This month we meet Collette Kemp, Walking and Cycling Development Manager at Southend-On-Sea Borough Council. Collette is passionate about encouraging people to take up active travel, especially cycling, and would love for you to join in too!
- When did you start your current role and where had you worked before?
I started working in my current role as Walking and Cycling Development Manager in April 2017, but I have worked at Southend Council for about 20 years! I started as a Cycle Instructor.
- Why did you want to work in active travel?
It’s something I believe in and I think the world would be a better place if more people were to travel this way. There are so many benefits, if you cycle to work you get your daily exercise and fresh air, if you use the bus you get a bit of a walk and there is loads you can do while on the bus, I’ve even ordered a new washing machine on the way to work.
- What’s the best thing about your job?
I love it when people discover the ease and freedom of cycling and have a big smile on their face, or when you teach an adult or child to cycle unaided for the first time.
- What are you working on at the moment?
I’m putting together the travel intervention and services plan for the year ahead. This will include encouraging more walking programmes in businesses, a bike loan scheme we hope to set up to enable those without a bike to try cycling to work, more community bike rides and Dr Bike bicycle maintenance events.
- Tell us about an event that altered the course of your life/and career…
I think it would be being involved in a European project called ‘Bike Friendly Cities’. We were able to travel to other towns in Europe like Middleburg in Holland to see what they did for cycling. It was amazing how forward thinking those countries are, they have high quality safe routes so most of their children cycle to school and most adults cycle to work. It makes the town very quiet and fume free.
- The person who has influenced you the most is…
In my work life it would probably be Paul Mathieson, our Group Manager who has just retired. He was always positive, often came up with new ideas and believed in the benefits of projects we were working on to encourage people to travel actively.
- Work life balance – what leisure activity you enjoy the most?
I do enjoy leisure cycling and I also love getting out in my garden and spending time with my family.
- Something about you people would find surprising…
I used to live on 38ft steel yacht until I was expecting our fist Daughter!
- What’s your greatest fear?
Anything happening to my family.
- Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Probably someone funny like Micky Flanagan so we could have a good laugh!
- What would your super power be?
Make everyone love cycling J
- What’s your favourite/least favourite food?
My favourite would be raspberries and chocolate, least favourite would be most meats but particularly offal, Yuk!
- What’s the worst job you ever had?
When I left school I had a temporary job until college started. I was in a drawing pin factory where I had to put flat boxes in one end of the machine, the machine filled the boxes with drawing pins then I had to close the lids and put the boxes in bigger boxes, so boring!
- What thing would improve the quality of your life?
Having more time.
- What’s coming next for you?
I’m going to be a Grandmother for the first time in November and I’m so excited!