Friends for Life is overseen by 3 Directors, Ken Barber, Wendy Jones and Sonya Wratten. You can find out a bit more about the Directors and their backgrounds below.
I have been a part of Friends for Life since 2010 and my wife Pauline and I have been Friends for Life befrienders for several years. My background skills include leadership and financial management skills, acquired from the 37 years I worked as a Corporate banking manager. For me, the ability to listen continues to be an important characteristic with Friends for Life befriending and serving as a Director.
I first become involved with Friends for Life when a member of Christ Church Bedford gave an interesting presentation in church on Friends for Life, which coincided with my retirement from Banking. I was also asked by the then Treasurer to assist Friends for Life in opening a new bank account, independent from the Deanery.
Outside of my involvement with Friends for Life I also act as team leader for Talking Newspapers for The Blind, serve as an advisor for Money Advice at St Andrews and continue actively seeking grant aid support to enable Christ Church Bedford to redevelop its rather shabby Halls for the benefit and greater use by the community.
I love to fit in a game of golf when the time permits and visit my grandchildren.
I have been an active member of Friends for Life since it began and, over the years, I have befriended four different residents.
My background is in social work, having spent 30 years as a Probation Officer. From this role, I acquired listening skills which are so vital in the role of a Friends for Life befriender.
In recent years, I have joined the management team of Friends for Life as a Director, a role where we focus on the future direction of Friends for Life, as well as the day to day operation of the project.
Aside from my work with Friends for Life, I am an active member of the congregation of St Paul’s Church, Bedford. I work for other charities – The Prebend Street Day Centre, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Red Cross among them.
At present I take on child care duties for my three youngest grandchildren two days per week. When time permits, I try to get to the gym, to read and particularly to meet friends for coffee.
I am currently the Priest in Charge of All Saints, Bedford where I have been for three years. Prior to ministering in Bedford, I served as a priest in Leicester. Before ordination, I worked for 10 years in the voluntary sector in community and voluntary group development. I trained primarily as a community artist but uses these skills now on a Sunday morning!
I joined Friends for Life as a Director in 2016 and I’m always accompanied to Friends for Life meetings with my canine companion Ruether, a three-year-old Labrador.