Our People

Trustees

Ruth Layton

Chair

Ruth is a founding director of FAI Farms and has the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons diploma in animal welfare. She was a member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council until 2009, and currently is engaged in developing programmes that provide economically sustainable food solutions which include taking care of animal/human welfare and the environment.

Land and the food we produce from it connects humans at many levels. The very visible presence of FIT here on our farm touches the lives of people working in our business and also our many visitors in a profound manner. I am constantly moved by the care and attention I see given by the FIT programme leaders and their teams to making days wonderful for co-farmers and school children. It’s a privilege to be involved.

Will Gale

Treasurer

After an early career as an accountant in manufacturing industry, Will spent 19 years at Henley Management College, initially as Finance Director of a subsidiary company, and then as FD of the College itself. In addition to the finance role, at various times he was responsible for HR, IT, Facilities and Company Secretarial functions. Will spent the last 5 years as FD at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School before taking early retirement in 2014 following testicular cancer.

Will has a BA in Business Studies, and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (so the letters after his name are FCMA CGMA BA).

Will is married with a daughter and a granddaughter, and lives in Jericho.

Richard Brooks

Richard grew up on a farm and graduated from Oxford in 1973. Since 1976, he has worked with young people with autism, as a teacher, a therapist and an advisory teacher.

People with autism often have strengths that can be uniquely valuable in work settings, but far too often their abilities are wasted. I've always been on the lookout for openings where these talents can be encouraged. I have seen young people's whole outlook on life transformed by the experience of co-farming at Farmability and the opportunities on the farm are evolving all the time.

Roz Warren

Roz has a background in agricultural economics and began her professional career as a fellow of the Overseas Development Institute in Belize, Central America. She was a lecturer in the Department of Agriculture and Food Marketing, Newcastle University and more recently in the School of Agriculture and Policy Development, University of Reading. She worked for LMC International as a consultant and Director of Sugar and Sweeteners Research, and has also worked with the pharmaceutical sector as a consultant. She now runs “Charity Mentors” an Oxfordshire-based charity offering free-of-charge mentoring to charity leaders in Oxfordshire.

Wendy Tindsley

With a PhD in Agricultural Sciences Wendy set up her own small business as a Seed Potato Merchant, which she ran for 10 years.  She also ran small businesses in the hospitality industry with her husband for 10 years.  The latter part of Wendy’s career has been spent in Government funded business support, where she supported lots of ambitious businesses achieve rapid and sustainable growth.  Currently Wendy is Head Girl of The FAB Accelerator Programme, which helps early stage companies achieve Fabulous things!

Mad keen on horses, Wendy has her own ‘off the track’ racehorse called Kosmic Lady and an Irish Sport Horse called Tower Hill Lass.

FarmAbility is helping me to return to my roots.  I know what a difference all the many aspects of working on a farm can make to a sense of well-being and achievement.

Farmability Team

Sarah Giles

Programme Director
Sarah lived in Moscow before moving to Birmingham to work in community development with refugees and asylum seekers, and then as a Programme Manager for a small international NGO working in conflict transformation in Palestine and Israel.
Coming to Oxford with her family, Sarah began volunteering with FarmAbility in 2012, and became Programme Director in 2014. Sarah’s challenge is to enable more people to benefit from farm-based programmes by expanding to more locations across Oxfordshire, while sustaining the high level of person-centred support currently offered at FarmAbility. Despite having the most indoor job at FarmAbility, Sarah is passionate about how outdoor, meaningful programmes can improve lives; she enjoys swimming in the river close to the farm, and shares her desk space with Obi and Meg – the two dogs she inherited at FarmAbility.

JP O’Connor

Programme Manager

Growing up in mid-Wales, JP was surrounded by the countryside and farms, and enjoyed watching the cycle of the seasons. He loves getting involved with the co-farmers and making sure that they get everything they need to do the best they can.

JP has a degree in Law from Oxford University, and has mostly stuck around Oxford since. He’s worked at a consultancy running international projects, and has produced a number of shows for a local theatre group.

An avid rugby fan, he’s rarely happier than being in Cardiff belting out Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. Ask him to teach you the words!

Liv Leonard

Progressions Manager

Liv’s passion for the therapeutic power of animals, in particular horses, started at an early age. Volunteering with the Riding for the Disabled, she completed a degree in Equine Science with a focus on equine behaviour and the therapeutic use of horses. She has worked as a facilitator at National Star College (a specialist college for young adults with physical and learning disabilities), supporting students to increase their independence in daily living skills, including work and community access.

Liv recently completed a degree in Occupational Therapy at Oxford Brookes University, with a dissertation on the therapeutic use of horses with people experiencing Autism Spectrum Disorder. Liv particularly enjoys working with individual co-farmers to support their engagement, and supporting students on placement at FarmAbility to discover a whole different side of Occupational Therapy.

Clare Farley

Programme Leader - Garden

Clare grew up on home-grown vegetables and fruit which she helped grow and harvest in her father’s garden. Over 25 years ago, while living in rented rooms in Oxford she went back to veg growing on a small allotment plot. Gardening was the antidote for office work – editing engaging science and modern language books for secondary pupils.

In 2014, Clare wanted to help people learn new skills more directly. She studied for a Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Diploma at Coventry University while volunteering at Restore-Elder Stubbs with clients recovering from mental ill-health and at Thrive with a wide variety of clients.

Clare found her dream job at FarmAbility and delights in helping co-farmers find out what they can do and helping them develop new skills through many different garden activities, woodwork, cooking and crafts.

JoJo Harrison

Programme Leader

Jojo’s love of nature, the great outdoors and being healthy are all part of what makes FarmAbility so attractive to her. Working with animals and in the gardens is irrevocably linked with the rest of nature making the farm-based activities a really meaningful place to work with others.

Jojo lives in Oxford and cycles each day to work. She was a Chiropractor for 14 years prior to working at Farmability (initially as a volunteer) and then went back to University to study Occupational Therapy after having children,graduating in 2014. Jojo also teaches adults Pilates and coaches young kids in football.

Raul Ospina Bonilla

Programme Leader

Raul grew up in the Colombian Andes in a farming family.  After travelling the world and meeting his wife, Raul moved to the UK, where he farmed for more than 20 years.  Now living with his family in Eynsham, Raul set up the Love project and started volunteering with FarmAbility in 2013, becoming a Programme Leader later that year.  Raul has a very holistic approach to care farming, and is strongly committed to inclusion and equality.

Joanna Simmonds

Programme Leader - Eggs

Joanna grew up surrounded by farms and immersed in the ‘great outdoors’, where she developed interests in ecosystems, soil, sustainability and ethical agriculture.

A degree in Biology and a post-graduate teaching qualification led to a career as a science teacher in both Primary and Secondary schools.

On a school field trip to Wytham, she came across FarmAbility and became firstly a volunteer and then a trustee. Now, as a Programme Leader, Joanna enjoys sharing special experiences like lambing, bonfires and catching crayfish with the co-farmers.