By Leonie McCarthy
From Oundle River Nene looking out on an imagined Serengeti, my new life on a narrowboat begins.
In 2004, Leonie McCarthy set up and managed Peterborough’s award-winning asylum and migration project, New Link, the UK’s first integration project for Migrant Workers and local communities. In August 2006 she was appointed a Commissioner to the Department of Communities and Local Government’s Commission on Integration and Cohesion. The work of the commission led to a £50m investment in bringing communities together. In 2008 she won the Peterborough Evening Telegraph’s Women in Leadership and in 2009 was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year’s Honours List.
From 2009 – 2014 Leonie took on the role of Social Inclusion Manager at Peterborough City Council with special responsibility for the Voluntary Sector, Equalities, Rural Communities and lead for Gypsies and Travellers. For the past 8 years she has led Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service as CEO alongside studying Gestalt psychotherapy and completing ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching.
More recently, in partnership with New Gestalt Voices and Relational Change, she has introduced Gestalt based process groups to Voluntary Sector Leads in Peterborough. The idea of applying the ‘magic’ of Gestalt therapy to community development for social change came out of one of the UKAGP conferences, about three years ago that Leonie attended. The groups have been facilitated by Michael Ellis – a highly experienced Gestalt psychotherapist and Organisation Consultant, the former Managing Director of The Gestalt Centre London. The feedback from the attendees has been phenomenal. A short article on the project can be found here.