Photo courtesy of Mark Brookes
We are also very grateful to the many volunteers who have shared ideas and advice; staffed the Zero Nights shelter and Big Red Housing Bus; helped to set up FACLT; and been on the steering group of the Frome Landlords Association and Tiny Homes initiative.
Without their enthusiasm, skills and goodwill it would be impossible for FHfF to function.
I feel passionately that everyone needs to have access to a secure home in which to live.
I have a background in facilitation and leadership development and have worked with organisations in both the statutory and voluntary sectors.
I have enjoyed being part of developing FHfF and exploring what can be changed for the better in the context of a complex national as well as local housing situation.
I am a director of Frome Area Community Land Trust and a Frome Town Councillor.
For a long time, I have been deeply concerned with the challenges many people face in finding affordable and secure housing, and how the situation is deteriorating rather than improving.
When I moved to Frome, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to offer whatever I could to the group that became FHfF, and soon became a director, even though I have no background of working within organisations. I’ve learned a great deal in this role, including how we all have skills to offer whatever our background, and about what changes can be made on a local level despite national trends.
Although many people have told me that nothing can be done to address the housing crisis, FHfF has renewed my confidence in what can be achieved when people choose to work together in community, and has given me an enormous sense of hope for the future.
I am also very happy to have been recently accepted as a director of FACLT (Frome Area Community Land Trust).
I became a volunteer for Fair Housing for Frome in 2017 and a director in 2018.
My motivation for being in involved comes from my own personal experience of renting in the town, without any real prospect of being able to own a home.
After some difficult experiences with renting properties, I now live with my husband and young child in a lovely house which is leased to us long term, at a fair price and with the support of kind and caring landlords.
Knowing how unique this situation is, I want to do whatever I can to create similar opportunities for others. I now work part-time for the team offering administrative support, including the designing of logos, leaflets and posters as well as managing the FHfF Facebook page.
I believe that every person is entitled to a home of their own, as this benefits the whole of society and promotes a stable and prosperous community.
I have long admired the Quaker businesses which amongst other things made housing their workers, on a participatory basis, a pillar of their corporate strategy.
We need to promote something similar in our wonderful community of Frome. It is to this end that I am pleased to be involved in Fair Housing for Frome to work with like-minded people.
My first direct experience of homelessness was in the 1980s, when I volunteered in an emergency night shelter at St James’s Church Piccadilly in central London.
Over the next ten years I went on to set up a day centre for Acton Homeless Concern, two cold weather shelters for Crisis, a housing initiative for Centrepoint, the National Day Centres Project (now part of Homeless Link), and carried out a research project into people who were begging on the street. I’ve also been a landlord for over twenty years.
On moving to Frome in 2014, it struck me that housing and homelessness was the gap in the town’s otherwise vibrant and innovative third sector, and it’s been a privilege to be involved with FHfF from the very first meeting.
I have a particular interest in the potential of kindness to transform individuals and society, and with my husband run a local pay it forward café and centre for exploring kindness called The Good Heart.
I was a founder of FHfF in 2015 and was its first chair, organising monthly meetings during 2016 to explore the issues around housing in Frome.
I have always held the view that one of the main problems in modern society is the greed and possessiveness which has turned housing into a profitable commodity rather than a social necessity.
Therefore, my passion within FHfF has been to encourage sharing and community – focusing on encouraging lodging and the creation of community within new developments.
Professionally, I am a physical therapist and worked for three decades with children with physical disabilities. I developed a system which, instead of focusing on problems, emphasised areas of ability and helped the client to explore and challenge themselves from this place of positive spirit. This is particularly relevant to people with disabilities but it works for everyone.
My work now is teaching postgraduate courses all over the world showing physical therapists how to work in this way.
In Frome, I focus on voluntary work. I am vice-chair of Open Story Tellers, a charity which helps people with learning disability to share their story and become valuable members of society.
I also founded Elderventure, an organisation that helps people to maintain their self-value as they grow older and which facilitates intergenerational projects.
I have lived in Frome since 1992. Much of my past working life has been to do with social housing and community engagement.
For many years I worked for a national organisation helping to turn around unpopular estates and neighbourhoods, to empower residents, and to help social landlords improve services.
I also run a training consultancy, providing training for tenant and community groups and social housing providers.
Within FHfF, I have particularly focused on setting up the Frome Area Community Land Trust (FACLT) and am currently chair of its board of directors.