Gareth Heard – Chair of the Board of Trustees
I have been involved with Home–Start Wokingham District since 2016 and I have been fortunate enough to have been the Chair of Trustees from 2018-2021
In my professional career, I worked in an environment where delivering the goods on time and in full was fundamental to success. The same principles lie at the heart of the work carried out by the dedicated team of volunteers and staff at Home-Start. It is this dynamic attitude which makes Home-Start such a successful and worthwhile charity to support.
I intend to continue to support them in their endeavours because I believe young children and their parents deserve all the support we can give them.
Athena Guna – Treasurer
I am a mum to two girls, Asia (15) and Arya (11 going on 21!) and husband Vem. I am a qualified accountant working within the VAT team at Reckitt. I spend my spare time in the garden resuscitating and willing the plants to live. I’m thrilled to be able to make a contribution to Home-Start Wokingham’s great work.
I worked as a Primary school teacher in Bracknell for about twenty years. On retirement I was looking to do some Voluntary work and felt that Home-Start was a good fit for my skills, having worked with young children for so many years and having brought up three children of my own. I volunteered with Home-Start, supporting a family with a disabled child for nearly three years before becoming a Trustee in 2018. I currently chair the Staffing committee and the Quality Assurance committee.
I am a semi-retired Project Director with over 35 years of airline and general management experience, recently returned to the UK after working abroad on major airport development projects. I joined Home-Start in 2020 because with a social worker in our family who specialises in dealing with teenagers, I understand just how important the early years are in shaping a child’s character, their education and their future.
I was lucky enough to become a Trustee at Home-Start Wokingham following my recent retirement from a career in Education. As a teacher it was obvious how crucial it was for a child to begin their school life with the correct skills and resilience to enable them to achieve their full potential in whatever they choose to do. As a parent and grandparent, I have seen how much children learn and develop in the first five years and that Home-Start helps families to give their children the best possible experience in their early years.
I joined Home-Start Wokingham District in August 2019 as a trustee. Having had help from the most wonderful volunteer myself when my twins were little, I know what a difference it can make to a family. I look forward to seeing more of this organization as my own children get older and I have more time to be involved.
I joined Home Start Wokingham District when I retired from full time work in 2014, taking over as Chair of Trustees, a position I held for four years. I have been a member of the Staffing and Resources Committee and now I am involved with Fundraising.
In my working life I was involved in Education Management and had experience of managing teams, leadership, student support and safeguarding issues, and I believe that I have the necessary skills to offer appropriate advice and guidance to our wonderful, hardworking staff and volunteers. Seeing my own grandchildren grow makes me realise even more how important the first five years are.
I became a Trustee of Home-Start having retired from being headteacher of a large primary school in the London Borough of Hounslow. The work Home-Start does with young families is much needed and of a very high quality. The professional team and the volunteers do amazing things.
I feel that as a Trustee I am part of a valuable community resource which enables so many children and parents to learn, prosper and grow.
I joined Home-Start as a Volunteer and Trustee about 16 years ago when I retired as Manager of Wokingham Volunteer Centre. I had learned of their work with families and, having had no family nearby when I had my children, realised the value of having someone totally non-judgemental and supportive to talk to. I have never regretted my decision and have learned so much about other cultures and ways of life. I am very proud of the fact that one of my Mums has become a Trustee and another is now employed by Home-start.
Malcolm Richards joined the Board of Trustees in November 2021. He has lived in Wokingham for many years and has been both a Borough and Town Councillor, including being Mayor of Wokingham Borough during 2020-21. His interests lie in many different aspects of community, including education, equality of opportunity, health, family, and the quality of everyday life.
Malcolm describes himself as an enthusiastic person, an optimist who enjoys meeting people and discussing their views and opinions and concerns. He thinks that most people, when given a fair opportunity, would want to, and are really able to, achieve so much that can enrich their quality of life.
Malcolm’s career was based on IT and business consultancy, plus the delivery of education and training services in various areas of commerce and industry, both within the UK and abroad.
He is hoping to help Home-Start make a real difference to the lives of families in the Borough.