Like so many others, the Well Doncaster team has responded to the pandemic in adapting the way we work, expanded the scope of our work and continuing to champion asset based community development (ABCD) approaches in a time when it is vital to recognise and strengthen the assets within our communities.

With this in mind, we wanted to take the opportunity to re-introduce you to the team and their reflections on how their work has developed, as well as introduce you to the newest member of our team!

Let’s start with Well Doncaster Programme Manager, Vanessa Powell-Hoyland…

Vanessa Powell-hoylandHi, I’m Vanessa Powell-Hoyland and I am the Programme Manager for Well Doncaster. I have worked in the field of public health for over ten years. Over this period I have developed specialist skills, earning a Master’s degree in Public Health and becoming a Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University. My portfolio covers the wider determinants of health, community development and resilience and I have lead on Doncaster’s Health and Housing and commissioned a Healthy homes program. As part of my role as Research Fellow for the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre and part of Collaboration of Leadership and Health Research Centre (CLAHRC) I have been leading on identifying health and wellbeing priorities for Local Authorises in Yorkshire and Humber. My professional interests include; fuel poverty, cold homes, community centred approaches and health inequalities. I am an extremely passionate person who believes health inequalities are unjust and that by working with our communities we can improve lives.

I have been in post since February 2018 and my role as Programme Manager includes overseeing the community offer from Well Doncaster as have applied our learning from Denaby to support a further different community led programs. These strands include community engagement, building community resilience, linking community and universal services, responding to identified gaps, increasing physical activity and evaluating the success of what we’re doing.  You can read more about what we have been doing int the Well Doncaster Annual Report 2019-20

Well Doncaster has become a strong example of ABCD approaches and how we can work with our communities instead of doing to. Throughout COVID-19 response, Doncaster’s communities have gone above and beyond in support the most vulnerable. A key part of my role has been to support the Third Sector through this incredibly difficult time to ensure Doncaster does not loose the vital community organisations that provide such vital support. The plan pre-Covid-19 was that the communities of focus would expand from 7 to 10. However, in order to ensure support reached all of Doncaster’s communities, the team’s remit has broadened to encompass the whole of the borough, with an Well Doncaster Officer for each locality.

Doncaster has been developing a Localities model which was implemented through Covid-10 response to ensure support was hyper local and Well Doncaster involved at all levels, I influence the strategic direction, with Well Doncaster central to community development and third sector development, Emma and Stacey are members of each multi-disciplinary Locality Cells which assesses need and demand and direct preventative actions. The Well Doncaster Officers are part of the multi-disciplinary groups which work on individual cases, providing links to community support and feed up key themes to the Locality Cells.

The team have been working closely with community groups and foodbanks to access and follow government guidance, access free PPE, food orders and white goods following donations from the private sector and developed a foodbank collaborative to successfully secure £25,000.

I am so proud of the hard work and dedication the team have shown throughout Covid-19 response and can see the difference they have made to communities and individuals through out the borough through such a difficult time. I hope you enjoy getting to know them.


Hello, I’m Emma Nicholas-Hernandez and I’ve been part of Well Doncaster since the programme first began in 2015.Emma Nicholas.png I have been involved in the planning and implementation of the work in Denaby and have really enjoyed getting to know so many fantastic and passionate people who live and work in Denaby. Before Covid-19 the programme was working in six other communities, with three more added in March 2020, across the borough and the team have been strengthening relationships and building on assets as we adapt our learning from Denaby and embed ABCD approaches into these new communities.

My role changed in February 2020 as I moved from working directly with a community to supporting the programme from a more strategically across all communities and providing a link with Sport England’s Local Delivery Pilot as part of Get Doncaster Moving. I am part of the South and Central Locality Cells and provide a Public Health and Well Doncaster lens to the group as we direct local Covid-19 response, recovery and prevention activity.

In partnership with Get Doncaster Moving, the Active Community Grants were launched in January 2020 to support individuals and groups in developing innovative ways to encourage people to be more physically active. The grants were adapted through Covid-19 from a monthly to weekly panel and saw 11 successful application providing support to all ages.

I am heavily involved in the strategic development of the Third Sector as key representatives from the Sector have come together to develop short, medium and long term horizon action plans. Well Doncaster will play a key role in developing and implementing the long term vision for the Sector.

It is an exciting time for the programme as just before lock down I was working with the team to undertake a full 4D Appreciative Inquiry in each community of focus to gather further insight, build relationships and develop co-produced and co-delivered solutions to community priorities. This was put on hold and the team quickly refocused on providing support to community organisation, however we hope to pick this back up in the Autumn but it may look different so as to be in line with government guidance. So watch this space!

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Hi I’m Stacey Parry, a Public Health Improvement Officer. I have a duel role, as well as supporting the delivery of the Well Doncaster strategy through the Locality Cells, my main role is leading on the Community Wealth Builder Project. I have always worked in community engagement and development, supporting the third sector and was a business start-up advisor for over 6 years. I really enjoy working with people, and supporting the development of communities.

Doncaster has a lot to offer and community based enterprises are often the backbones of the places we live – and we want to help! Not only do we offer a range of business support packages designed to help start up or develop Doncaster’s Social Enterprises, we are working with the area’s biggest purchasers on a invest local, buy local strategy.

We had plans for the Community Wealth Builder programme to have a big launch event in April however, this had to be paused due to Covid-19 and we have to rethink how the programme would be delivered. We continued to move forward and are now working with Doncaster Chamber of Commerce in delivering tailored support, training and advice, we are developing a Community Wealth Builder website where social enterprises can access support resources, develop opportunities for collaborative working and link with buyers around procurement opportunities.

August 2020 is an exciting month as we are in the middle of our online launch- check out our blog post here for more details.

I would love to hear from you if you have a business idea that has a community focus or social aim but you aren’t sure what to do next. Or if you are currently running a community enterprise and want to make it more sustainable or develop the product or service.

Keep an eye on our social media for further details

Twitter @commwealthbuild

Facebook @commwealthbuild

Or contact me at Tel: 01302 736717

Well Doncaster is very please to introduce you to the newest member of our team, the lovely Hannah Short…

Hi I’m Hannah and I joined the Well Doncaster team as a Public Health Officer for the Community Wealth Building ProgrammeHannah Short

After living abroad for the last year and a half, I am excited to be working back in Doncaster. The borough has a great community spirit and is a hive of regeneration and economic activity. With a passionate for improving public health and creating a fairer and more inclusive society, I am looking forward to be working on a project that aims to reduce inequality by creating an economy that works for everyone.

The project does this by supporting social enterprises, community interest companies and co-operatives, as we believe these organisations strengthen communities and help create a fairer world. When these businesses thrive – society thrives.

I have always worked in a community setting and believe that being part of a community is such an integral part of our health and happiness. In my year abroad I worked as a Community Lead for Lululemon in New Zealand. My role involved collaborating and hosting events as well as building and maintaining relationships with local charities, businesses and ambassadors. Prior to this I worked for Age UK on their Community Circles project which aimed to combat social isolation and loneliness among older people in Doncaster. I have a degree in Public Health Nutrition from Sheffield Hallam and a Masters in Nutrition for Global Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

I am looking forward to meeting and supporting the various social businesses across the Doncaster and Sheffield city region and learning how we can best support them to thrive and grow.

We offer free support to anyone from budding entrepreneurs with an idea they wish to develop, to social businesses already up and running. Support is tailored to meet the needs of the individual or organisation and includes one-to-one advice, workshops, training and networking opportunities.

To get in touch with our project team contact:  Tel. 01302 736717  or

Time to re-introduce you to the Well Doncaster Officers…

IMG_0721Hello, I’m Hannah McWilliams and I have been in post for 5 months now and it has been the quickest five months ever. It hasn’t exactly been the start that I had expected and working from home within 2 weeks of joining a team has been different but there hasn’t been a busier time to join a public health team! I have got to witness how much work has gone into responding to the current pandemic and how quickly things can change. The Well Doncaster team have been part of the response team for Thrid Sector groups. I have been lucky enough to have seen first-hand the hard work that volunteers, residents and faith sector organisations have put into supporting their local communities during this time. We have been busy supporting groups with PPE and foodbanks have received donated food parcels and supplies over the last few months to help with their demand.

I have been working to widen Well Doncaster’s work across the whole of Central Doncaster and not just Balby, Intake and Wheatley. It has definitely been a busy period but it has helped me get to grips with the different local communities within the centre of Doncaster and the assets of each community. I have learnt that no one community is the same and there are very different needs and wants in each area. As lock down restrictions continue to ease, I look forward to continuing to work to reducing the health inequalities  experienced in some of these communities.

I have also been able to get to know my colleagues, probably a lot more than I would have before lock down, as we all have different bases depending on the locality we cover throughout a normal week. We have had plenty of Microsoft Teams meetings and team quizzes to keep in touch and I have probably come last in 99% of the quizzes we have done. Hopefully it won’t be long before we are back to some sort of ‘normality’ and when this happens, I look forward to being busy and keep implementing Well Doncaster’s work across central Doncaster.

If you have any thoughts or ideas for where you live get in touch and we can work together to build even stronger communities

My name is Faye McDool and I am the Public Health Officers for the communities in the SouthFaye McDool of Doncaster. My areas of focus are Edlington, Denaby and Mexbrough. I am in the unique position of working in Denaby where Well Doncaster has been supporting the community for the last 5 years and get to build on existing relationships. Along side this I am also introducing the Well Doncaster approach into 2 other communities and I have enjoyed building new relationships across these communities.

I thrive from engaging with communities to support them in being more active which initially is what attracted me to the role. Since working for Well Doncaster my desire to promote and support groups who are passionate about enriching green spaces and provide support to the most vulnerable has grown. We have not let COVID-19 stop us from our mission to support residents with long term health conditions by developing online peer support sessions.  I have enjoyed spending time with attendees and we are now looking at how we can move the groups safely back into the community.

My hobbies include running and I currently race competitively for the Kimberworth Striders. I have a Masters degree in dance and have previously performed and choreographed internationally for events at venues such as Sibiu International Theatre Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Tramlines, Sheffield City Hall, London Palladium, Her Majesties and many more. Also in my spare time, I enjoy volunteering for Thornberry Animal Sanctuary.

I’m eager to support anyone who has passion for their community email me at


Marianne TurnerHello! I’m Marianne Turner, a Public Health Officer in the Well Doncaster Team and I work with the community and partners in the North locality of Doncaster. Over the last 12 months my role has been focused on using asset based community development to support Bentley and now I am branching out to cover the whole of the North, with a particular focus on Bentley, Woodlands and Highfields.

I am passionate about making a difference and believe that the community in which we live has a massive impact on our life, opportunities, and our health and wellbeing. I look forward to continuing to work with the amazing people I have already met in Bentley and I’m also excited to meet and engage with other residents of the North and support them to strengthen the communities in which they live, work and play.

Originally I was born and grew up in County Durham, I then lived in Keswick in Cumbria for 5 years, before moving back to the North East to go to Northumbria University. Whilst at University I studied BSc Sport Management before going on to study a Masters in International Sport Management. I then moved back to Durham where I worked for Durham County Council in their Culture and Sport department before relocating to Doncaster.

Outside of work, my family are hugely important to me and I enjoy spending as much time as possible with them. I am a sports enthusiast; lifelong Sunderland AFC fan, become glued to Wimbledon every summer, enjoy watching pretty much all sports, and I’m the first to join in any game from Cricket to Boccia. I also love visiting new places, particularly major European cities, and attending live concerts, shows and events.

If you have any opinions, feelings or hopes about where you live in the North of Doncaster, please contact me on I’d love to hear from you and support you to design and deliver your ideas.


Hi, I’m Jess Woodward, I work for Well Doncaster as a Public Health Officer and working Jessica Woodardwith organisations, partners and the community in the East Locality of Doncaster. I have been in the role a little over a year now and have been using Well Doncaster’s ABCD approach to support the community of Stainforth. I have loved getting to know the community and have been in awe of the amazing community spirit there is in Stainforth and how strong the community can be when it pulls together specifically during the tragic floods in November and the following months.

Similarly, to the other Well Doncaster Officers I am branching out to other communities to cover more of the East Locality with a focus on Stainforth, Thorne and Moorends. I am looking forward to getting to know these new communities better and engage with more residents from the East of Doncaster.

When I’m not in work I spend a lot of time with my family and friends, normally on walks along the beach where I live, it is such a special place to me. I also really enjoy being active and am normally involving myself in some form of training whether that be CrossFit, running or a game of rounder’s on a sunny day with my friends. During lock down, I tried longboarding for the first time and that is becoming a favourite hobby of mine.

If you have any questions, ideas or big plans for the East of Doncaster, please get in touch It would be great to hear from you and support you to make where you live an even better place.

So you have now met the team! We have a sleeves rolled up and will continue to support communities across Doncaster. Contact us if you want to get involved at or @WellDoncaster 

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