6th April


Switch on to Swindon Ambassador event

Front cover of The Switch on to Swindon book - switch on to swindon ambassador event

Back in January (dear God, that seems like yesterday – Eeeek) I wrote this blog post about the launch of the Switch on to Swindon initiative.


Today, an event was held at the NSBRC (the national self build and renovation centre) for all the peope, like moi, that have signed up to be ambassadors for Switch on to Swindon.

An aside: the NSBRC is GREAT. Fabulous venue. I was only marginally more interested in networking and the event than I was in the displays.

So of course dear listeners, I was going to write something up about it on this here blog about it all. But then I happened to see an article on LinkedIn from Shirley Hensher. And I thought – y’know what, she’s said it all well enough so why bother reinventing the wheel?

So with her permission, here’s Shirley’s responses to today’s event:

Why I have “Switched On To Swindon”

This morning, I joined a host of like-minded individuals at the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (great venue, good coffee) for the second Switched On To Swindon event.  Here we learned more about the initiative and the role we ambassadors can play in championing our town. “Our town”? I hear you say. “Shirley, since when did Swindon become your town?” Good question. I have finally recognised that this is my 25th year here and I have lived here longer than anywhere. My friends are here, most of my work has been here, I run here and I find it difficult to imagine living anywhere else without a lottery win or some serious compromises on quality of life. Oh yes, I also met my husband here. So, if Swindon isn’t my town, where is? 

My thinking was cemented at this morning’s meeting when Richard James (of the estate agency) introduced a great strap line for Swindonians; “I am in a good place right now”.  Boy, did that resonate with me! 

Like many people based in Swindon, I was relocated here by my employer and couldn’t see myself staying longer than I had to.  But Swindon has been good to me.  I have had local, or easily accessible, job opportunities, a great choice of places to live and beautiful countryside on the door step (what a great place to be as a runner). 

There is also a fab sense of community and communities; for sport, the arts, businesses and the town itself.  More importantly, I have sensed in recent years that people are increasingly willing to make things happen in the town, to stand up and be counted, to invest and to stop waiting for the “powers that be” to do something. There is capability and creativity here which the Switched On To Swindon initiative is tapping into and which we all benefit from and should celebrate.  Believe me, I am not blind to Swindon’s faults.  It is tempting to share my list of them given that I have lived with them long enough.  But I won’t.  Instead, from now on I will focus on the town’s potential and tell anyone who is interested “I am in a good place right now”!’

Now if I’m going to be frank listeners, I’d take issue with one thing that Richard James said. And that was about a negative perception of Swindon being that it’s an industrial, working-class town. Hmmm… and?! What, exactly, is wrong with that?

Instead of trying to hide the fact that Swindon was/is a working class industrial town, embrace it and be proud of it. It’s what made Swindon what it is after all.

AND – we can’t all be business owners can we? If we were who’d work in the businesses? #justsaying

BUT that aside – I liked a lot of what he said. I loved his passion. And I do love the strapline: “I am in a good place right now”.  Because you know what? We are. Swindon IS a good place. 

Here endeth the lesson.

PS: Shirley Hensher is also The Change Agent.

Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shirley.hensher

View the film created for the Switch on to Swindon launch – Swindon’s in motion: