The Four Corners of the Land was founded in 2012 by Gemma Novis from South East London. Throughout her life so far Gemma has developed a passion and determination for addressing discrimination and tackling inequalities in communities. This passion was forged by her experiences of growing up on a large council housing estate in a low income household, being a young carer for her disabled mum, and witnessing the devastating impacts of racism in her local London community.
Fuelled by her determination to transform her own and other people's experiences, and with the encouragement of those around her to develop her capabilities, Gemma qualified as a Community Development and Youth Worker at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2006. Graduating with a first class BA (Hons) Applied Social Science, Community Development & Youth Work degree, Gemma went on to successfully complete her MA in Development & Rights in 2007, focusing on Community Development and community-led human rights education. Until 2014 she returned to Goldsmiths to teach as an Associate Tutor on the BA (Hons) Applied Social Science, Community Development & Youth Work programme, supporting others as they expanded their potential as community and youth work practitioners in London and beyond.
From 2008 - 2011 Gemma worked on behalf of NHS Lewisham / Lewisham Hospital as their Equality & Diversity Coordinator and in 2010 her work was acknowledged by an NHS Leadership Award, where she was one of three finalists for Community Leader of the Year. The award was principally for her role in proving just how valuable community experiences are when seeking to improve health outcomes and address local health inequalities. During this period, in direct response to increased local incidents of serious youth violence, Gemma volunteered with other community members to establish a pioneering young people's project in Lee Green, London Borough of Lewisham. Since 2011, as a freelance consultant, Gemma has worked on behalf of Verve Communications (in NHS Berkshire, NHS Lambeth and NHS Southwark), NHS Lewisham, Lewisham Council and NHS South East London to lead Equality Impact Assessment / Analyses where community participation and engagement has featured strongly at the heart of the process.
Taking her passion and determination even further, Gemma has now developed an innovative, online solution to enable policy makers, community project managers and commissioners to directly access information and experiences from a range of communities, so that services can be designed specifically for those that they seek to serve. The Four Corners Connected, provides a way to connect a range of agencies that have never before been able to directly share community experiences and learning so quickly. Gemma describes the platform as 'the tool that will change lives and communities for the better in real-time!'
It is Gemma's hope that The Four Corners Connected supports all those working behind the scenes in communities to continue to develop themselves and improve their practice, share learning and outcomes from the work they do, map the hopes and experiences of groups and individuals in a way that better enables public, community and voluntary sector organisations to support the full diversity of communities across the UK.
Alongside the mission of the The Four Corners of the Land to promote equality and community development (including the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals) through encouraging an active global citizenship, Gemma believes The Four Corners Connected will support the resolution of key issues affecting communities such as serious youth violence, hate crime and hate incidents, and the negative impacts of poverty whilst helping organisations improve access to good quality services in health, housing and education for all. Gemma looks forward to collaborating and learning together with you.