Michelle Preston

My Changemaker Residency at Hawkwood –  A Time to Connect: Create: Collaborate


I sit looking out of the arched window in the Garden Room here at Hawkwood, listening to the rain and watching the autumn leaves drift gently down from the trees outside.  This room has become my place of rest, reflection, regeneration and most importantly writing for the last five days.  I’m languishing in the luxury on the fifth and final day of my Changemaker Residency here at Hawkwood College, a Centre for Future Thinking, and a place like no other.

As a woman who has committed her life to a path purpose in the field of social change for almost 25 years, and supports other to find and follow their own path with heart, there has been little time for me to take a step out of that world that I love so much.  And because of this, the book that for so long I’ve wanted to write, and so many others have asked when it will be written, has remained hidden away inside and scribbled into so many notebooks over the years.  Until now.

This residency has been such a luxury, and staying at Hawkwood has been quite magical, I feel nurtured and nourished on every level.  I love this place and I’ve been here for quite a few events over the years, both as an attendee and contributor, but being here on residency is something totally unique.  The setting is (obviously) quite beautiful but it’s also the people that make it so special.  Under the clear and gracious leadership of Alicia Carey you can witness first hand the benefits of the dedication and hard work she pours into this place, and this is then demonstrated in turn by all the staff who are here.

I came to work on the long anticipated book about women changing the world and to create practical resources for the work I do with women who are changing the world, and also to plan some new strands of work for next year.  But I achieved so  much more during my time here.

I leave with a renewed sense of purpose and belief in my own abilities as a writer and changemaker.  I leave rested, relaxed and rejuvenated. I leave with a sense of calm and an open heart and mind, my faith in humanity restored a little bit more in these troubled times. I leave nourished and nurtured on every level – and the food needs a blog post all of its own!

Heartfelt thanks to all here at the wonderful Hawkwood x

Michelle Preston is a Change Maker, Positive Psychologist and Coach, as well as a conference host, facilitator, and workshop leader.  Given Fellowship of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) “in light of exceptional work and longstanding commitment to supporting organisations that deliver social change” she is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, twice elected RSA Fellowship Councillor for the South West, a Fellow of the School of Social Entrepreneurs and named as one of five women changing the world by the RSA in 2018 for International Women’s Day.

Michelle has been following a lifelong path of personal development, wellbeing and social change and spent her adult life working with charitable organisations committed to the physical, social, emotional and psychological wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Working in the Voluntary Sector for 25 years has provided her with countless opportunities to support and enhance the wellbeing of individuals, organisations and communities.  It has allowed her to develop and deepen her understanding of the value and importance of cultivating happiness, health and wellbeing and how this can be maintained, enhanced and improved.



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