At the heart of the community

A big welcome to Eddy Maxwell MBE our man in the Midlands.

As contracts manager and based at our new Nottingham office, Eddy is managing our relationship with customers in the Midlands and looking after recruitment as we build our presence. Eddy has vast experience in the construction sector which will be invaluable to us.

He is a respected figure in Nottingham and his MBE was awarded for initiatives within the community, which go back over three decades. In particular, he has dedicated himself to developing and working in organisations assisting the long term unemployed back into work and promoting arts and culture in Nottingham. In this respect, he played a prominent role in the development of The New Art Exchange, an award winning multi arts organisation and venue in Hyson Green, Nottingham. The new £5.6m venue was delivered on time and within budget, it was awarded the RIBA award for design excellence.

Eddy said: “I came to the UK from Jamaica in 1969 and was brought up by my grandmother. I am very proud of my roots and of the contribution that a small country like Jamaica has brought to the UK and the international stage particularly in areas such as sports and the arts.

“My career focus has always been within construction but I have a real life vocation for arts and culture. As a person of colour, growing up in the Midlands I was often aware of negative stereotypes of minority communities, particularly in the media. I wanted to help change this and create a positive image and found that this could be done through the arts.

“I became involved in art projects helping to promote greater awareness of the arts from diverse communities, particularly African Caribbean and South Asian Communities.   This involved successfully promoting arts from artists of diverse cultures to the mainstream public including working with schools and community groups.

“Having been involved in the arts since 1997, I was appointed chairman of the East Midlands African Caribbean Arts, which promoted arts of African Caribbean diaspora and encouraged better social cohesion. I helped to raise £2.6 million in funding from the Arts Council and we built on this by raising a further £3 million pounds from other funders.

“With the funding, we opened the doors in September 2008 to the New Art Exchange Centre in Nottingham. As a multi-arts complex, the centre is home to exhibitions, art groups, a café, rehearsal and performance spaces, featuring performances and discussions.  This creates opportunities for members of the audience to experience and exchange perspectives from diverse cultures without having to travel abroad to gain similar experiences.  Thus, reflecting the diverse cultures of people that populate the towns and cities of modern Britain.

“My construction knowledge certainly helped as I was able to help recruit architects, contractors and developers with the design and build. The centre will shortly be celebrating its 10 year anniversary and I can proudly say it is one of the top galleries in the UK.

“I am fortunate to have been a director of both NECTA Ltd, a voluntary organisation that assisted the long-term unemployed with training and skills with the aim of finding employment in construction. I also established Excel, a professional support network for people from the African-Caribbean communities. It has really all been driven out of a great passion I have to enable learning and to bring neighbourhoods together through arts, music and dance.

“In 2010 I received an MBE for service to the arts and community in Nottingham. This provoked a real mix of emotions. I was very humbled, felt proud but also slightly embarrassed, as I have always had a team of people around me and felt they also deserved the acknowledgement, as you cannot work in isolation.”