Meet the Team – Michelle

Name? Michelle Coburn-Hughes BA (Hons)
Position at Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund CIC? Director
Job History (you want to tell us about)? 22 years in Education including 14 years at Senior Management level. Also 5 years in business development founding and establishing a successful charity employing over 55 members of staff in the PYC area of benefit in the main.
A bit about you? I dropped out of my A’ Levels at 17 in order to secure a low paid job which at the time supported my passion for shopping– I always had a passion for something!

I purchased a house at the age of 18 and became a mother at the age of 19. Over a short period of time made I realised that life was going to be extremely challenging financially working in a low paid job. My husband and I experienced difficult times and had worries funding petrol to attend work occasionally and also challenges placing decent food on the table. This made me realise that only we had the ability to change our future for the benefit of our family. We were still very young and there was a long road ahead.

Whilst working full time, and being a mother and wife I enrolled in evening classes and over a 5-year period obtained a HNC, Foundation Degree and a gained a 2:1 in a Business Management Honours degree, which then led to me securing a Senior Management post in a Secondary School at the age of 25.

After a period of time in this role it led to me setting up the school PTA. It has flourished and now operates as a Charity and Company Ltd employing over 50 + individuals across three valleys, running a number of Childcare, Community and Play services for the community.

Through hard work, determination and an extremely supporting husband and three children, I am fortunate to be in a place where I am able to support and hopefully encourage others to believe in themselves and make a difference.

What made you want to apply to the PyC Board? Having the opportunity to apply my experience and passion and be involved in the decision making processes that can have positive, life changing impacts on individuals and families in valley communities. The opportunity to work differently and learn from others was also extremely exciting to me. We all have something to give however there is always something to learn!
What skills do you think you offer to the PyC Board? I have lived my whole life in the valleys and feel the deep rooted community spirit and passion us valleys people have. I understand many of the challenges and difficulties some families encounter and have empathy and a burning appetite to support projects that will and can make a significant difference. Alongside this and including the varied skills I have gained during my working career and as positive and driven individual I feel I have a wealth of relevant skills to offer the PyC Board.
What most excites you about the PyC Community Fund? Being a part of an extremely flexible fund that can change communities for the better. The thought of being able to help an array of different people and shape the future landscape of eligible communities is an absolute privilege and is really exciting to me!
What do you think are the threats or risks to the success of this fund? The thought of prospective recipients and individuals applying for significant funding for projects that do not make a lasting difference. The legacy of the fund and the impact is extremely important and the risk of funding project that fail is a concern, however risk need to be taken in order to transform communities – a double edge sword!
If you woke up tomorrow as an animal, what animal would you choose to be and why? A stallion like the Lloyds TSB advert! The only issue is a stallion is a male and I am definitely a female… and not only that, I’m short too! Actually in that case, I think I’d be a monkey!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you? Originally I thought my phone, a blanket and a good book however there would be no signal or charging outlets for the phone therefore it would be rendered as useless and even thought I love being cosy I would be dead in no time with the above selection!

For the purpose of survival, it would definitely be a fire lighter, large knife and saucepan!

Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself with our communities!