People

Peter Bevan

My main employment comprised working as a Mental Health Social Worker in East London. During my life I have received hospitality in a number of countries including Uganda and, more recently, in Morocco. My membership of the Steering Group is a way of repaying the many kindnesses that have been shown to me – a “stranger.”

Ruth Forecast

Ruth Forecast

I have had a fulfilling career as a teacher of Music and English. For many years I lived overseas in Tanzania, Latvia and Italy where I enjoyed working with people from many different cultures and backgrounds. I now live in Malvern and am married with 3 grown-up children. I have always cared passionately about human rights and am an active member of Amnesty International UK. The world is experiencing the biggest refugee crisis since WW2. How can we turn our backs and do nothing?

John Raine

John Raine

My primary career has been as an academic at the University of Birmingham where I am Professor of Management and Governance in Criminal Justice.  In recent years I have also been very active as a locally elected councillor – at both district and county council levels.  As such, over the past year, I have been working hard to persuade our councils to host some Syrian refugee families.  While the Government’s austerity programme is making life very difficult financially for councils, Worcestershire, overall, is a relatively well-resourced county and also benefits from having a vibrant voluntary sector. Together, we can surely do much through resettlement here and the provision of humanitarian support to alleviate the terrible suffering that such families have endured for so long.

Dick Stockford

Dick Stockford

I worked in local government and NHS before becoming a senior Civil Servant in the Department of Health. I had a private practice as a facilitator and coach and now chair a national charity www.growingpoints.co.uk. The charity helps people from excluded communities (including refugees) achieve their ambitions.

Sue Wolfendale

Sue Wolfendale

I was brought up in Malvern and returned 28 years ago with my family. In the 70s I trained as a Social Worker and for the last ten years of my career I was based in a local GP surgery, working mainly with older people. I am an active member of Amnesty International, both with the local group and in the Books for Amnesty shop in Great Malvern as well as being part of the Malvern Fairtrade group. I feel passionately that we must offer a safe haven to those who have fled the devastation of Syria and look forward to being involved with their arrival and settling into our beautiful town.

Alison King

I have been a children’s Social Worker all my adult life. Despite having ‘retired’ four years ago I still carry out some work in fostering services. I was born in Malvern and as such I am delighted to have been living here again for the past nine years. I believe passionately that we should, and must, help those less fortunate than ourselves, particularly children uprooted and separated from their families due to conflict.

David Kitcat

I practise locally as a solicitor. I moved to Malvern ten years ago with my family and am very happy to be living in this community. I grew up in South Africa. While I was there worked as a volunteer with the Black Sash. For me, apart from being the country where my grandfathers were born, Britain always represented a place of refuge and safety for the world’s persecuted. That spirit of openness and tolerance clearly needs to be fostered from generation to generation and I am happy to belong to a charity which represents this British value.

Dan Herbert

I am a qualified accountant and after periods working for the National Audit Office and in local government I now work at the University of Birmingham as Director of Education in the Business School. Recently I have been using my accounting skills to help local groups. All too often it is lack of professional advice that stops groups achieving their aims. The aim of doing something to address the needs of refugees through community action is one I see as particularly valuable.

Mark Russell

I’m Mark, and I joined Malvern Welcomes early in 2019 with the hope to try and help people from most unfortunate situations I believe no one should have to experience in their lives.
I have no professional experience in social work, but come with compassion as well as practical and people skills I have picked up over the last 25 years as a full time circus skills performer. I offer friendship and help to families resettled here. Help can involve organising house repairs, helping with technology, explaining local culture / facilities, giving lifts and having fun!

Jean Bryant

As Lead for the first Community Sponsored family, I find it rewarding to see them becoming more established, more confident with their English and with taking decisions and planning for their future.
I volunteered initially as the scheme gives a positive way to help. Just look how it has grown, with befriending extending to other families in Malvern.
I am all admiration for the Malvern Welcomes Team, for their expert advice and guidance and grateful to the Malvern Welcomes Group for all their practical support that makes this possible.

Karen Argent

I am an experienced teacher and ex university lecturer – now happily retired and have always been very interested in finding ways to educate my students about the diverse experiences of refugees.
I am also Director of ‘The Letterpress Project’ a not-for-profit initiative campaigning for people of all ages and backgrounds to have access to a range of good quality books. In this capacity I continue to work with schools and universities using books to develop empathy.
My role in the Malvern Welcomes is to work in partnership with schools and newly arrived families to recognise the strengths of individual children and to ensure that they experience a positive and inclusive education. I regularly liaise with staff about overall progress and support individual children at school in partnership with the ESOL team.

Ann Courtney

I have lived in Malvern for about 40 years, and am married with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. I worked with children as a social worker and play therapist for many years, and am now nearly retired.
I am volunteering as a family lead.

Helen Louise

I’ve been volunteering as an ESOL tutor with Malvern Welcomes since July 2018. I feel passionate about supporting refugees as they settle into the local community and aim to create a friendly, welcoming environment where they can feel relaxed, encouraged and hopefully, have fun while they learn! At the same time, I am always inspired and impressed by their resilience, hard work and determination to improve their English!

Sharon Baker

Born in Malvern, I was a freelance artist overseas and then national development officer for an organisation supporting disabled people, alongside studying languages and linguistics. I’ve been an English and foreign language teacher for 10 years. I’m Malvern Welcomes’ ESOL Coordinator, working with an excellent team of tutors to provide English lessons for families seeking sanctuary in Malvern. The ESOL programme responds to the changing needs of each family, so they can quickly become empowered members of our community. All are incredibly motivated learners! You don’t choose to leave everything and everyone you know and love but are forced to flee. We should do all we can to help.

Fiona Charmichael

I have been working as an academic since 1986 – at the universities of East Anglia, Aberystwyth, Salford and now Birmingham, where I am a Professor in Economics. I have also worked in the civil service and for a bank. I have lived in different places in the UK and also in different countries as a child and so have a bit of experience of being a ‘stranger’. It’s good that Malvern Welcomes is supporting people whose lives have become so perilous that they needed to travel such a long way to find peace.

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