Publish Date: 25/04/2013
Meet Martin Cooper, Community Engagement Officer at The LGF
How did you get started at The LGF?
I was working in commercial radio in Lancashire as a presenter but felt I had more to offer from a creative point of view. I’ve always loved helping people and am a keen charity campaigner, volunteer and patron too so a move into this field felt natural. I have worked with all corners of the community all my life, so community engagement really is my specialist subject!
Describe your role in one sentence
To deliver the messages and services of the LGF to as many people as we can outside of our Community Resource Centre.
What does a usual day entail?
Goodness, what a question! There’s really no such thing as a usual day. We could be delivering sexual health clinics, talking to people about homophobia, delivering magazines and resources, doing consultation work with the community, attending meetings with business owners, the police, sexual health workers… it’s the most varied job I’ve ever had!
What is your proudest achievement?
One of our amazing work programs – The Village Angels – was nominated for a Manchester City Council Be Proud Award this year. I was beaming!
What is the best part of your job?
Meeting the people. Regardless of their sexual orientation, beliefs, race, gender, age… everyone has a story to tell or a view point that is different to your own. Listening to how they feel and what they think can help to shape you as a person and really alters your own outlooks on life. People are amazing.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Sometimes you can meet people who are in very precarious and difficult positions in their lives. You have to help them find their own paths and support them as best you can, but often their decisions are influenced by factors outside of their control. It can be very difficult to listen to how hurt people have been by the way they are treated by their communities or even their own families. I just take solace in knowing that theye have found a friend in us.
What or who inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by people I meet through my work. Anyone can take inspiration from someone else if you’re willing to learn from their experiences and listen to their stories.
What keeps you awake at night?
I am a forward thinker. I develop all my creative ideas as I settle down to sleep as that’s my only quiet time! If I can’t visualise something I’m trying to develop it gets harder to drift away. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s the way I’ve always worked! I usually sleep like a log though!
The best piece of advice you have ever been given?
You can only play the hand you’ve been dealt. I think I advised it to myself!
Your top tip for a work/life balance?
Have clear boundaries. If you are working have your work head on, if you are on downtime, relax. The work will still be there when you get back! Oh, and make lists… lots of lists. Writing things down stops them living in your brain!