards, particularly with her own Murder Mystery shows!
"I have a passion for young people to be involved with the arts for their well being as having a creative output is so important for mental health...."
Lisa is heavily involved in community projects, leading fundraising for local and national charities and has been known to cook a pretty mean cookie too!
Ambassador for the Senior Generation
The global pandemic has affected so many people in so many ways, among them, the impact of isolation and loneliness, particularly our senior generations. There are many reasons why people may be affected, but it is certain that whatever the reason, it definitely plays a significant part in preventing people from being active or playing a part in their own community.
As Ambassador for our Senior Generation, Helen will be focused on helping to develop opportunities which not only include people, but bring cross generational learning and understanding.
Helen explains, "I have a passion for history and learning about the past and what better way than by talking to people about their lives. Older generations are too often sadly undervalued in our modern society, yet they have so much experience and knowledge to teach us and pass on.
For the last five years I have, and continue to, volunteer with Portsmouth based veterans group Project 71, which brings together local WW2 veterans. We meet monthly for a lunch and provide friendship and support in between. We have enjoyed many trips to Europe, taking the veterans to the places they request, often to pay their respects and attend ceremonies. I have learnt so much from these men and women, not only about WW2, but about life, about community, about myself.
More than ever, as more people becoming isolated, marginalised, lonely or excluded, I am passionate about bringing people together to meet, have fun and to feel valued"
Culture & Understanding
Raised on the beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados, university education in the United States and star of TV, Stage & Cruises around the world, professional dancer & well-being lifestyle coach, Crystal Nicholls brings a unique skillset of working within varied and diverse communities where the need for understanding of one another and awareness of different cultures is a vital requirement if there is going to a community truly incorporating unity.
Based just outside London and latterly a part of the cast in Disney's West End Award winning and world renowned blockbuster musical of The Lion King, Crystal's experiences in working across the multitude of communities have taken her into the world of personal wellness where she provides her own coaching and recovery sessions as well as having written a number of articles across the professional media.
Ambassador for Youth Opportunities in Sport
TV presenter and broadcaster Michael Kurn's career has taken him across the globe from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and FIH Hockey World Cup, to working with national and international broadcasters including the Star Sports (India), Super Sport (Africa), Mola TV (Indonesia), BBC and Talk Sport.
Locally, Michael works for Southampton Football Club and Hampshire Cricket on a match day as well as many other community projects.
Michael authored "Life Of A Saint" and is Founder of "Desire Dream Vision" inspiring people to reach out to their goals.
The combination of Michael's own commitment, energy for others and his passion for sport are the perfect combination to champion the rights and opportunities for young people to participate in sport.
DR ABDOULIE SANNEH
Ambassador for Inclusion & Diversity
Dr Abdoulie Sanneh is a pioneer amongst community leaders with an unrivaled passion, commitment and energy for positive transformational change. His vision and dedication to others continues to take action and address pressing social issues within the most deprived areas of our communities.
Dr Sanneh's projects have included programmes of help and support to residents in the local community, where during the pandemic, he oversaw covid secure door to door contact to tackle loneliness and isolation.
He has also been instrumental in the set up of food banks, organised exercise classes, art projects, healthy cooking classes, mindfulness sessions and more to support the most vulnerable, leading to significant positive social change in welfare, community spirit and well-being through inclusion, empowerment and opportunity.
Dr Sanneh also founded and led IKAN, a project set up to transform abandoned alleyways in Southampton into recreational and creative spaces for children's learning and leisure, and social spaces for adults to interact and address local and wider impacting issues. Over an 8 month period, Dr Sanneh and his hard-working team of volunteers collected tonnes of waste, transforming overgrown alleyways from No Go Zones into safer, cleaner, welcoming spaces for all ages to enjoy.
PETER HULL MBE
Ambassador for Inclusion in Sport
Triple Gold Medallist for swimming, Barcelona
Triple World Record Holder
Triple Gold Medallist for swimming, European Championships
GB Swim Captain, World Champions
MBE for Services to Disability Sport
Man of the Year 1985
Ambassador for Dads
Gavin is Dad to two young children, and founder of the network group Top Dad.
Like all Dads, Gavin found the prospect of being a Dad both exciting and frightening at the same time and in equal measure. Gavin's own childhood saw him raised by a single mother who did a simply fantastic job, and without regular contact with his own Dad, something that Gavin was conscious of, but able to utilise in his own fulfillment as a Dad.
Gavin explains why his role as Ambassador for Dads is so important to him, "I want to make sure my children are raised by the best version of me. All who take on the role of a Dad are amazing, but from time to time I don't think that there is a single one of us who will not need support, tools or resources to help us along the way. If we can create a safe, welcoming, accessible and friendly environment for Dads to seek support, ask questions, share experiences so that we can thrive, and so can our children."