Proud to be who I am - your stories
Below are stories that you have shared with us about why you are proud to be who you are.
Why I’m proud to be who I am
I’m Carol Francis, a Magistrate, radio presenter and community development worker from Gloucester. I’m also a proud wife to my husband Derrick, a mother of two and grandmother to three.
To celebrate this Black History Month, I’m sharing my story and some of my proudest achievements. Here’s a bit about my life and my work to promote race equality.
It all started in 1974 when I first developed an interest in community work. Together with some other local people we formed Unity Youth Club, a place where young black people living in Gloucestershire could meet to develop and socialise and that’s where it all started
Since then, I’ve been LEA Governor of St. Paul’s school, Parent Governor of Beaufort Community School, a member of the County Council’s multicultural Advisory group, a Director of Barton, Tredworth & Eastgate Trust, and a parent Representative on Gloucester’s Education Achievement Zone Forum.
I’ve also been the Chairperson of the City Council’s Race Equality Forum and a member of the first management committee as well as Chairperson of the personnel sub-committee for Gloucester Race Equality Council (Glosrec). I’ve also spent time as the Chairperson of the Gloucestershire County Council’s Black Workers Network and the Jamaican Club.
- In 1993 I was presented with the “Black Achievers Award” for services to the community.
- In 2000 I was elected the first black female city councillor of the Eastgate Ward. At this time my husband Derrick and I, along with friends also worked to set up Gloucester FM community radio station, which broadcast full time from July 2006.
- In 2001 I became the first Black Sheriff and Deputy Mayor of Gloucester City.
- In 2006 I was awarded a lifetime achievement award by Community Counts which was voted for by the community.
- In 2007 I was presented with an award in recognition of outstanding contribution to community development by The Church of God Seventh Day.
- In 2008 I was asked to join a task force set up by Harriet Harman, the then deputy Prime Minster, to encourage more Black Asian and Minority Ethnic women into public Service. I represented the South West of England. I also received an award from The Association of Jamaican Nationals for my contribution to the development of the Jamaican Community and other Nationals in the UK and overseas.
- In 2011 Gloucester City Homes (GCH) presented me with an award for Community recognition.
- In 2012 I set up BME Police and Community Trust (PACT) an initiative which looks at improving levels of community trust and confidence with Gloucestershire Constabulary.
- In 2013 The University of Gloucestershire awarded Carol an Honorary Fellowship for services to the Community.
- In September 2016 I became Barton Mayor.
- In 2018 I was named in The 50 Greatest Gloucestershire Women of all time and the 100 most influential women in the West. The Antoin Akpom Achievements Foundation also presented me with an award for service to the Community.
- In 2020 I became a member of Legitimacy Panel which provides independent advice to the police. I also received Gloucester’s Mayor’s award for services to the community
I believe that if you have a passion, go for it. You can do anything you want to do and achieve your goals, whatever they may be.