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Cheers, Miss Shears



If you’ve used a support service in Swansea at any time since 2017, this face may well be familiar to you. If it isn’t, that’s because it belongs to someone who helped set that service up, or improve it, or connect people to it, then quietly stepped back from the limelight and let others take credit while she focused on improving people’s lives.


Emma Shears became Local Area Co-ordinator covering Brynhyfryd, Manselton, Cwmbwrla, Cwmdu and Gendros six and a half years ago. The value and credibility of Local Area Coordination rests with the capacity of its people to connect individuals with services that give them practical, emotional and clinical support. Emma has underlined that value and burnished that credibility every day. She’s been a rock for people facing inequality, isolation and exclusion. She’s reached out to people in and at risk of crisis. She’s kick-started community initiatives, delivered thought leadership for ideas needing discussion and practical leadership for projects needing direction. She’s been the unifying, trusted, accessible figure who acted with clear purpose, always serving the interests of those around her.


Thursday March 28th is Emma’s last day as a Local Area Co-ordinator. Like many successful leaders she’s transcended her job title and become precisely the professional people needed, when they needed it. That’s been good news for the people of Swansea and set the bar very high for whoever comes next. How high? These quotes, three of many shared with the People’s Library, will give you an idea.

 

“If not for Emma, I’d have been stuck in my house every day for the past two years. With her support, I’ve joined community groups, made new friends and enjoyed my life to the full.”

 

“My mother lives in Manselton and during the Covid-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions meant I couldn’t be there for her the way I wanted to. If not for the dedication and compassion of Emma Shears, my mother would not have lived through lockdown.”

 

“Emma doesn’t need a job title to be a leader. Since I started work as a Local Area Co-ordinator she’s been the one I turned to for advice and support, and she’s been the role model for every new member of the team who wanted to make a positive difference. She’s never let any of us down and she’s never let any of her service users down. I don’t know what we’re going to do without her.” 


For the past six and a half years, Emma has been the face, the heart and the strategic brain of Local Area Co-ordination in South Wales. Her dedication has sparked a flourishing of citizen, community and service partnerships and projects, and a notable change in individual attitudes.


True leaders encourage others to become leaders, and many of the people now considered community leaders in Swansea have been inspired to step forward and use their talents by this exceptional professional.


In recent weeks the People’s Library has been inundated with messages from service users wondering who’ll give them the hands-on support she’s always made time for, service providers wondering who’ll deliver the productive, win-win partnerships she’s always had the talent and judgement for, and members of the Local Area Coordination team wondering who’ll motivate them and mentor them with the leadership skills that she’s shown unselfishly and unobtrusively, day after day, month after month and year after year.


We don’t know the answers to those questions. What we do know is that Emma will remain active in the community in the new role of Co-production and Social Value Officer. She’ll still be focused on giving people a voice and a choice in how they live their lives. And she’s leaving a legacy of accomplishment and a network of support.


Cheers, Miss Shears.


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