OK look, we didn't want to have hands holding each others' wrists or people in suits punching the air as an image that reflects us a team. So we chose an image that does, taken from Paris is Burning, a documentary we all love and frequently reference on our courses. If Foundation for Change was a film, it would be this one. 

Bob Bharij | Chief Executive | Ashoka Fellow

I vowed never to have anything to do with psychology again when I finished my degree in the subject at the age of 21. It’s not without a sense of irony that I now find myself co-leading an organisation that advocates the study and practice of psychology as a means to make living in the world that litt
le bit easier.

I entered the substance misuse field in 2004 and became excited about the idea of facilitating change in the people I worked with not through therapeutic interventions but by increasing self awareness. In effect, they could then go on affecting change in themselves and move beyond the identity of a client. Two years later in 2006, I qualified as a yoga teacher and have integrated my training and experience in both worlds over the years. This has led to a deep understanding of the inner workings of the whole being, with a particular focus on trauma and its impact on the body-mind connection.

I believe that everyone has a story, that every body tells a story. People need to build a relationship with themselves, their bodies, and the world around them, and that making sense of the past is crucial in moving forwards into the future.

Antonia Griffiths | Communications Assistant

When I moved to London newly sober I struggled to find a support group or recovery community I could identify with. When I began the Knowledge for Change course, my brain began to light up and things that had always confused me about my past and my addiction began to make sense. I became sponge-like during the Psychology for Change course I did afterwards and absorbed everything I could. 

Slowly I regained some peace, empathy and an understanding of myself that I could build a new self-confidence from. I threw myself into all sorts of volunteering and returned to my love of painting and colours and the creative part of me I had neglected for so long. When COVID-19 put everyone into lockdown I re-engaged with Foundation for Change through the Making Sense Of... podcast. Looking back on the topics I had originally learnt, I saw how valuable and empowering the courses had been for me. I began to volunteer with FfC and was then offered an apprenticeship.

I am so excited to be part of a team of people who see and treat addiction differently. I hope to combine my own experience of FfC with my love for creativity to communicate just how powerful the FfC approach is.

Bex Exell | Training Team Manager

I began FfC’s year-long, level 3 course – the Accredited Practitioner Training programme – in 2016 to gain the knowledge and skills needed to work in the sector, carrying out my volunteer placement with FfC. I studied illustration and then moved into costume design, wanting to somehow bring this love of art and the connection it allows us to make to ourselves to people in recovery. During my placement, I was helped to visualise and structure my dream of creating a project that combined my passion for people, clothes and creativity: Clothing for Change.  Which was a qualification-based training scheme in where individuals learnt the basics of tailoring, learning to make clothing, while fundraising for the charity by selling handmade pieces.

I’m excited to be able to contribute towards FfC, expanding the scope of what I see as being an incredible charity that is always open to new ideas and ways of working.

Heather Black | Trainer & Group Facilitator

I came to Foundation for Change team as a volunteer, having completed several FfC courses and grown significantly through each one. I was searching for something to fulfil my need to do something deeper with my life and volunteered to co-run the Clothing for Change course, having some experience of sewing and working for a clothing label. 

I studied history and anthropology in my forties to try to understand the world we live in and where our society comes from, having rejected it for most of my life. Learning about psychology with FfC gave me a greater understanding of myself on a personal level, showing me where my patterns of behaviour and thinking came from. Through this, I became able to be a little more understanding and forgiving of my destructive life choices. The FfC approach somehow seemed to resonate with my background of communal living, a punk ethos and my history of rejecting ‘straight’ society.  

I went from being a participant, to a volunteer to a member of staff. A large focus of my work is our Feminism for Change course. Helping to develop and facilitate this has been an amazing experience and I feel privileged to be in a position to support women to better understand how the patriarchy shapes their lives. 

FfC’s ethos of self-learning radically shifted my understanding of personal development. Empowerment is a loaded word these days but to be able to explain things to people for them to empower themselves is the ultimate DIY ethos that I am proud to be a part of. 

Charlie Jegarajasegaram | Volunteer Trainer & Group Facilitator

I was at a point in my recovery where I faced big change. Firstly, I was about to leave rehab and move into more independent living. Secondly, I would be no longer supported around the clock by Therapists and Key Workers. The thing I feared most was having time that I would spend…in fear.

Luckily, I was put in touch with Foundation for Change and started the Psychology for Change course in October 2021, just at the time I left rehab. That time I feared having? Well, it turned into something else much more profound than I could have expected. It became time to grow.

I was able to make greater sense of the time I spent in Rehab and built upon the massive progress I made in recovery there.  Also, I was able to see that by allowing myself to learn, I began to start learning my worth. And I’m still learning.

Volunteering at Foundation for Change has taught me that I can apply the knowledge from the course in a meaningful way. Recovery, for me, is growing, learning and finding meaning. That it is nothing to be afraid of.