The Team

Our volunteers visit, help and befriend people who have become isolated or out of touch with the community around them.

We can offer ongoing befriending support to anyone who feels isolated or lonely in Frome and the surrounding villages.

The people Active and In Touch support have become isolated and lonely through the circumstances that life has thrown at them, maybe caring for a partner for years, moving to a new area, or just not feeling confident to try new things alone. With the help of our volunteer befrienders we can make a real difference. Our volunteers meet people and spend time with them, find out their needs and interests, and help them to find their own place in the community.

Active and In Touch is supported by Frome Town Council and local businesses such as hairdressers and opticians, and medical staff, who can help pass information on to those who need it, and feeds into the wealth of activities that Frome has to offer such as the Mendip Health Walks, Active Living clubs, and special interest groups.

Dougie  –  Director of Service

Joining the Army at 18, I spent 31 years leading, motivating and  hopefully inspiring Lancastrian soldiers whilst serving in Cyprus, Germany, Oman, Zimbabwe, South Africa, NI, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia and the UK.   An Arabist and qualified executive coach. The last seven years spent running the Prince’s Trust’s (national youth charity) education and development programmes for Southern England.

Favourite film? A Wonderful Life – James Stewart is fantastic, but I don’t believe in ghosts.

What is the best book you have read? Old Man of the Sea by Ernest Hemingway; resilience and determination at its best.

Which historical character inspires you? – Shackleton, leading by example; and never giving up under extreme challenges.

Most amazing album? Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

Di – Volunteer & Member Coordinator

Trained at Central Schools of Speech and Drama focusing on stage management and technical studies.

For 15 years I worked as a Stage Manager at venues including The Barbican. Subsequently I have worked on conferences and events as a Freelance Stage Manager, alongside my work with Active & In Touch, where I was initially a Volunteer becoming Assistant Co-ordinator in 2014.

What is the last book you read?  – The Book Thief by Markus Zusack

Have you a favourite film? Definitely – it has to be Brief Encounter.

What makes you smile, no matter what? Dogs and animals in general.

Pizza or Cottage Pie? Neither, I’d go for Thai food every time!

Which album would you save from the waves on Desert Island Discs? Pink Floyd- dark side of the moon but there would be many more – it’s just so hard to choose.

Gwen  – Volunteer & Member Coordinator

For many years I worked for a care company in the Netherlands supporting people with learning disabilities.

Moving to the UK in 2014, I became a support worker and built up my own massage practice.  September 2018 saw me beginning to volunteer for Active & In Touch alongside my other business interests. When the opportunity arose to work for our brilliant organisation I gladly seized the opportunity and here I am!

Have you a signature dish?  I love food and eating and tend to make stir fries with rice or noodles a lot.

Your favourite film?  Wes Anderson is a genius so anything made by him. The Grand Budapest Hotel is brilliant.

What is the last book you read?  This  was by a Belgium writer Griet op de Beeck. It’s Dutch but the Belgium way of writing is more eloquent and poetic.

Favourite album? A Prince album, probably Sign ‘O’ the Times.

My motto for Life is … Don’t always believe everything you think, both about yourself or others.

Tracey Rawlins – Community Fundraiser

Worked for nearly 30 years in Arts Marketing and venue management. Also spent 6 years as a professional photographer. Joined Active and In Touch as a volunteer in January 2020 and delighted to be joining the team as Community Fundraiser. In my spare time I love to perform in community theatre.

What is the last book you read? – The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill

Have you a favourite film? Love films, usually thrillers, but my absolute favourite is When Harry Met Sally.

What makes you smile, no matter what? My dogs, especially my Dobermann, she’s such a doof.

Pizza or Cottage Pie? Neither, I’m that weird person that loathes pizza and as a rule I avoid red meat. More of a fish gal.

Which album would you save from the waves on Desert Island Discs? This is hard as I have so many beloved albums, but I think it’d have to be Kate Bush Hounds of Love.

Morag Stuart – Frome Community Drivers Coordinator

I coordinate Frome Community Drivers – a job I really enjoy. I love chatting to people and we have a wonderful team of volunteer drivers.

I moved to Frome from Bristol with my husband when I was expecting our first son who is now 15. We have a 13 year old too. Prior to having children I worked in arts administration at the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Cheltenham Everyman Theatre. During my time in Frome I have set up and run a pre school art club called the Doodlebug Club and I also volunteer at Black Swan Arts.

Favourite Film: Room With a View

Last book you read: Anna Karenina – really need an easy page turner now.

Hobby: Socialising with friends. I have missed this so much during this year.

Julia – Chair of Trustees

I became involved after reading an article in the Frome Times and decided I had some time on my hands. I met Charles Wood for coffee for my “Interview” and started as a trustee about 2 weeks later and the inauspicious and memorable day which was a) the day after Charles died and b) the day that our former Service Manager was made redundant by CSW South West

What always makes you smile, no matter what? My Grandchildren

Which person inspires you most and why? Nelson Mandela.  Such an amazing and gracious man in the face of so much adversity

Which book would you recommend as a “must read” ?  ’Sophie’s World’ by Jostein Gaarder (lots of philosophy!)  BUT ‘War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy for my desert island moment!

Brogues or trainers?    Brogues… never trainers … unless I’m training!

What one piece of advice would you give to your 16 year old self? Know as much as you can about the real world …including people

All time favourite film?  ’Jungle Book’ the original Disney version… love the songs and joy they bring

In an emergency if you had to save one item from your home what would it be? My photographs

Your favourite hobby or pastime is … gardening.

Alan –  Vice-Chair / Fundraiser and

Carol – Treasurer

Both are at the very heart of Active and in Touch.

Alan started when he retired from a school job, and became a volunteer helping to support a man who wanted to get back to swimming. So successful was he in this that before too long he agreed to support another member. He had found his niche, which led him to become in swift succession a Trustee, Vice Chair and Grant Fund Raiser.

Carol recounts that she got involved with Active and in Touch as a Finance Volunteer almost two years ago because Alan, by then her husband the Vice Chair of Trustees asked her to join him. Yes, it was as easy as that.

What never fails to make you smile? Carol: My two daughters. Alan: Singing individually, and with groups and particularly volunteering for Songs for the Memory Dementia group.

What is your favourite reading? Alan: “Dispatches” by Michael Herr about the Vietnam war. Utter realism from the viewpoint of a reporter, or soldier on both sides.” Bury my heart at Wounded Knee”, about the destruction of the Native American Indian tribes.. Carol: “Testament of Youth” by Vera Brittain – a beautifully written memoir of the Great War and the endurance and sacrifices of a generation.

Which person do you find inspirational? Carol: Grayson Perry – I just love his art, his philosophy of life, his politics and the way he connects with people, truly inspiring! Alan: Barack and Michelle Obama. I have also met Princess Anne twice.

John

I became interested in Active and In Touch from the very beginning when the idea was mooted by a friend.  Any action seeking to bring kindness into the heart of the community is to be commended and encouraged.

What always makes you smile, no matter what? Butterflies

Country ramble or hiking mountains?  Both – I love the outdoors

Which person inspires you most and why?  Jesus – it is impossible to meet him (didn’t happen until my 30s) and not to be inspired, especially by his kindness, his humility, his love and his courage.

Which book would you recommend as a “must read” and why?  ‘This is going to Hurt’ by Adam Kay (for laughter).  ‘The Butterfly Isles’  by Patrick Barkham (for pure delight) ‘The Bible’ (for wisdom).

Brogues or trainers?  Brogues (but far from convinced my shoes are worthy of such a title).

What one piece of advice would you give to your16 year old self?   ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might’

In an emergency what would you save your mobile phone or your diary?  My diary – very very seldom use a mobile phone!

Your favourite hobby or pastime is … impossible to choose

Claire Newton

I have lived in the South West since 1993 moving from Maiden Bradley to Warminster then to Westbury. After University I started my own business as a candle maker, manufacturing and selling bespoke candles for the gift market. This was followed by a number of years working with a local business entrepreneur running his business, before making the move to work for Dorothy House Hospice Care where I have remained for the last twenty years!

I am passionate about the hospice world and supporting the charity sector to make a difference where possible. I always thought that a person had to be very grown up to become a Trustee, and I have never felt very grown up! The need to give something back gnawed away at me and with the encouragement of Carol Didymus I began to realise that I was perfectly capable of taking on a Trustee role. I have only been a Trustee for 6 months, and time will tell whether I will make a difference or not! I certainly hope so.

Jackie

Is very well-known in and around Frome as the Community Colleague for Asda and a Trustee for Active and In Touch.   Jackie built up her portfolio and four years ago she was working with a number of local charities including Fair Frome, Dorothy House, WHY and schools in the context of Healthy Eating projects.

From that very first moment Jackie was hooked! “I was made to feel so welcome that all I wanted to do was to return the next week” she explained. Jackie smiles as she talks of the kindness she witnessed between the members she met that first day. “They were so inclusive and made sure that no-one was left out on their own. Every one was there for a reason and it is so worthwhile”.