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Connecting Communities through Social Interaction

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024 76 31 51 51

Monday to Friday
9.30am to 3pm

Meet our Directors!

Cllr Richard Smith

Born in Coventry in 1951 I am married with a son, a daughter and 2 grandchildren. I have been a Bulkington resident with my family since 1983.

In my late 20’s I started my first business selling alloy wheels and motor accessories to the trade, the years that followed saw my business expand into the retail sector with shops in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Birmingham. In 2000 I launched a marketing company and built a blue-chip client base including Michelin, BP, Castrol, and Halfords and supported race teams in the British Touring Car Championship with sponsorship, events, and design work. In 2010 having semi-retired, I took on a consultant’s role with BP advising the Reputation Director on Local Government affairs.

I founded the Street Aware programme in 2014 educating young people on substance misuse and to date our Youth Ambassadors have educated over 50,000 students.

Having finally retired, I ran for office as a borough Councillor for Bulkington and was elected in 2017, 2018 and again in 2022, I am also the Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulation at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.

The best part of the job for me is:

Just like all the VF staff and volunteers I am passionate about making a difference to people’s lives and the role of Chair of Trustees for Volunteer Friends has given me a fantastic opportunity to fulfil that passion.

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Lynne Snow

My name is Lynne Snow and I am retired. 

I originally trained and spent 20 years as an hotel general manager, working for well known hotel chains including DeVere, Forte and Crest Hotels all around the UK.  I then went on to work for Aston University in Birmingham where I was the Director of Conference Aston. A multi million pound residential and non residential conference and training business in the heart of Birmingham. After taking early retirement, I worked for Aston Business School as a professional placement tutor and coach to third year undergraduates out on placement in industry before completing their degree. Since then I have for some years become involved in supporting a number of local community activities including a job club, a community group and as a trustee for volunteer friends.

I was invited to join the Board of Trustees for Volunteer Friends in June 2020. I have been involved with supporting the wood crafting group, from getting contacts for materials through to running market stalls to sell items and raise funds. I have found funding for the telephone befriending service and helped with setting it up. Have raised a number of teams for fundraising quiz nights and secured venues. I am a volunteer driver for Medicar and an enthusiastic ambassador for the charity.

A fun fact about me:

I love to salsa dance! I dance Cuban salsa 💃🏻 not the New York style and have danced all around Europe and more recently in Cuba!

The best part of the job for me is:

Feeling that you can make a difference within the local community and working with the team to build on the success of the organisation.

Lynne Snow, Director of Volunteer Friends

Paul Monaghan

I’ve been a Medicar driver for just less than a year now, and thoroughly enjoying if. You meet some very interesting people as you drive, and it helps that they’re very complimentary too… usually about the car, not necessarily my driving!

My Dad got me a summer casual job at the Land Registry in Tunbridge Wells, way back in 1971. This was a stop gap, to start with, before I found something better…45 years later I left the Civil Service, from the same employer!

I have travelled around the country though, working at several offices, including some years in their Organisation & Methods Division, in Lincolns Inn Fields London, which I really enjoyed, sharing experience, hearing other views, and helping to implement solutions. Over those years I’ve met many different people and gained a lot from that. I’ve also enjoyed the social life with that, centred around a variety of sports… mainly football and cricket, but I’ve tried my hand at badminton, squash, table tennis and snooker, none to any great standard though.

Continuing that theme, I took FA Coaching badges and for over ten years, helped to run a junior team, and was Chairman and Secretary to that local club.

Volunteering?…anyone connected with the military will tell you never to do that and I should have learnt my lesson many years ago as a Scout. We were putting on a variety or mini Gang Show, and they wanted some singers. I put my hand up… and found myself dressed in a frock and a long wig….as one half of Nina and Frederik, singing “There’s a Hole in My Bucket”….. never again have I fallen for anything like that.

Perhaps the board wouldn’t have invited me to be a trustee had they read this first, but I was very pleased to join them, to help and develop “VF” in any way I can. My motivation has been to give something back, indirectly, to the community and particularly to the NHS and it’s hard working and talented staff, as they helped me to overcome some health issues over the last couple of years.

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Donna Williamson

Changing the lives of young people, helping others to make the right choices has always been a big passion of mine and my career over the last 15 years has always revolved around this. When I am not busy training professionals, creating programmes or teaching life skills to students, you can find me hiking up mountains or running after my dog! 

I have been a director with VF for several years now and my focus for the company is to drive the training and Youth Education elements such as ‘Street Aware’, my career has always centred on making a difference to others’ lives and helping people reach their full potential. WE educate, prevent, make a difference, save lives. 

A fun fact about me:

I once walked on hot coals to raise money for charity! 

The best part of the job for me is:

The best part of my job is making a difference, being given the opportunity and to watch people thrive!

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Mikhael ‘Mik’ Newman

I’ve always been passionate about volunteering and service. In my 20+ years of international business and entrepreneurial pursuits, I have had the privilege of partaking, leading and supporting incredible volunteering programmes in the UK and other parts of the world. An interesting fact – our Chairman Richard was the local government advisor to me while I was at BP and he was part of the team that managed one of the largest volunteering programmes in the world for the company.

Over the past few years I have been working abroad and been involved in volunteering activities, from helping refugees and migrants to supporting pandemic activities, coaching and building social enterprises. It is an absolute delight to have been asked to join this team of wonderful people to serve my local community back here at home in the UK.

I also have a deep interest in health and wellbeing, particularly the mental aspect. I believe that it is through community action that we create local ecosystems of support that strengthen our social fabric and our nation’s ability to deal with these growing areas of concern. I also believe that it is through skills development that we can nurture a multigenerational society, keeping them active and relevant in today’s world of work. These are strong levers to use in battling isolation, loneliness and mental health challenges.

I look forward to helping VF take the next step in its journey.

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Laura Smith

I am married with two children – now adults, two grandchildren and two doggies.

I have lived in Bulkington village for forty years. It’s been a pleasure to be involved in village life during this time. My interests have led me to take part in village social events, voluntary support work and professional support which I continue to do.

My working life has been mainly in the caring and supportive field. Volunteering for the national childbirth trust as a post-natal coordinator. Managing front of house at the Nuneaton private hospital and working for victim support as a victim care officer.  These roles have given me a broad and varied career.

Latterly at Nuneaton private hospital I began studying to become a therapeutic counsellor, qualifying whilst continuing to work for victim support.

After this I worked with the domestic abuse counselling service and not long after I started my own business in private practice as a therapeutic counsellor which has continued up to the present time.

Laura