During the COVID-19 response period we have built new partnerships and learned more about the challenges that our communities face and the strengths they possess, enabling us to better understand how we can strengthen our response to Covid-19 and, also, build back better for the future.

We have reflected on our work so far and recognise there is more to be done. We understand the challenges Covid -19 has brought to Doncaster’s communities, those living in poverty, people from B.A.M.E. communities and people with disabilities.

As part of this, we are establishing our community connectors project. This will see ten community connectors, which are paid roles of at least 20 hours a week, who will be hosted in Voluntary, Community and Faith groups across Doncaster. The Community Connectors will be trusted people within their communities and their role will be to:

  • Use informal networks, local connections and knowledge to reach people (target audience), in workplaces, communities, neighbourhoods and local social hubs
  • Have motivational and strengths-based conversations
  • Link with existing community groups and organisations who are already embedded in the heart of the communities, leaving a legacy through them
  • Increase capability, opportunity and motivation, to self-motivate to increase community participation
  • Reach people who are isolated and disconnected from their community
  • Help others to access support

We are really excited to get our community connectors on board so we can build our relationships with communities across Doncaster and provide a meaningful forum for everyone’s voice to be heard. As soon as we have more to update on this project, we will update this page.

Meet the Community Connectors

Akeela Din Mohammed profile

Akeela Din Mohammed

Akeela is the first Asian Muslim in Doncaster to become a Deputy Lieutenant of South Yorkshire.

As a Community Connector based within the People Focus Group she is looking forward to ensuring that BAME communities are given equal opportunities and that they have access to the correct and up to date information.

She has worked in the community for the past 15 years, with Doncaster Council, as a Deputy Lieutenant, chaplain at Doncaster College, Chair of the faith and culture subgroup and for seven years with Doncaster Children's Safeguarding Board. She is also director of a women-only sports group and works as an independent community consultant.

She is also a Trustee and volunteer for the Doncaster conversation club who support asylum seeker and refugee families
Akeela does charity work, organises sports events, is a fencer and co-ordinator of the Muslim Girls fencing project.

Akeela loves that Doncaster is a diverse community and believes that we have so many communities and different cultures that teach us so much and bring richness to Doncaster.

Bea Wood profile

Bea Wood

Bea is really looking forward working as a Community Connector based with PFG to making a difference to the LGBTQA+ community.

Having previously run a transgender support groups, as well as doing a lot of public speaking including on TV and radio, Bea is excited to be providing a safe and inclusive environment for the LGBTQA+ community.

Helping members of the community with confidence and awareness around covid is high on Bea’s agenda along with linking Doncaster Pride with PFG to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Bea is really proud to be a part of PFG because of the organisation’s incredible reputation.

Bea is Transgender and won the pageant Miss Transgender UK in 2017.

The thing that Bea loves about Doncaster is that it is incredibly diverse with changes being driven forward all the time. Bea believes that Doncaster has such a bright future and so much to offer and can’t wait to be a part of that driving force. 

Colin Findley profile

Colin Findley

Colin has worked in a community development role in Doncaster for more than 20 years.
As a Community Connector based within the Dice Enterprise team, he is looking forward to delivering results. He is part of a team that is keen to deliver events and services in many different ways to have a greater impact on disabled adults locally.

He won the Yorkshire Community Hero award in 2017, is the chairperson of Doncaster Phoenix Theatre Company where he is looking forward to performing in Addams Family the Musical at Cast Theatre later this year.
He is keen to help local disabled adults to reconnect to their community.

Colin loves how people and groups come together in Doncaster for the common good of helping others.

Michaela Etherington profile

Michaela Etherington

Michaela has worked for several charities supporting people with many different disabilities over many years and most recently she worked at The Partially Sighted Society.

Michaela has recently joined the DICE team after taking a couple of years off to concentrate on her family.  But she is thrilled to be working back in the third sector once again supporting people with sensory impairments and other disabilities.

Michaela has worked for the NHS and several different charities supporting people with many different types of disabilities and is passionate about encouraging people to live independently. 

Doncaster is Michaela’s hometown and she loves that we have become such a multicultural town in recent years

Natalie Bowler-Smith profile

Natalie Bowler-Smith

Natalie has worked in community engagement for the past seven years, with experience in project management, fund writing, and project delivery.

As a Community Connector based with Healthwatch Doncaster, Natalie is looking forward to working with the local community to empower and advocate for residents and increasing vaccine uptake, as we all s reaching out to those who are disconnected, and the people who have had little or no social contact throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Natalie is also looking forward to contributing towards the building of resident panels to help influence funding opportunities to help Doncaster’s communities thrive where they need support and intervention the most. 

In her previous roles, Natalie – who grew up in Doncaster - has worked with a wide range of communities on a diverse range of issues, including substance misuse, mental health and end of life care.

In her spare time, Natalie enjoys going camping and exploring the great outdoors.

She believes the people of Doncaster all have a different story to tell and says she will always be happy to listen to people’s stories to help make positive change happen.


Covid Vaccination Information

Covidvaxfacts.info is a website designed to support the public in making their decisions about having a COVID-19 vaccine. It has been developed by independent experts to address the most common questions raised by the public and seeks not just to present the facts, but 'have a conversation'. The team behind the site believes that having a vaccine is a choice and that the public should be provided with the information it needs to make an informed decision.


Abu Ahbab Chowdhury, Covid Community Link Officer for Doncaster Council, describes the work of his team in supporting vaccination clinics in the borough:

Covid vaccine hesitancy in Romanian with English subtitles created by the Community Connectors Team:




Last updated: 24 July 2023 14:29:41

Did you find this page helpful?