Board of Directors: profiles

Helen Jones began her working life as an agricultural and horticultural worker.  She went on to co-own a business and has now, for a decade and a half, been the inspirational head of Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange.  She has enabled the organisation to grow despite austerity and to win a number of community change awards, as well as personally receiving an honorary degree from Dundee University in 2017.  She says she enjoys flying by the seat of her pants, but she has great skills in governance and people management to back up her belief in innovative and courageous action.

Robin Asby was a senior academic, consultant and researcher until his retirement in 2010, including mentoring managers internationally and working with many organisations in change management.  His major research interest is in systems thinking.  In Robin’s supposed retirement he’s fitted in a 1700 km walk to Santiago de Compostela with his wife, and stints as school governor (including 12 years at Tod High) and board member of the Incredible Farm (from 2014, ongoing).

Nick Green spent much of his working life in business, and in 1995 he acquired a run-down mill in Todmorden which he gradually restored: it now houses 27 small business units and is a going concern.  Nick was already a community activist when Incredible Edible began, and, always green-fingered, his involvement escalated from large-scale planting in the town, to establishing the Incredible Farm in 2011.  On its new site it’s world-famous as a centre of excellence as a sustainable social enterprise, and his award-winning work there made him runner-up for Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015.

Barbara Jones does things differently.  A pioneer of ‘natural building’ in the UK, she designed and built the UK’s first Council houses out of straw, the first two-storey strawbale houses, and the first terrace of strawbale houses.  She is also internationally acclaimed for developing a unique and empowering way of teaching practical skills on building sites, and over 60% of people who learn to work ‘on the tools’ at her School of Natural Building are women compared to 1% nationally. She is also the Director of Straw Works Ltd and has received many awards.

Janet Peter trained in Education but, after raising a family, her work career was largely in business.  For Network Rail she became an analyst for management and accident investigator, finishing there with 5 years’ work in major project development with other top organisations.   Retiring to Tod she is singing, knitting and sewing, learning the French horn – and, impressed with the skills of her fellow-trustees, says she is flattered and delighted to work with them as Treasurer.