Meet the Team – Bob Chapman

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Name? Bob Chapman
Position at Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund CIC? One of the six company directors

Job History (you want to tell us about)?
I’m an advice worker by trade – I spent 26 years working with Citizens Advice Bureaux and local authority welfare rights units and then became a civil servant to plan and manage legal aid in Wales, much of it funding advice services. Since taking early retirement over ten years ago I have worked as a consultant for solicitors’ firms, sat on the Board of Consumer Focus Wales, and as a member of the Committee for Administrative Justice and Tribunals Wales, been a school governor, a trustee of Shelter Cymru, three Citizens Advice Bureaux and my local Community Library, and am currently Chair of the Welsh Government’s National Advice Network Wales as well as my work for Pen y Cymoedd.

A bit about you?
Brought up just outside London I came to Wales to study politics at university at Aberystwyth and have never really gone home! Outside of work I go for walks daily with Rosie, a collie/terrier cross, do a bit of running (these days only when it’s not too cold), sail a shared yacht out of Swansea Marina, and enjoy holidays (often in West Wales or the Isles of Scilly)
What made you want to apply to the PyC Board?
I have lived for over forty years in the beautiful upper Afan Valley and during much of that time have witnessed funding, services and facilities being withdrawn or cut back. The chance to be involved in putting something back into the valleys was too good an opportunity to miss. I had enough to do, really, but I attended a number of Vattenfall’s consultation events over several years and slowly the idea grew on me.

What skills do you think you offer to the PyC Board?
I have handled distributing money before. When I was at the Legal Services Commission I was responsible for how and where £80mil of legal was spent in Wales. From that I learnt the importance of keeping an eye on the big picture as well as proportionate monitoring of the fine detail.
What most excites you about the PyC Community Fund? The Money! And the chance to let people do things with it to improve their lives and their communities.

What do you think are the threats or risks to the success of this fund?
I have no doubt that we will spend the money, but whether, looking back in 25 years time the valley communities will think we spent it wisely is another matter. To make a real difference requires both wide vision and a pragmatic understanding of “what works”, “what’s possible” and when something is “good enough” – the projects we fund don’t have to be perfect, and don’t always have to touch the lives of thousands of people, but they do all need to make a real difference to someone, somewhere.
If you woke up tomorrow as an animal, what animal would you choose to be and why?
Anything in the monkey family would do – they are, after all, only separated from people by the tiniest genetic differences, and in my limited experience, are often much more loving and intelligent than many humans!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you?
Am I allowed to have Sixpenny Moon – the yacht I share in Swansea marina?

If not, then a family photo album, some books and my guitar.
Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself with our communities!