Following Francoise Ha’s resignation as Chair due to moving home away from Poundbury, the PRA committee have elected Rob Hattersley as Interim Chair. The current constitution states that Association members must live within ‘new’ Poundbury.
Francoise said: ‘I am pleased to be passing on the role of chair to someone who cares so much about the local community. I wish Rob and the committee all the best for the future.’
The committee paid tribute to the energetic way in which Francoise has built so many foundations for the future in 6 short months, and are very sorry she is leaving so soon.
PRA Treasurer Adele Stuart said: ‘Francoise has been fabulous. She’s managed to get new and younger people involved such as myself and made us feel valued and welcome, and overseen exciting new projects such as The Big Conversation which I think will lead to a more inclusive community where we can feel we belong, whatever our backgrounds. Thanks Francoise and good luck.’
Francoise will still be around as she continues to run The Chi Zone in Poundbury with her husband.
Interim Chair Rob Hattersley comes from a teaching and charity background and has lived in Poundbury since 2021, but in Dorset since 2017 where he led the child safety charity SafeWise. He and his wife Carolyn, who works in NHS primary care, have two adult children whom they brought up in Herefordshire where Rob was a primary deputy head teacher, and worked in safety education for the fire service.
The role is purposely ‘Interim’, as Rob, the committee and the Big Conversation Working Group feel that change is likely when the results of the project are published and discussed. A newspaper outlining the survey results, case studies of successful projects elsewhere, and suggestions for ways forward will be published in the Autumn.
Rob said: ‘My priorities are firstly to support the completion of the Conversation, which has been a really exciting community engagement project coming up with lots of ideas; secondly, to continue to improve community communications to engage more people; thirdly to build on Francoise’s work on local co-operative partnerships to support community development and finally; as this is a team effort, we need to build our volunteering team in support of what we would like to achieve in Poundbury.’
Rob added: ‘Like Francoise, I’ve not volunteered for this role to keep things as they are, but to support a process of change based on what our local community are telling us we now need. Moving into 2024, I think things could look a little different.’
As with all the committee and working group members, Rob is volunteering for the role, which he will balance with paid work as an education and charity consultant. He won’t always be available during the day, but will reply promptly to messages. He will be well supported by the committee.
In other changes, Mike Gratwick has stood down for personal reasons, and Mike Stear, a resident of 9 years, has been co-opted. Rob paid tribute: ‘We’d like to thank Mike Gratwick for his wise counsel and insight as we’ve entered a period of change. We will miss him on the committee and very much hope he will still be able to be involved. We’re very pleased to welcome Mike Stear and will find his charity experience invaluable as we move forward.”