Foundation for Change was founded in April 2014 by Bob Bharij and Liz Naylor to address the serious lack of support identified at the latter stages of individuals’ treatment journeys.
We recognise that once an individual has given up their dependency on a substance, they often become dependent on treatment and welfare and are not adequately supported to take the final steps towards true independence. All of our programmes address the lack of adequate provision, a time often described as “feeling like falling off a cliff”.
We provide the support, knowledge, tools and ultimately self-esteem needed to adequately transition out of the treatment system and into society. Those we work with have often been written off by society, yet we are aspirational for them, working closely with them to help them realise their full potential.
Get to Know Our Team
Bob Bharij - Director of Operations
“I vowed never to have anything to do with psychology again when I finished my degree in the subject at the age of 21. It’s not without a sense of irony that I now find myself co-leading an organisation that advocates the study and practice of psychology as a means to make living in the world that little bit easier.
A passion for change – at all levels – and a respect for the capacity to grow are threads running through my life to this date. I entered the substance misuse field in 2004 and became excited about the idea to facilitate change in the people I worked with not through therapeutic interventions but by increasing self awareness. In effect, they could then go on affecting change in themselves and move beyond the identity of a client. Two years later in 2006, I qualified as a yoga teacher and have integrated my training and experience in both worlds over the years. This has led to a deep understanding of the inner workings of the whole being, with a particular focus on trauma and it’s impact on the body-mind connection.
I believe that everyone has a story, that every body tells a story. People need to build a relationship with themselves, their bodies, and the world around them, and that making sense of the past is crucial in moving forwards into the future.”
Liz Naylor - Director of Learning
“When I stopped using heroin I was faced with the daunting prospect of discovering who I was. This felt like a shameful admission for someone in their late 30s. I had a poor experience of education and no qualifications so went to a local college and completed an access course. From there I went on to study at Queen Mary’s, University of London gaining first class honour degrees at Undergraduate and Masters level. I was studying for my PhD when I started to work part-time in the substance misuse sector. That was in 2005. I never left.
To paraphrase Marx, I realised I wanted to change the world rather than interpret it. One of the things I love about working with people is that they constantly surprise and amaze me; that the strength, ingenuity and decency of people is humbling and inspiring.
What I bring to Foundation for Change is my belief in the transformative power of education and the importance of having an understanding of the past. My favourite moments are those where people make connections and grow before my eyes.”
Laura Mitchelmore - Group Facilitator/Trainer
I always knew I wanted to work in a therapeutic field. Growing up I had an interest in psychology, sadly it was not deemed academic enough at my school so I had to wait until later in life to study it. In 2008 I enrolled on a life changing course run by Bob and Liz where I was able to study and apply my behaviour to psychological theories, I’ve never been the same since – and for the better.
What I love about working in this field is seeing people who against all odds fight hard to make something of their life – to see pure resilience in action. Sometimes I’m not sure who is learning more from a group – me or the learners!
My drive is to support and promote a way of living where we are comfortable discussing and dealing with both our physical and mental state of being without being numb to our feelings.
Bex Exell - Clothing for Change
I’ve been involved with Foundation for Change since 2015. My time here has been a pivotal part of my life and extremely significant in how I now choose to live it. I initially completed the NEXT Project, which gave me a powerful insight into the relationship I have with myself. It taught me to have a much healthier dialogue with myself, and has been instrumental in helping me identify and achieve my goals.
I began FfC’s year-long, level 3 course – the Accredited Practitioner Training programme – in 2016 to gain the knowledge and skills needed to work in the sector, carrying out my volunteer placement with FfC. I studied illustration and then moved into costume design, wanting to somehow bring this love of art and the connection it allows us to make to ourselves to people in recovery. During my placement, I was helped to visualise and structure my dream of creating a project that combined my passion for people, clothes and creativity: Clothing for Change. This will be a qualification-based training scheme in which individuals will learn the basics of tailoring, learning to make clothing that will sell through our online clothing shop.
I’m excited to be able to contribute towards FfC, expanding the scope of what I see as being an incredible charity that is always open to new ideas and ways of working.
Katie Higgins - Group Facilitator & Tutor
“I spent my 20s working in environmental and social justice campaigning – a mixture of people, planet, passion and politics. Sustainability and transformation have always been themes in my work, whether it’s looking at how we can live, work and care for one another on a finite planet to how we can strengthen and empower people to bring about change.
I benefitted first-hand from examining my own life through the lens of psychological theory with Foundation for Change and began working with them in September 2016. The combination of theory and practice in a group setting has allowed me to see the transformational power of this kind of education for people in recovery, many of whom face multiple disadvantages.
I facilitate the Peer Development Group for graduates of our psychology training programmes. I love the emphasis on mutual aid and supporting each other to learn and develop at FfC. Through sharing our skills and experience we can become more than the sum of our parts and can bring about the change we wish to see in ourselves and the world around us.”