I was born in Birmingham and then studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. I then worked in the theatre for some years before moving to Bristol with my husband and had two children both of whom are grown up with families of their own. I studied for an Open University degree when the children were small and subsequently became a lecturer in Performing Arts at the UWE, a post I held for 20 years. For the last 20 years I have been a magistrate in Bristol.

My years dealing with students and young people have taught me what an invaluable resource they are for our city but some need extra help and encouragement. As a magistrate have shown me that people may not conform but, with the aid of wonderful projects like SOFA, help can be given so that their lives and those near them can be transformed. I now want to be able to help them.

Retired Magistrate

Ruth Snary - Chair

I am solicitor advising private individuals and charities. Originally from London I have lived in Bristol for a number of years and am grateful for an opportunity to use my experience and legal skills to contribute to the wider community.

Private client solicitor in large law firm in Bristol

Edward Porter

Currently employed as a Regional Change Leader within the Sustainability Team for IKEA UK&IE. Passionate about driving the Circular and Sharing Economy agenda through IKEA and now with SOFA Project.

40 years of experience in Retail Management with a number of leading retailers including ASDA and B&Q. Keen to contribute to SOFA through use of my commercial and retail experience adding both analytical and practical support to help SOFA achieve it’s goals.

Regional Change Leader (Sustainability Team for IKEA)

Lynn Maxwell

I am a mum and I have two children, I also work full time for UWE Bristol (University of the West of England) in the Faculty of Environment and Technology as Head of Faculty Strategic Developments. Currently in my role I am client lead on a large construction project where we are designing a new space for our Department of Engineering.  Previously I worked for the Faculty of Business and Law as client lead on a £56m new build project where we built a new facility for Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School.

I have worked at UWE Bristol since 2001. I have worked in different roles during this time including student facing, finance and planning to now project management. I was also a part time fitness instructor for 15 years. Since having my children, now 5 and 8, I have studied part time to gain my PG Cert in Management. I also work as volunteer for the Bristol homeless charity ‘Caring at Christmas’.

I am very excited about being part of SOFA and very happy to be able to offer any skills and experience I may have to this great charity. I have lived in Bristol all my life and have always known about SOFA project and the good work it carries out. I believe this charity positively impacts on people who may be struggling at certain times of their lives.

Head of Faculty Strategic Developments, UWE Bristol

Marianne Reed

Recently retired from 20 years as a business consultant to biomedical companies, most of them small and in the early phase of development, I previously worked in various countries for an international chemicals/pharmaceutical company and before that in a small family business in textiles in Manchester, where I was born and brought up. I have a degree in German and Philosophy.

SOFA fulfils an important function in supporting the many groups who find life a challenge in one way or another, whether they be purchasers of its products or workers in its operation. I am delighted to be involved and as much as I am able to draw on my business experience to help the organisation thrive and expand its good work.

Bristol born businessman

Chris Neild

I am a Chartered Accountant by profession; qualifying with Ernst & Young Bristol. I spent some time with National Power on their international finance side looking at overseas investments, before working on its demerger. Prior to having a family I headed the finance side of Mastek UK, an Indian-owned IT solutions company.


Whilst at home with my four children, I have been involved in the local Community Pre-School as Chair and Treasurer, securing Local Authority funding for a new pre-school to be built in the grounds of the local primary school. The Sofa Project is one that assists many sectors of the community and to which I am happy to give my support.

Chartered Accountant

Glenda Hagger

Currently a wholesale business owner based in Bristol, I have also worked internationally as an urban development consultant in very diverse conditions and communities, including in humanitarian work.  As a proud mum of a young son alongside managing a fast-growing business, I know that there are always new and often unexpected ways to solve a problem and manage precious resources to achieve a goal. 


To me the SOFA project has shown that the non-profit sector can be creative, innovative and effective in making sure that neither goods or people’s skills go to waste.  I am proud to join the Trustee team and put my own skills and experience to new and good use as well.

Wholesale business owner

Kate Clifford