Our Members

The Paganhill Community Group was set up by local people in Farmhill and Paganhill in 2017. In 2019 it became a Community Interest Company (company number 11757922).

Our Members give their time to help make Farmhill and Paganhill a better place to live. We use an Asset Based Community Development (ABDC) approach which is all about encouraging our Members to develop and use their own skills and strengths to help and support each other, building confidence and a stronger, safer community.

During the pandemic our main role has been sharing good food with good neighbours, while cutting food waste.

Paganhill Community Group believes in working with what is strong, and not what is wrong. We believe that all should be included and welcomed, and that, should you have a burning interest or idea for a project, you are welcome to bring it to the group. You will have a buddy to help you settle in.

Neighbours helping Neighbours.

Meet some of our Members: Claire Connell, Emily Howgate, Eric Walters, Beth Whittaker and Heidi Wicks.

Name: Claire Connell

Role in Paganhill Community Group and brief description of what you do:
Along with Heidi Wicks, I co-ordinate the food hub at Paganhill Community Group’s Octagon Community Hub
What else do you do when you are not volunteering?
I have two sons and one dog. In my spare time I enjoy music, reading, movies and beaches when possible. I have experience in health and social care, catering, hospitality, retail and clerical work.
How has joining PCG made a difference to you?
I became a volunteer for Paganhill Community Group in October 2020 after the group supported me during our first lockdown. I love the ethos of the group and felt I’d like to give something back. I have met some wonderful people since my involvement and am looking forward to helping the community grow.

Name: Emily Howgate
Role in Paganhill Community Group and brief description of what you do:
I’m mainly helping with getting the Paganhill Community Group garden underway. We’re hoping it’ll become a welcoming space for folks to rest, connect and grow. We’re a small start-up team so I ‘muck in’ on all sorts of tasks – from barrowing compost to coordinating Zoom calls.
What else do you do when you are not volunteering?
I love the Paganhill area and am often around the neighbourhood walking with my dog (who eagerly keeps me active and helps me meet new people!). I’ve worked a lot in environmental charities, and I’m happiest when outdoors – enjoying some sunshine and the sparks of beauty in Stroud’s nature.
How has joining PCG made a difference to you?
Joining in with PCG has been challenging, fun, tiring, inspiring – all these things and more! It’s great to be part of, and meeting some super people is the cherry on top.

Name: Eric Walters
Role in Paganhill Community Group and brief description of what you do:
I help out in the garden group, despite not being an experienced gardener! I also do a little bit of website admin.
What else do you do when you are not volunteering?
I am studying agroforestry and food security at Bangor University.
How has joining PCG made a difference to you?
It has been a great way of meeting new people in the area. And to see a garden project develop from scratch to the point where we were actually harvesting our own vegetables and able to give them away!

Name: Kerry Longia
Role in Paganhill Community Group and brief description of what you do:
I’m one of the volunteer coordinators with the garden group. As coordinators, we hope to provide a friendly welcome to everyone who attends the regular garden group sessions! We’re aiming to help grow lots of wonderful plants, as well as providing a home in the garden for local wildlife species, and a lovely outdoor space for people too!

What else do you do when you are not volunteering?
Cooking and food-related activity takes up a large chunk of my time. I’ve also been learning about traditional herbs and foraging like our ancestors would have done. I like the idea of finding food and medicine from the plants around me, and it’s helping me learn a bit more about my own history. I’m also really into movement and how it can help us feel better, and I teach it to others too.


How has joining PCG made a difference to you?
It’s been great for making new friends and connections. The family and I moved back to the UK from Canada in 2020, so joining PCG has made it much easier for us to feel a part of the community, and to start learning about what’s going on in Paganhill!

Name: Beth Whittaker
Role in Paganhill Community Group and brief description of what you do:
I look after the Group’s social media and website, writing and designing posters, leaflets, newsletters. I do some food deliveries, and help out whenever I can
What else do you do when you are not volunteering?
After running my own PR consultancy for almost 30 years, I retired but now I find I am just as busy! I am Chair of Stroud Businesswomen’s Network and former Chair and Member of the Stroud District Local Strategic Partnership. I paint and sell my prints and greetings cards
How has joining PCG made a difference to you?
I have met new friends and I like feeling I am making a small difference to the lives of my neighbours

Name: Heidi Wicks
Role in Paganhill Community Group and brief description of what you do:
I am one of the organisers for the (fairly new!) Food Hub at The Octagon. I help to manage this project and it’s team of lovely volunteers; making sure we always have plenty of delicious food in stock for anyone who needs it. I love having the opportunity to make a big environmental impact at the same time by significantly reducing food waste! It’s definitely a win, win enterprise!
I have also been busy helping an elderly neighbour out, with whom PCG paired me with at the start of Lockdown One. This has been very rewarding and we have developed a close friendship over the months.
What else do you do when you are not volunteering?
I work in Learning Support, look after my two boys and two dogs and I also run two local Airbnbs! I’m pretty busy but when I get time off I enjoy being outdoors and ‘pottering’ in the garden especially when it’s sunny!
How has joining PCG made a difference to you?
I have met lots of people and made new friends who live nearby! I love having the chance to ‘give back’ to the community I live in. I always have lots of ideas and projects brewing in my head so it’s nice to be able to work with others and put some of these into practice. PCG is very supportive. My involvement has even led me to take a course in ‘Community Organising’ which is proving interesting.