After leaving university with a mathematics degree, I began my career at Clerical Medical Investment Group, eventually becoming Finance Director of HBOS Financial Services. Through my wife’s involvement with the Scheme, I had been aware of Home-Start Bristol’s wonderful work for a long time and joined the Board as a Trustee in 2013. I later took over the role of Treasurer which suited my background in finance. As well as serving as Treasurer of Home-Start Bristol, I am also a Trustee of Quartet Community Foundation.
I spent most of my working life teaching English to teenagers in comprehensive schools. As I approached retirement age, I was increasingly convinced that the fine attempts which were made in schools to solve the problems of troubled teenagers and their families were interventions which came too late. I decided that I would do something to support families with pre-school children when I retired and was therefore overjoyed to discover from a leaflet through the door that Home-Start existed. I trained as a Home-Start volunteer in 2003, became a trustee in 2007 and have served as Vice-Chair and Chair. For the last 7 years I have taken the lead in the writing of funding applications. I am also a member of the planning sub-group and lead the new evaluation team. (Trustee lead for fundraising)
An Engineering graduate, I spent all my working life in Rolls Royce (the ‘jet engine’ business not the cars) mostly on Project Management, and the development of business processes and the associated IT systems. I joined the Scheme as a Trustee early in 2008, following the example of my wife, and served as Treasurer until 2014, since then concentrating on the development and support of our database and the flow of information from it. Owning, maintaining and flying a light aircraft prevents my Engineering skills from rusting away completely. (Trustee lead for IT)
I was brought up on the East Coast of Scotland and later moved to Bristol to complete a PGCE course. I have taught both in the inner city and on the outskirts of Bristol for 35 years. I have been involved with young people and families all my life and am an honorary aunt and big sister as well as an actual aunt and great aunt. One of my colleagues at my last school was and is involved with Home-Start so I gradually acquired an understanding of and admiration for the work being done by the organization. Once I had retired I decided to help with fundraising by abseiling down the Avon Gorge. After which being a trustee didn’t seem quite so scary! I am now the Safeguarding Trustee – trying to keep myself informed of any developments in that and helping to monitor how we support staff, volunteers and families where there are child protection concerns. (Trustee lead for safeguarding)
I joined Homestart Bristol in October 2014. Having started my career as a science teacher I moved into science advisory work and later held a senior role within a careers company where I managed careers and work related education in schools across S. Wales. I became involved with HSB because its aims and objectives are closely allied to my particular interest in education and in helping young people to achieve their potential. This often depends on having a good start in life and a stable family background. HSB plays a significant role in helping to achieve this with the families it supports. As well as being a trustee of HSB I currently serve as a school governor and as a generalist adviser at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. (Trustee lead for quality assurance).
I studied theology at Bristol University – Bristol turned out to be a good place to spend the rest of my life, theology was more of a dead end. I had two children and got involved as a volunteer in running the YHA, which gave me a lot of experience in managing buildings, finance and staff. When the children were older I ran the local community centre and then became a comprehensive school business manager for the next 26 years. When I retired I wanted to do something useful and being HR trustee for Home-Start uses the experience I had at school. I’m also a trustee of the Gatliff Trust, which runs travellers’ hostels in the Outer Hebrides, and of the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, which runs trips to interesting places, raising funds at the same time. And I play various percussion instruments in various music groups, for which the chief qualification is being able to lug lots of ironmongery around.
As manager of a SureStart Programme and Children’s Centres in Gloucestershire for 15 years, I commissioned Home-Start Stroud and worked closely with them for much of that time. I remain convinced that giving children the best possible start in life is one of the most important things that we can do. So, when I was approached by Home-Start Bristol about joining their Board, following my retirement, I agreed. I am now the HR Trustee responsible for recruitment and induction and staff terms and conditions. I also work as a freelance journalist, which is what I did in a previous life! I am a parent and grandparent. (Trustee lead for HR)
A Londoner by birth, I’ve been involved with children and families in various ways throughout my now long life. I’ve enjoyed being a parent, step-parent, foster-carer and now grandparent. Professionally, I worked for many years in the Probation Service, and also the Divorce Courts, a Mediation Service, schools and finally two universities where I helped train wannabe probation officers. That working life reinforced for me, as little else could have done, the absolutely vital role played by our HSB volunteers in helping our little ones develop and fulfil their potential.
I joined Home-Start Bristol as a trustee in December 2020 having become aware of the network through my job as a Grants Manager for a funding organisation in which we support many Home-Start schemes across the UK. I love the ethos of the network and believe passionately in the importance of giving children the best start in life. When I’m not working I can usually be found in one of Bristol’s parks with my son.
Helen Greer: Trustee
Sue Otty: Adviser
Janet Leonard: Adviser
Celia Ellis: Adviser
Maroussia Rochigneux: Adviser
Kate Innes: Adviser
Jules Appleby: Adviser