A small group of people set Bristol Reconnect up in 2012. Many of us were living in homeless hostels in Bristol. We knew each other from another project that we had been involved in this together in 2011. And we wanted services to be informed by and built on personal lived experience. Having 'been there ourselves', we wanted to use our experience to make a difference.
Bristol Reconnect was born out of a positive experience of working together, and dissatisfaction with how some services worked. We had a vision of bringing about change. Many of that first small group are still involved. And many others, with and without personal experience, have since joined us. We are committed to making sure people with personal experience are in the majority at all levels of the organisation.
Key members of the team
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
"I see my expertise as being mainly as a facilitator; supporting everyone to work well together, to appreciate the very different things we all bring to our work, and to challenge ourselves to give the best we can. Our work is about listening to people in the communities we work with. We listen out for voices that wouldn't otherwise be heard. And we support the people we work with to be at the heart of the changes they want to see. We need to be doing this within the team too, if we're going to reach out to the wider community."
"I bring experience as a group therapist to my work. This experience includes ten years in a specialised secure clinic working with psychiatric patients deemed too complex and intractable to work with in other psychiatric hospitals. Prior to that I'd worked in community (arts) organisations (since 1983) and for the last fifteen years I've largely worked to give people with lived experience a voice in the services that work with them - mainly mental health service users and services working with people with 'complex needs'. I know the value of lived experience, and my own experiences of being homeless, of alcohol and substance misuse, and of requiring mental health support in my late teens and early twenties are part of what steers my work."
Contact Jonathan Fowler
Aaron co-founded the charity with Jonathan and is an original trustee. He now works for and chairs The Independent Futures Group as well as helping out with the running of Cafe Connect.
Tess joined Bristol Reconnect in Dec 2016. She is seconded from the Golden Key Programme as the co-ordinator of the ‘Independent Futures group.’ She also assists with the day-to-day running of the charity, including events put on at the cafe, working with volunteers and assisting the CEO with governance of the charity as a whole.
She has a degree in law and a masters in Human Rights, she is passionate about people power, social change and ensuring the voices of marginalised people are heard in our communities, and within local and national government.
Olly is currently undertaking a placement with Bristol Reconnect as part of his Sociology degree at the University of the West of England.
"I absolutely love it here at Bristol Reconnect. I am relishing the opportunity to engage with such a diverse group of people based within the Bristol community as well as help the organisation grow in any way that I can. The vast array of skills developed here are also greatly helping me work towards my post-study aspirations of being employed within the charity sector!"