People, participation & PRD

PRD specialises in creating imaginative strategies and delivery advice to help projects achieve their potential, supporting inclusive economies, impactful investment, and more considered development outcomes. Fundamental to this process is understanding the needs and aspirations of the people living and working in the communities in which we work and exploring together what it would take to make their place thrive. To do this well, good quality community engagement and participation needs to be at the heart of our work.

To help us improve our people and participation offer, we are pleased to welcome Sarah Wheale-Smith to our team.

Sarah is a consultation and engagement practitioner with over 12 years’ experience in the design, management and delivery of community engagement and consultation projects. Her experience includes community and stakeholder engagement ranging from pre-school children to chief executives to the socially excluded. Sarah believes in embedding approaches to engagement and communication at the heart of projects.

Sarah’s work is characterised by creative, engaging, and inclusive approaches underpinned by excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Her innovative methodologies ensure that the process is not just a box-ticking exercise, but instead focuses on listening to communities, gathering meaningful insights and co-designing actions for change.

In her work on the Margate Town Deal, she established a People’s Panel to support and work with the Margate Town Deal Board. This group of local people was brought together to reflect the demographics of the town and to check and challenge the work on the Board and the Town Deal Investment. In Wales during lockdown, through a programme of digital focus groups and 1-2-1 interviews, she spoke to more than 100 women across Swansea Bay to understand their experiences of infant feeding during pandemic.

Her recent work on the Neath Port Talbot Childcare Sufficiency Assessment involved embedded community engagement approaches and working in collaboration with a range of partners including schools, childcare settings, parent and toddler groups and play sessions. Talking to parents and carers enabled an understanding of the impact and potential impact of the cost of living crisis on the supply and demand of childcare. This resulted in a proactive action plan to respond to families’ needs.

Sarah will help PRD provide an even deeper human focus on our work, embedding long-term participatory approaches alongside good qualitative and quantitative analysis. We are looking to recruit new colleagues to develop this offer, so please get in touch if you are interested in working with us.