Christine Watson MBE is the Managing Director of Discovery Student Volunteering Swansea. The passion of the student volunteers and the difference they make to the disadvantaged people they work with has kept her in the role for over 20 years. Chris has helped many students develop their personal skills and gain a passion for the voluntary sector, with many students choosing to stay in Swansea after they have graduated. Their involvement in volunteering through Discovery has helped them engage with diverse groups of people in the community and develop a sense of belonging.
She is the founder and director of the Swansea-Siavonga Partnership, a project working across Swansea and Siavonga, Zambia to improve the lives of people living in poverty. This project has become Christine’s true passion since her Welsh Government placement there in 2008. Teaching business skills to womens’ groups from rural villages remains the projects core work, although the project has expanded to include school linking programmes, a scholarship scheme to keep vulnerable orphans in education, a research project into livelihoodsand fitting solar panels into schools with no computers or lights.
Alongside this, Christine has spent many years as a trustee for SCVS, (Swansea Council Voluntary Service), and is the treasurer (and former Chair) of the South Wales Volunteer Forum, which she helped establish in 2003. In other roles Chris is a former director and Ladies Captain of Clyne Golf Club and is currently a director of Red Dragon Flagmakers based in the Uplands.
This year has seen Christine receive an MBE for Services to Student Volunteering and Education, as well as Discovery getting the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, an achievement which was due in no small part to Chris’ contribution to the organisation.
Chris has also been the inaugural winner of the Swansea University Mary Williams Award, with a certificate being presented by the Vice Chancellor in the 2015 winter graduation ceremonies. Chris was nominated for this prestigious award by her colleagues who wanted her contribution to their development and her dedication to the pursuit of equality, both within the work environment and Swansea generally, to be externally recognised.