Our people

FARA Charity relies on the valuable guidance and support from the board of trustees with its critical spread of skills and expertise.

Meet our people

Jane Nicholson

Jane Nicholson

Founder and chair

Jane Nicholson

Founder and chair

Jane Nicholson first visited Romania in 1991 after watching appalling television images which exposed the cruelty inflicted within state run orphanages during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu. She co-founded the charity FARA that same year.

All the services she has created and developed match her initial idea that abandoned people shouldn’t live in institutions but in places that resemble families, with homes and access to therapy, education and special care.

She had previously been chair of Sue Ryder, serving on the Trustee board for many years, commissioning health care services for the sick and disabled both in the UK and the Balkan States.

As a trained nurse, and with extensive experience in the charity sector, Nicholson set up in FARA a variety of care services for vulnerable children and adults to tackle poverty and transform lives.

She has been a member of the European Parliament committee (Eurochild) representing FARA and other NGO’s in Romania on issues of child poverty and social justice. Until recently she also found time to operate as prison chaplain in the UK. Nicholson was awarded the MBE in 2013 for her humanitarian work in Romania.

An enthusiastic icon painter, Nicholson is also a member of the Carmelite Order in the Catholic Church and her inspiration and vision remain at the heart of FARA.  She continues to travel to Romania frequently to guide and share her vision as Founder and Chair of Trustees.

FARA Charity trustee Philippa Gitlin

Philippa Gitlin

Trustee

Philippa Gitlin

Trustee

Philippa Gitlin worked in the voluntary sector in the UK for 20 years, as Fundraising Director of Depaul Trust,  a youth homelessness charity, as CEO of FSU, a national charity providing care and support to disadvantaged families, and as the Director of CSAN, a national network of Catholic social care agencies.  She served for 6 years as Chair of Governors of a local authority beacon Special Needs School as well as serving on the board of a parochial high school, and 2 independent schools in London.  Philippa’s voluntary sector experience includes serving on the boards of Children England, (a national UK association of  children’s charities), of Depaul France, a homelessness charity in Paris and as a member of a network of women leaders in the voluntary sector. She currently chairs the board of St Vincent’s Family Project, a charity working with disadvantaged children and families in London.

 

Philippa brings with her to the board her skills and extensive experience in governance and managing organisational change, as well as her in-depth knowledge of the non-profit sector.  Her interest in FARA’s work began through pro bono consultancy in the development of a youth project in Romania, and subsequent trips to Romania with Jane Nicholson.  Philippa is motivated by Catholic Social Teaching and is committed to FARA’s values and mission to supporting the most disadvantaged in our society.

FARA Charity trustee Siobahn Cross

Siobahn Cross

Trustee

Siobahn Cross

Trustee

Siobhan is a solicitor and is a partner in a leading law firm. Her work involves strategic advice to clients and management of complex legal projects for clients in the real estate sector. She has also had an interest in the role of the built environment climate change mitigation and is an invited member of leading industry body committees on sustainability and climate change.

FARA Charity trustee Richard Cross

Richard Chalk

Trustee

Richard Chalk

Trustee

Richard is a retired UK solicitor with over 35 years experience in handling complex commercial disputes, both in this country and around the world.  He has spent significant periods based in the Far East (Hong Kong, Singapore and Brunei).  His interest in Romania originally stems from his time working with the charity habitat for Humanity when he volunteered on a house building project in Cluj.  He became involved in FARA through his acquaintance with Jane Nicholson who had worked with his mother-in law.  He was keen to became involved with FARA as he was deeply touched by the work it had done in transforming the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people in Romania which he has witnessed first-hand.  As a member of the Finance and Investment committee, Richard’s primary role in FARA is the management of FARA’s financial reserves for the future to ensure it can continue funding its programmes in Romania.  Richard also provides legal input as appropriate in respect of FARA’s charitable objectives.

 

Lucinda Dawson, FARA trustee

Lucinda Dawson

Trustee

Lucinda Dawson

Trustee

Lucinda brings valuable insight into the health, development and safeguarding needs of children and young adults with learning disabilities. She has spent more than 25 years as a paediatric nurse, with experience encompassing paediatric neurology, neurosurgery, trauma, school health and most recently as a senior paediatric research nurse setting up and running a portfolio of studies within the clinical research facility at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She holds a 1st class degree in paediatric neuroscience nursing and recently completed the Mary Seacole NHS leadership programme.

Lucinda has volunteered for various international aid organisations, including setting up school nurse provision for disadvantaged children in Chennai. Her determination and creative approach to problem-solving have helped deliver life-changing care even when resources are scarce. Her first experience with FARA was as a volunteer running summer camps for a state orphanage more than 30 years ago. She returned to Romania several times, getting to know many of the children who grew up in the FARA family and became a trustee so she could guide and support the amazing work FARA provides to disadvantaged families and those with special health and developmental needs.

FARA Charity trustee Philip Groves

Philip Groves

Trustee

Philip Groves

Trustee

Philip has worked in government, at HM Treasury, and then in management/marketing consultancy, prior to gaining substantial experience in the postal business at Royal Mail and latterly in postal regulation where he currently leads the international work on post for Ofcom, the UK telecoms, postal and media regulator.

He has a BSc Economics degree in Government and History from the LSE, a trilingual Postgraduate Diploma in European Enterprise Management from the Universities of Bournemouth, Poitiers and Barcelona and a Postgraduate Diploma in Direct and Interactive Marketing.

Philip brings to the board a knowledge of workings of the UK government and European institutions, and associated contacts, where FARA may wish to apply for future funding. He also brings his personal business experience to FARA of setting up and running a property business which can give an insight into ways to look at increasing revenues from the FARA shops and to help ensure prudent investment of the charity’s reserves.

Philip is committed to working with the other board members, encouraging fund-raising and local initiatives in both Romania and the UK. He has always been highly impressed by the person-centred ethos of FARA and the loving and practical way it offers support to children and young people in need in Romania through its range of projects.

FARA Trustee Hannah Middleton

Hannah Middleton

Trustee

Hannah Middleton

Trustee

Fashion business consultant based in London, with over 20 years experience working in fashion retail in the UK and with retailers in the Far East and across Europe. Hannah’s expertise working in fashion retail has given her the opportunity to collaborate with numerous international brands, designers and retailers. She has worked on the launch of three new fashion ranges and has extensive knowledge on the setting up, branding and marketing of new fashion brands. She also teaches on a part time basis at London College of Fashion for the Fashion Business School.

Hannah spent three years in Hong Kong sourcing for UK fashion retailers and since returning to the UK has worked with House of Fraser, Jigsaw, Dorothy Perkins, River Island, John Lewis, Matalan, TK Maxx, Phase Eight and JD Sports.

Currently Hannah consults for small to medium sized businesses on their range planning, sourcing, stock mix, retailing strategies, sustainability strategies, data analytics and is credited with the successful launch and growth of a number of brands that trade globally.

I admire the work that FARA does as a charity and the support they have offered to so many in Romania.

FARA Charity trustee Odile Rimbert

Odile Rimbert

Trustee

Odile Rimbert

Trustee

Odile has been working in the Higher and Further Education sectors in France and the UK for 20 years in a teaching, managing and leadership capacity.

She also regularly volunteers in the education and development sectors, taking part in training and development projects for disadvantaged women and children in Nepal as well as organising intercultural exchanges with the Ukraine.

She has been fundraising for FARA and has seen first-hand the impact of the Charity on the lives of children. She has been amazed by the care and loving atmosphere surrounding the children, making it truly a family and allowing them to grow and blossom into fine young adults.

Odile brings her organisational, educational, and relational skills to the board, wishing to keep the Charity’s family spirit and ethos, focusing on the human and spiritual development of children entrusted to its care.

Learn more about FARA

Our founder

Jane Nicholson first visited Romania in 1991 after watching appalling television images which exposed the cruelty inflicted within state run orphanages during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu. She co-founded the charity FARA that same year.

FARA's Royal Patron

Our patrons

We are so very grateful for the continued support of our Royal Patron HRH The Prince of Wales and our Patron Eugene Sarbu

About

FARA transforms the lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people, and families in Romania, giving them a sense of “family”.

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