My community experience began when I was a child running around the streets of Gendros, Swansea. I was never arrested, cautioned by the police or excluded from school, but I did enjoy being outside in the fields and making my own fun with equally wicked friends. Unlike Theresa May who dared to run through the long grass when she was a child, I had a tendency to see how far I could push teachers, steal apples and burn stuff. Apart from a few of my friends who got into trouble with the police for overstepping some important lines into violence, arson and theft, we were all more or less the same. I hated school. Some did well in their exams and some didn't care - school was irrelevant and didn't really fit into the stream of their lives. I was in this latter category.
My community was held together for generations by heavy industry and school was something you had to get out of the way before joining the works. So one child from Gendros in the 70s ends up teaching at a university. Old friends of mine became teachers, business leaders, chartered accountants, politicians, singers, computing engineers, lawyers, local government officers, managers and civil servants. Others died tragically young.
My approach to 'community' comes from my childhood: all human life was there. All human life is still there in communities across Wales. If we have enough humility to understand that communities and the individuals within them hold huge, often untapped potential, with people who possess the full range of intellectual capacities, even though it may lay dormant or be redirected into questionable activities, then we are on the right path.