We are delighted to introduce to you Franki Appleton (She / Her), the new Project Manager for The Wheel!
Franki first joined us as a volunteer at Mitcham Community Orchard and Gardens, a place she fell in love with at a time when the pandemic and lockdowns made her realise that she needed to prioritise her mental health...
"I think the pandemic, and lockdowns in particular, made many of us really think about what we want out of our working lives. It was during this time that I realised I needed to prioritise my mental health, and a big part of that was to feel more connected to my community and the natural environment.
I left my policy job in Government and joined the reserves list for a course to train to be a Community Orchardist. Amazingly, someone dropped out at the last moment meaning I could take part! This course was partly based out of Mitcham Community Orchard, and I completely fell in love. The people, the trees, the fox that pinches any item of clothing you accidentally leave out! Feeling connected to this wonderful and generous, intergenerational community changed my life. Now I’m a qualified orchardist, I regularly volunteer as a Tree Steward at the Orchard. The Orchard is coordinated by Sustainable Merton (shout out to Katie, the incredible Growing Spaces Coordinator).
When I saw the vacancy to join the Sustainable Merton team as The Wheel’s Project Manager I instantly thought, this is absolutely where I’m meant to be. To use my skills from 10 years working in charities and in public policy to help make my community economy greener, and to be able to cycle to work! It’s the green dream! I feel incredibly honoured to be part of the Sustainable Merton team as a volunteer and now as a Project Manager."