Meet our Community Director: Andres Ossa

We want you to meet our Community Director: Andres Ossa. Andres is 43 (and shakes his head at the thought of this fact) and is originally from Colombia. He likes to think of himself as a citizen of the world because Plymouth is the fifth country he’s lived in. And the UK is his fourth continent.

As a Community Director Andres is best placed to act as a neighbour to the trust. He can represent our interests within the Stonehouse community from his unique perspective. This is such an invaluable resource to us here and we would like to share part of his story with you today.

First Impressions of Plymouth and Stonehouse?

I came here on a holiday with my wife. Her dad took me around the town and we visited the centre. I couldn’t believe how small it was. It’s the smallest city I’ve ever lived in. Before moving to Plymouth we lived in Dublin which is also small, and very flat. Which means it’s easy to walk from corner to corner in one afternoon. 

And Plymouth is half the size of that!

Our first evening out was at Royal William Yard so Stonehouse is my favourite place to be. We enjoyed a beautiful evening with stunning views. Amazing architecture and probably the most important for me, the most friendly people.

How did you become a Community Director?

I met Mandy at a networking event and we hit it off immediately. I was impressed with her openness. As I found out more about the Millfields Trust, the more I wanted to get involved.

How is life in Plymouth?

I’m a Stay-at-home dad to our four-year-old boy. I’ve invested a lot of time helping him become a bilingual child but it’s been difficult because I’m the only person communicating to him in Spanish. My wife is an amazing woman. Because of her job, we’re able to live comfortably here in Plymouth and I’m able to be a stay-at-home dad. Making sure food is in the cupboards and our meals are prepared each evening. We are a team and I feel blessed to be here looking after our son and supporting my wife.

Putting those bilingual skills to good use.

When I first moved to Plymouth I invested in a Spanish Amigos franchise because I wanted to work for myself. It was important for me to have a level of control. They have been a great organisation to work with. I have met some amazing people because of it. When my son begins school I’ll be in a good position to start something again with the support of Mandy and the Millfields team.

Meet our Community Director: Andres Ossa, Millfields Trust

There’s one striking thing you’ll notice about Andres when you meet him and that’s his smile. See the above image for evidence of this. He is a friendly person with a passion for coffee. Ask him what to look out for on the back of a coffee packet and you will definitely learn something new.

But his smile does hide some of the difficulties Andres has experienced personally here in Plymouth. It has not always been easy living in such a small city with an almost non-existent South American community for him to connect with. Andres has met several people from across the globe who attempted to call Plymouth home but sadly, for many reasons have returned to their native countries or moved to other regions of the UK.

Adapting to life in the South West as well as the effects of the lockdown and other challenges in his life, Andres’ mental health has suffered. He freely admits this and praises the NHS and calls it the “Greatest English invention!” He has been able to access the right services through his GP but adds that “I’m very lucky to have a really supportive family. And I don’t know how, but I managed to marry the most amazing woman walking this earth!”

We look forward to working with Andres in the future and hearing all about his plans to develop a Spanish after-school club here at the HQ Building.

Mental Health

We thank Andres for being so open about his mental health and if you are in need of support, we recommend you contact your local GP. If for some reason that’s not possible, please find some helpful links below.

Livewell Southwest