We couldn’t be the success we are without our Directors, Staff and Volunteers – all of whom are invaluable to our Thursday Project. Meet the team below…
Julie Matthews – Director & CEO
In 2007, Julie was chosen along with 34 other service users, who were suffering with mental health issues, across the South West to train in Intentional Peer support. The training was by Shery Mead and Chris Hansen, from America. The aim was to go back to their communities and show the benefits of peer support within their communities. Through Julies’ personal understanding and passion for peer support, it led her to create with others a member led community project called CHARD WATCH CIC. This was for over 150 isolated individuals needing friendships and hope.
WATCH has now over ten years of delivering professional peer support workshops to maximise peoples’ true potential locally & nationally.
When the opportunity arose for four grass roots independent organisations to come together across Somerset Called ‘Wells Wessex’ it was a natural progression that could pull resources to offer people most in need and continue the model of peer support.
Richard Miller – Director, Chard Watch Secretary & Volunteer
As a psychology graduate with many years of medical research experience, much of it in psychiatry, volunteering for WATCH seemed a logical and fulfilling fit when I retired. For the last two and a half years I have been supporting the Thursday pop-up project, and am a Director and Company Secretary. Additionally, I help with fundraising and lead a small group in Health Walks.
Kevin Townsend – Honorary Treasurer & Volunteer
Having spent 40 years, running my own businesses until 2015, when I retired I decided I would like to be involved with a local Community Interest Company. I became Treasurer of Chard WATCH in May 2016. I am always amazed at how the members respond to being part of the Thursday Project. Becoming more confident and self assured in this brilliant environment. I really enjoy being part of a great team and also witnessing the growth and success of the business.
Andrew Peacey – Director
Martin Carnell – Director
As a serving Fire Officer with many years experience of dealing with incidents that have involved the most vulnerable in our communities and having organisational/management skills, being able to combine these in order to help in some way by volunteering for WATCH as a Director seemed an obvious choice for me as a way of helping to try and make a difference to other peoples lives in a tangible way.
I have the utmost admiration for those people who are the driving force behind local charities such as the Watch, the dedication, effort and care they show is truly impressive and I wanted in some small way assist them as I knew I could.
Kristen Lambert – Director
I started working with Watch about 3 years ago as part of my role as Nature and Wellbeing Officer across the three Area’s of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Somerset. Since then I have been really interested to see how The Watch project works and how the team of volunteers support local people.
I have been based within the health and wellbeing sector for most of my working life, with much of this time spent supporting people to connect with local natural environments and to get outside more. With a background in Community Development, I enjoy connecting people and groups up with opportunities and experiences and have worked in this way with nature and health teams across Somerset, Devon and Dorset with, local authorities, private and voluntary sector partners.
Ken Comber – Director
I am a Director of the Watch Project and have supported the project for many years. I work part-time as the joint CEO for the Hub -Yeovil supporting adults with learning disabilities and autism. I am a Governor of Yeovil College and also a Trustee of the South East Somerset Branch of the RSPCA. I love Bristol City and going to Glastonbury Festival!
Vicky Chapman – Director
I have spent my career working with the most inspiring people in an array of varying support roles. I love that we are all unique, have our own individual gifts and talents to discover and delight in and experiences to share. There are moments in which we all rely on those around us for support. I truly believe it is our shared experience that helps us to develop healthy lives and minds, leading us forward to the place we want to be.
I currently work for Yarlington Housing Group, supporting people in Independent living. It is deeply satisfying when I am able to work with someone to support areas they have identified need change, meaning they can maintain their valued independence in a more meaningful way.
Before joining Yarlington, I spent almost 25 years working in Youth Services. Firstly completing my training with Somerset County Council and working in youth clubs and running residentials, later working for Women’s Aid – Supporting Children experiencing domestic abuse and supporting them whilst living within our refuge. I have also supported Youth Homelessness and worked with young people in addiction.
I have always felt it is a privilege to play a role in supporting people back to a place in their lives where they have choice and control and a vision for their future. I couldn’t dream of working in any other role.
I am delighted to have been offered a place on The Board of The Watch Project – Having moved to Chard 5 years ago I am happy to be supporting this amazing local project and the valued work it does.
Jonathan Farey – Director
I worked for the Forestry Commission aged 21, for three years in Neroche Forest, and then set up on my own in forestry, landscaping and building, working all over the south west of England.
In 1989 I managed to buy a farmyard and a few acres of land and slowly built up a small farm with various animals. I have four fabulous daughters with my wife Maria who runs a youth theatre group in Chard called CLOKS.
We have been welcoming WATCH project members here for several years now and can safely say the visits are most worthwhile for all concerned.
My passions are music, family, the countryside, ecology and sustainable farming. I enjoy being a governor at Holyrood and being involved with local churches and the Blackdown Hills AONB.
My plans are to play more music, sing more songs, plant more trees and help more people in the Chard area.
Kate Rew – Director