Your stories – Yovone Cook

Yovone Cook
Community and Partnership Officer, Resettlement and Diverse Communities 

old newspaper clipping of Yovone doing work for the country park
Credit: Colchester Gazette

How long have you worked for the council?

I have worked for the council for 34 years.

Why did you choose to work for the council? 

I moved to Colchester from Hull, where I worked as a countryside ranger at the Humber Bridge County Park. I saw the job at High Woods Country Park advertised and thought it would be a great opportunity.

If I am honest, I wasn't quite sure where Colchester was. I came down for a weekend and had a walk around the country park as well as the town centre and decided I really wanted the job.

Describe what you do in 100 words? 

As a Community and Partnerships Officer I am a long way away from being the countryside ranger at High Woods Country Park who would take school groups pond dipping (in the pond named after me) and hugging trees.

My current role has evolved to one that works within the world of resettlement, not just with refugees and asylum seekers but also with our diverse communities in Colchester. My role is all about partnership working to support these groups integrate into their new lives in Colchester. Partners include the Home Office, Strategic Migration Partnership, RAMA, Essex Integration, Essex Couty Council and groups such as African Families in the UK.

What do you enjoy most about your role? 

I love working with all the diverse community groups, such as the Bangladeshi Women's Association, African Families in the UK and the Chinese Association. I'm always being fed the most amazing food and often post a picture on our teams WhatsApp group just to make the team jealous.

Throughout your career at the council, what has been your most rewarding moment?  

I'm not sure, there have been so many, from seeing young children who have never been in the woods or thought about what might live in a pond being absolutely enthralled by their visit to the county park, to finding a bed for a young girl, with a really bad back, who was sleeping on a mattress on the floor during COVID, working with the Anti Loo Brigade to get an eclectic guitar for a young Ukrainian boy who loved music and had to leave his guitar behind when he fled the war, or it could be securing housing for Afghan refugees after they were evacuated during Operation Pitting or working with our comms team to provide work experience for a young asylum seeker...

What would you say to someone thinking about a career at the council? 

Go for it - there are lots of perks such as flexible working, you will work with some fantastic teams and people, plus you will never know where you will end up.

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Page last reviewed: 29 April 2024


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