Strategic Regeneration Communications Manager
Lewisham County Council

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Nigel A

00:00:03 My name is Nigel A, my job title is Strategic Regeneration Communications Manager, which is a mouthful. What it basically means is, I’m responsible for the communication around what’s happening in three big regeneration areas in Lewisham. There’s a lot of money being ploughed into the Borough, and my job now is really to look at how we get local – local people to understand what’s being proposed, what’s being planned, to keep them up to date with what’s happening, and to give them opportunities to be involved in that.

00:00:36 I went to University. I did a degree for three years in English and Theatre Studies. Again not really sort of knowing what I wanted to do, but I always had in the back of my mind that actually there was a possibility that teaching might be there as a fallback. Obviously teaching is a solid career, it’s a respectable career, it was something I could do that involved something I was passionate about, you know, I was always going to be a teacher of English and Drama, so things that I liked. But I guess what surprised me was the level of acting I would have to do, and not necessarily, you know, fun acting. The way you would have to, you know, almost like portray this image. And the jobs where I’ve been happiest, are the jobs where I’ve able – been able to be really myself, and not had to worry so much about projecting some other sort of personality. It just kind of didn’t sit that easily with me. So for all those reasons I thought at the end of it, it’s been a great experience, I’ve learnt – learnt a lot, but I just couldn’t see myself doing that for the next fifty years.

00:01:36 So I came to London, with a – no career plan whatsoever. And it just so happened, like a lot of the things in my life, that I was in the right place at the right time, and I got to meet some people who ran various sort of like listing magazines, and I did some work for about 18 months, just freelance writing for them.

00:01:55 But while doing that I decided actually I probably needed something on my CV, and I probably needed a bit of a proper career path. So I did a very, very simple English Language course at a Local Education College. And it was on the basis of that, that I got a job at Pret A Manger, which is a big sandwich company in London. I had a meeting with the Managing Director, who was looking to get someone on board, I think, to start a newsletter for staff so they knew what was going on, and they could have an input into what was going on with the company. Got that job, very successful there. And then after about eight and a half years with Pret, there was a bit of a downturn in the economy, bit of a re-think in the company, and I got made redundant. So I had a couple of months off, I considered my options, I decided I would join Local Government. And it so happened that a position within Lewisham came up. And I joined Lewisham in 2004.

00:02:48 I think from a very early age I was very interested in writing, because I loved reading when I was younger, and it was just something I was good at, and actually something I enjoyed doing. And for me it’s a really great way of being able to sort of like communicate with people far and wide. People that you will never necessarily get to meet face to face. And I think wanting to sort of re-create some of the stories and some of the excitement that I felt watching some of the programmes that I was watching when I was growing up, you know, if someone could create something that was brilliant to me and really made me kind of scared and excited, and sort of like anxious to see what would happen in a week’s time – I wanted to have that same sort of power over people, if you like. I think that was very important to me.

00:03:30 If I could, I think I would love to be in the media. That’s – that’s something I would really love to do still. And what I’m doing now actually could conceivably be a sort of a back door route into that. What I’m doing now, the sort of the – the analytical side of it, the sort of communications side of it, that could conceivably one day be a route into the media. I’m not actively pursuing that, things have just kind of happened to me and I’m quite happy to go with that, and learn different skills, and have different experiences, on the way. But actually, yeah, if I ended up one day doing the sort of job I’m doing now, but actually in the media, that would be fantastic.


Nigel A is a Strategic Regeneration Communication Manager for Lewisham County Council in London. His job is to involve local people in local regeneration and keep them informed. He did a degree in English and Drama and was going to become a teacher – but came to London without a plan. His love of writing led him first to writing a newsletter for employees of Pret a Manger. He was made redundant in that job – but now he works to get “local people to understand what’s being proposed, what’s being planned, to keep them up to date with what’s happening, and to give them opportunities to be involved”.

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