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.”
Tonya Connor - Group Facilitator & Trainer
I have known Bob and Liz since doing the The Next Project in 2012. Next gave me insight, opened up and enabled me to understand who I was in the past and present.
Graduating from the Next Project opened up many positive pathways for me. I was empowered and motivated. I understood and liked who I had become. This enabled me to volunteer at WDP in the family and carers team, alongside completing Foundation for Change’s year-long, Accredited Practitioner Training Programme. It has now become a great passion of mine to enable and empower people who may think they have no power.
I went on to work at a Lookahead Care and Support homeless hostel for 1 year supporting individuals with multiple and complex needs and joined Foundation for Change in April 2018. My role is Lead for the Feminism for Change project. It involves delivering the incredible Feminism for Change course and taking the ideas from that course outwards into our mixed gender courses.
My goal is to guide and empower people which I know can be achieved through the power of knowing and understanding oneself and through education.
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 - Communications
“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 important themes in my life, 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 social 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 allowed me to see the transformational power of being engaged and supported in such a process for people who are in recovery and have faced multiple forms of exclusion.
I manage communications at FfC, which includes our website, newsletter, printed and promotional materials for our courses and other activities... I love the flexibility and emphasis on mutual aid and supporting each other to learn and grow. I believe through sharing our skills and experiences we 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. It's great to work somewhere that puts this into practice.”