Nina Ruddle, Civic Mission Champion (Episode 4) | Nina is on mission to make a real difference across North Wales
“It’s not rocket science. We rock up and we ask what matters, what can we do and how can we help? And it’s just been reframing the challenges and having conversations that matter and being in those spaces and listening with a bit of curiosity and humility.”
On a mission to connect and collaborate
In this episode, Sarah chats to Nina Ruddle about her work leading the Civic Mission Partnership Strategy at Wrexham Glyndwr University in Wales. The ultimate and audacious goal of the Civic Mission is to end social inequality by the year 2030. Glyndwr University are not alone in this mission. They work with a number of public sector organisations across North Wales, particularly as part of their work on the Welsh Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.
Motivated to make a difference
Born and raised in North Wales, Nina witnessed first-hand the impact of industrial decline. This triggered her passion for social and economic regeneration, a thread which runs through everything she does.
“What really motivates me is making North Wales the best it can be for everyone, because I think everybody deserves an opportunity and a chance in life to be fulfilled and happy and prosperous and as healthy as they can be.”
Her career has included roles with organisations like the Welsh Government and the North Wales Economic Ambition Board. These public sector roles have given her a unique perspective – she thinks collaboratively with a focus on public good. It also meant that she could see how universities could help to fill in some of the gaps in the public sector, co-producing research in ways that benefit everyone. She describes how they have employed citizen scientists to analyse data, consulted with young people on what really matters to them, and brought partners together to collaborate in the North Wales Public Service Lab.
“We know one of the biggest things that’s been stripped out of local authorities in austerity is policy research capacity. And actually that’s the one thing we do have as a university, we can step into that space and enable us to work together, sharing resources, innovating, planting seeds of innovation, using little bits of funding to do really special things that we’d never be able to do normally.”
Deep local knowledge and genuine connection to people and place is evident in everything Nina does. And, as you’ll hear from the interview Nina gets things done! So much so that she has recently been named on the Future Generations Changemaker 100 list (you’ll find her at number 78 which, as Nina pointed out, is one place above actor Michael Sheen!)
The magic is in the method
But perhaps more than the outcomes, Nina relishes the process. Even when offered a a magic wand she would like a bigger team to do more, but she wouldn’t shortcut the process of building relationships and creating change.
“I’m a firm believer that we can change the system and I wouldn’t want to change the system with a magic wand, because I think the joy of changing the system and seeing it happen is creating those movements for change and actually that commitment of people to do that together is something quite special.”
Find out more
- You can find out more about Nina and her work here: Wrexham Glyndwr University Civic Mission
- See the full list of Future Generations Changemaker 100 here (you’ll find Nina at No 78)
- Prosperous places: insights into local research partnerships (UKRI report)
- Mondragon Unibertsitatea Co-operative University
How was it for you…?
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