My name is Catherine Chadwick-Rayner and most people call me Cathy. I am the Networks and Outreach Coordinator for Breaking Down Barriers. I am a people-person with a wealth of working experience within our wonderful communities across West Yorkshire, as well as further afield, working as a past volunteer in Romania whilst I was studying for my BA Community Studies Degree. I also have lived experience, as a member of my family has Russell Silver Syndrome, and I am passionate about improving lives.
Prior to my exciting role with Breaking Down Barriers. I worked for 5 years on another Lottery Funded project called SAFER, (Scams And Frauds Education for Residents), where I raised awareness about scams, running over 275 community workshops with vulnerable adults (including physical and sensory impairments, Dementia, and Learning Disabilities), older people groups and later young people – focusing on communities within West Yorkshire’s priority neighbourhoods (disadvantaged areas). The workshops created a safe space to talk about experiences of being scammed, tactics used by scammers and helped to empower participants in spotting and avoiding financial abuse, knowing where to seek help and where to report.
I also ran over 110 Frontline Worker training sessions with organisations such as NHS staff and their outreach departments, GP Practices, Adult Social Care teams, Carers, Mental Health organisations, Housing, Youth Workers, Victim Support, West Yorkshire Police and Fire Services, all with the aim of equipping them with the skills to spot signs of financial abuse of the individuals they came into contact with, how to support, safeguard and signpost them for help. In 2019, I was delighted to receive a West Yorkshire Police Commendation for my joint work with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service on a scam’s prevention initiative.
Besides designing and running workshops, training sessions and attending community events, as a creative person I have used various methods to engage with communities such as; appearing on Talking Newspaper Radio; writing scripts for a safeguarding video as well as a voluntary theatre group who performed at community events and with Learning Disability groups; creating a CD of scam scenarios and safety tips; and appearing on Kirklees Local Television to raise awareness about scams.
I also have 9 years’ working experience of policing in the roles of Community Constable, Police Trainer and Domestic Violence Coordinator, engaging with communities, schools and supporting victims of crime.
I am looking forward to utilising all my skills and I’m excited to be going on this journey of Breaking Down Barriers.