Meet Simon Claridge
What are your areas of expertise?
Leadership and Management, Personal Development, Health and Wellbeing, Informal Education, Human Development and Sociology, Coaching and Mentoring and Social Value, capacity building of third sector organisations to better work with construction.
What roles have you held and for which organisations?
- Curriculum Youth Officer for the City of Westminster Youth Service
- Head of Learning and Health for Centrepoint
- Head of Youth Services – Peabody Housing
- Director of Programmes – Mentor UK
- Associate Lecturer in Youth and Community Work – Goldsmiths College
- Associate Lecture in Human Development, Informal Education and Sociology – YMCA George Williams College
What inspired you to work in the charity sector?
I began my career on an Adventure Playground working as a volunteer and almost from the very start I loved it, particularly working with children and young people, but also with families. I realised that by displaying empathy, showing respect, maintaining boundaries that it was possible to work with people in partnership and tackle challenges and celebrate joys together. That led to the realisation that, working in the charity sector, there are so many opportunities to think creatively, to develop and discharge new and innovative ideas, and to make a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society.
What attributes do you bring to your work?
Empathy, Creativity, Collaboration, Listening, Honesty, and most importantly, Humour.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Having the informal education curriculum I designed and developed for the City of Westminster Youth Service being recognised as Excellent by OfSTED.
What’s the most intriguing consultancy project you’ve worked on?
The work I did with a leading construction company, helping them to consider how best to achieve meaningful outcomes for communities as a result of their Social Value responsibilities, and helping them to work with stakeholders in a much more collegiate and collaborative way using Appreciative Inquiry methods.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
It’s a quote from the football manager Carlo Ancelotti in his autobiography: “People don’t care what you know, as long as they know you care.”
And the best you’ve ever given?
As above to a team of young managers I was working with.
Who have been your role models?
I’m an Arsenal fan, so for me it’s Arsene Wenger, in my opinion one of the greatest football and also people managers of all time and someone I aspire to even though we’re not that far apart in age.
Nelson Mandela, 28 years in prison under apartheid and he still had compassion and kindness.
What makes you laugh?
This joke: A guy goes to the doctor and says, “Doc, I think I’m a moth.” The doctor says, “Sorry, you don’t need to see me, you really need to see a psychiatrist.” The guy says, “I know that, Doc, but your light was on.”
What makes you cry?
Cruelty in all its forms.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Cherishing each day. I’m in Greece a lot of the time and the mornings are invariably, at least now, warm, peaceful and beautiful. Who would want to miss that!
How do you relax?
Photography. It gets me out and about and you cannot but look at the world differently.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who made people laugh more than they might ordinarily have done.