LivesthroughFriends is a coming together of innovative people and community focused associates who are concerned with the realisation of an inclusive society and kinder, more interdependent and gift centred communities. Associates include leaders in the PLAN movement, the Asset Based Community Development Institute, from the business development and leadership world, in Local Area Coordination, and experienced, reflective and proven practitioners and innovators in sustainable ‘ordinary living’ and co-production.

Bob Rhodes – Founder and President

In 1991 Bob founded TACT UK– building over 15 years a nation-wide organization that supported people with very challenging reputations to live in inclusive and contributing ways. He led its development until his semi-retirement (unrealized) in 2006. Along this journey he “woke up” to the limitations inherent in dependency upon professions and institutions and the need for services to integrate themselves within and contribute to the neighbourhoods in which they operate, ensuring that people enjoy reciprocal loving relationships and true belonging.

Bob strives to work at both the grassroots and strategic levels, in the UK and internationally, in respect of social inclusion and strengths-based social development and concurrently advises Governments and helps people with disabilities to self-direct; founds and grows organizations and helps people build personal relationship networks; researches and writes challenging social policy books and papers while crafting humorous or ironic verses about the absurdity of institutions and the professions to which he belongs; and assists people with very challenging reputations to refute their reputations and battle-worn professionals to rediscover both their empathy and their creativity.

Chris Brown – Director and Company Secretary

 Chris is driven by the power and capabilities of communities and championing rights for everyone to achieve their ‘good life’. Whether he is directly leading change or supporting other changemakers, he believes that when people come together under a common cause they are more powerful than any service, system, or structure. Chris enjoys working with anyone that wants to create a more equitable society, from residents, community groups and local businesses, to commissioners, national funders and politicians.

• He has grown one of the most vibrant and progressive voluntary sector organisations in the country, with over 20 employees that are achieving amazing things with communities in the Gloucestershire.
• Fundraised over £20m to regenerate town centres and a further £8m for community based projects.
• Trained over 2,000 people in Safeguarding, Community Development, Volunteer Management and Charity Governance.
• Run community events, from co production events to help redesign services with people at the heart, to music festivals and charity fundraisers.
• Conducted and cited in national research into commissioning, voluntary and community sector infrastructure and inclusive education.

Tim Keilty – Director

Tim has worked with people with a learning disability for 30 years, as a support worker in a village community, as a supporter to a People First group, an advocate, as a Person Centred Planning Co-ordinator, Consultant. As the years go by the job titles get more cumbersome, but the focus of his work remains the same! 

Tim is a qualified social worker, but puts more store in the fact that he was once described by Jack Pearpoint (admittedly in an off the cuff comment) as ‘a remarkably gifted leader’.  Tim is a fellow of the centre for welfare reform, has written books, articles and a writes a sporadic blog

Tales from Serviceland

Julie Boothroyd – Director

Julie is a highly motivated and committed professional with 40 years experience in people centred services. Working for Local Authorities in England and Wales, from frontline practice to senior executive leadership; ending her career as the Director of Social Care & Health in Monmouthshire.

Throughout her career she has provided inspirational leadership with a creative edge. Driven by a sense of integrity and fairness, that underpins sound judgement and decision making skills. She has developed a reputation as a ‘can do’ person with a common sense and down to earth approach. She values relationships and an ability to develop cultures that empower and motivate the workforce.

Throughout, Julie has always managed to remain grounded in doing what matters most for people. She is only interested in following endeavours that make a difference to people.

Julie is described by others as compassionate, inspiring, solution focussed and down to earth.

Martin Simon – Director

Martin Simon is a social innovator and neighbourhood organiser who is passionate about reciprocity and social justice. He set up the first Time Bank in the UK in 1998 and was the Chief Executive of Timebanking UK for many years. He has advised governments, local authorities and think tanks on the co-production of public services and on the benefits of an equally balanced ecosystem of mediums of exchange a mixed economy of money, sharing, swapping, bartering, gifting, neighbourliness and complementary currencies. He has worked on strengths-based community development in the UK, USA, India, Croatia and Spain and until recently was a Director at Nurture Development and Co-Director of ABCD Europe. He now works alongside social activists and social enterprises building new connections and enduring relationships that generate caring, learning and a shared sense of purpose

Andy McDonnell – Director

BSc., MSc., PhD. Consultant Clinical Psychologist to and Director of Studio III Clinical Services; Director, clinical consultant and Team Leader to Studio III Training; formerly Clinical Psychologist to Monyhull Hospital Birmingham. Andrew has particular interest in the design of community settings for people who challenge. He has extensive experience of working with service users with a learning disability and/or an ASD who self harm.

Listen to COO Rob Fountain talk about our work and what makes us ‘different’