Ruth Snary - Chair
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 I have appreciated that some people may face considerable struggles but, with the aid of wonderful projects like SOFA, help can be given so that their lives and those near them can be transformed.
Born & educated in Edinburgh, I taught in secondary and tertiary education in Scotland before moving to Hong Kong where I taught in a secondary school. Before returning to UK, I retrained to teach people with Dyslexia and then taught in an adult male prison. While working there I became involved, as a volunteer, on a reading scheme with Shannon Trust. I have had various roles with Shannon Trust over 17 years, and am now area coordinator for 6 prisons in the southwest.
I am privileged to be able to help make a difference to people who may be struggling at times in their lives. The reuse and recycling of household goods is something I thoroughly approve of and support.
Head of Faculty Strategic Developments, UWE Bristol
A mum of 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 I am client lead on large construction projects e.g. the 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 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.
Chris Neild Vice chair
Bristol born businessman
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.
I am a committed environmentalist who has worked in both the Waste and Rail Industries. More recently I was a Green Councillor and Assistant Mayor on Bristol City Council in George Ferguson’s rainbow cabinet. During my time as AM, one of my responsibilities was the waste portfolio and introduced a new policy for the city: ‘Towards a Zero Waste City’ which is still in place.
Since losing my Council seat I worked for the Bristol-based community interest company Playing Out where I helped achieve national policy change on street play. After a stint in Environmental Consultancy I now work part-time for the Green Party as a regional field organiser. I am also currently a non-executive director of Bristol Energy Co-op.
I was born in London and came to university in Bristol in 2000 to study law. I have since settled in Bristol with my husband and young son. I am a partner at law firm Simmons & Simmons LLP and specialise in real estate transactions.
Having supported SOFA on pro-bono real estate matters in the past, when the opportunity to further support them as a trustee arose, I was delighted to do so.
Marketing and Communications Consultant
I started my career in advertising in London, before taking broader senior marketing roles at Prudential and later LloydsTSB in Bristol. I then joined the senior management team at UWE Bristol alongside other roles such as Governor for a local FE College and representing the sector on national bodies. I now provide consultancy.
I have lived in Bristol for some 25 years. I was drawn to the SOFA Project because it offered a role model for today’s economy – achieving multiple outcomes from each donation in terms of meaningful employment for those in need, rehabilitation of prisoners, help for those on low incomes and preventing landfill.
Retired charity director
Now retired I worked for 25 years for the Workers’ Educational Association eventually as Director of Education & Strategy for England and later Director of Membership, Volunteering & Marketing. My adult and community education experience had a particular focus on disadvantaged adults in communities across the West Midlands.
Prior to that I was a Community Development officer and originally a Town Planner with Telford New Town Development Corporation. I live in Clevedon where I’m active in Sustainable Clevedon – a Transition Town group.
Manager, The Galleries, Broadmead, Bristol
I have managed The Galleries since October 2019, recently becoming Chairman of the Broadmead BID. Previously I managed a shopping centre in Peterborough where I was also Chairman of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce; I was also Treasurer for Disability Peterborough and was on the board of the local YMCA. I have become a Trustee of SOFA Project to be able to offer as much help as I can to a great charity which helps people engage back with their community.
I'm a qualified accountant and have recently retired from a career working in the Life and Pensions industry for Lloyds Banking Group, HBoS and Clerical Medical all in Bristol. The majority of my career has been in business partnering and risk roles supporting the directors and senior management to deliver strategy, business performance and manage risk.
After growing up in Yorkshire and Lancashire I went to Liverpool University obtaining a degree in Biochemistry. After university I moved to Bristol and have been here for nearly 40 years. I'm married with two grown up children who are still in the Bristol area.
I've been impressed by the positive impact with which the SOFA Project delivers its purpose through rehabilitation, reuse & support for low income families. I hope to be able to add financial & business support for the continued success of the organisation.