The Board

Our Board of Trustees is made up of volunteer members and the Abbeyfield CEO, each selected for their expertise and experience in sectors including housing, care and finance.

They are reponsible for setting our corporate strategy, approving policies, annual budgets and accounts, as well as long term planning and assessing and managing risk.

Meet the Board:

John Robinson

John Robinson CBE, Chairman

John became Chairman of Abbeyfield on 23rd September 2009. He has been a Board member since 28th March 2007 and became Deputy Chairman of the Abbeyfield Society in 2007. John is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a graduate of the University of Birmingham in Chemical Engineering. 

He was President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers in 1999/2000, President of the Chartered Institute of Management in 2002/2003 and Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the governing Council at the University of Hull from 1998-2006.He joined Smith & Nephew in 1979 and was appointed a Director of the main Board in 1981.  He was appointed Chief Executive in 1990 and Chairman in 1997, retiring in 2000.

John has also been Chairman of Low & Bonar plc from 1997-2001, Chairman of Railtrack Group plc from 2001-2002, Chairman of UK Coal plc from 1997-2003, Chairman of George Wimpey plc from 1999-2007, an Operating Partner at Duke Street from 2000-2010 and chairman of Paragon Healthcare, Affinity Healthcare and Oasis Healthcare.

In 2014 John was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Stephen Allen

Stephen Allen

Stephen is the Managing Director - Finance, for Transport for London.  In addition to overall responsibility for all financial matters at TfL, he covers  HR, IT, pensions and property matters. After completing his PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 1991 he went on to work in the Department of Transport in several roles including Private Secretary to the Secretary of State. 

Between 1996 and 2003 he worked in international infrastructure finance both as a Vice President in Project Finance at Citigroup, and then as Head of Rail at Abbey National Treasury Services.

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Rachel Byrne

Rachael Byrne

Rachael joined Home Group in 2009 as Executive Director of Stonham, Home's Care and Support arm of the organisation.  Stonham is the largest national provider of housing and support with over 600 supported housing projects nationwide, and a strong reputation in delivering services for homeless people in a range of floating support and accommodation based settings. 

During her first year with Stonham, Rachael has ensured the delivery of Stonham's growth business strategy, focused on the challenges and opportunities of the supporting people market, and a client led strategy that has delivered a whole new breadth of opportunities for clients.

Rachael has 25 years experience in supported housing and began working in the field as a night project worker, so she has a great understanding of what it takes to support clients at all levels, and an understanding of what colleagues at schemes face day to day. Previously Rachael has worked for a range of supported housing providers including Local Authorities, NACRO, and prior to joining Home worked 10 years with Riverside ECHG as Director of Supported Housing.

Rachael is passionate about the future of housing and support services ensuring services retain their importance and significance in the changing political context.

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Keith Fowler

Keith Fowler

Chairman of Willox Ambler Rodford Law Group Ltd. (Companies provide – integrated communications, interactive consultancy, data solutions and business-to-business services); Chairman of Empire Design Group Ltd (Consultancy companies providing design, marketing communications and making film trailers and commercials for the film and entertainment industry); Director of The Harrison Portfolio (A family owned property investment business); Director / Trustee NABS (The industry charity providing welfare support to the marketing communications industry); Chairman Peterhouse Retirement Complex (A NABS sheltered retirement and nursing complex – 90 residents); and past Chairman of The Abbeyfield Great Missenden & District Society.

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Christopher Herbert

The Rt Revd, Dr Christopher Herbert

Christopher was ordained at Hereford Cathedral in 1967 and served as a curate, schoolmaster and youth leader in Hereford before being appointed Diocesan Adviser in Religious Education in 1971. In 1981 he was appointed as Vicar of The Bourne in Farnham, Surrey and in 1990 he was appointed as Archdeacon of Dorking.

In 1990 he was also appointed as Bishop of St Albans and in 1999 became a member of the House of Lords. He has broadcast extensively and is the author of over twenty books on spirituality and religious education.

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Jenny_Lawrence_147x197

Jenny Lawrence

Jenny became involved with Abbeyfield in 2011 in the voluntary role of regional strategy head for the north east of England.

Jenny is a chartered management accountant with over 20 years experience working in a range of public and private sector roles.  She has specialised in change management projects with a focus on finance systems, and is an experienced interim manager and trained coach.

In previous voluntary roles Jenny has been a school governor, Princes Trust mentor, Young Enterprise volunteer and also volunteered as a Gamesmaker at London 2012.

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Ian Plaistowe

Ian Plaistowe

Ian Plaistowe is a Chartered Accountant and had a long career with Arthur Andersen where he was Managing Practice Director for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. He was former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, vice-chairman of the Takeover Panel and the Financial Reporting Council.

Currently, he is Chairman, vice chairman or trustee of various charities including the University of Buckingham and The Family Planning Association. He has been a member of the Abbeyfield Audit Committee since 2006.

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Elizabeth Power

Elizabeth Power

Elizabeth Power is a Certified Management Accountant and has been Senior Partner of Power Accounting for 23 years. She has been a Board Member of the Durham Chapter of the Certified Management Accountants of Canada, Treasurer of the Durham Business and Professional Women's Organisation, and is an Honorary Life Member of the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario.

Within Abbeyfield, Elizabeth is current President (since 2011) of Abbeyfield Canada, was Treasurer and President of Abbeyfield Houses Society of Ottawa in 2004 and 2010, and Past President of Abbeyfield Houses Society of Ottawa in 2011 and 2012.

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Peter Smale

Peter Smale

Peter joined Abbeyfield NZ as the Rotary representative for NZ in 1996 and was later appointed as a Board Member, becoming chairman in 2009.  Peter was also chairman of directors of the Abbeyfield Housing Company.  Now retired but previously director of a horticultural scientific research organization. 

Peter is very proud of NZ's recent Abbeyfield house developments despite difficult times for the economy and the struggle to attain funding leading to the licence to occupy model.  He has served on numerous church, school and research committees and still tutors in horticulture and consults to local and government organizations. 

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Cameron Swift

Cameron Swift

Cameron Swift, a hospital physician and clinical pharmacologist with a career-long specialist interest in ageing and the health of older people, is Emeritus Professor of Health Care of the Elderly at King's College School of Medicine, London.  He was President of the UK's medical professional Society in the field from 2000-2002 and a UK Medicines Commissioner from 2001-5. His personal and departmental research into drug treatment and ageing, stroke, preventative health and health service provision for older people, and falls prevention has been extensively published.  

 As Physician on the External Reference Group to the Department of Health for the England National Service Framework for Older People, he chaired the Working Party for Standard 6 (Falls & Fractures), and from 2009-11 the development of the recently launched NICE Guideline on Hip Fracture.  He has extensive experience of the needs of older people at the interfaces between health and social care and housing.

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Amanda Houlihan

Amanda had worked in the field of Human Resources for over twenty five years, culminating in senior strategic board roles. She has operated in a number of very different business sectors, and has extensive experience in the areas of organisational and cultural change.

She has been involved in the Abbeyfield organisation since 2005 when she became a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee for the Leonard Pulham Nursing Home (The Abbeyfield Buckinghamshire Society) where she is currently Chair. She is also a Trustee on the Board of Agecare, a charity currently running two nursing homes and a residential home in the UK, an organisation with a particular interest in, and experience of Dementia care.

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Jeff Medlock

Jeff Medlock

Jeff Medlock qualified as an actuary with Equity & Law Life Insurance after graduating from London School of Economics, and spent his career in the financial services industry. He was an executive director of Royal Life Insurance until 1991 when he moved to the Netherlands to establish the european insurance network, Eureko. Thereafter he moved to the executive board of Achmea BV, the leading Dutch insurer as Finance Director. He has extensive international insurance experience in America, Canada, Australia and across Europe. He retired in 2004 but remained a director of F&C Asset Management plc. until 2013.

He became a trustee of Abbeyfield Beaconsfield Society in 2009 and has been Chairman since 2012. He was previously a trustee of the national childrens' charity Life Education Centres from 2005 until 2012, which merged with Coram to become Coram Life Education in 2009. He was also a trustee of the Company of Actuaries Charitable Trust for eight years until 2013, since 2009 as Chairman.

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We are committed to caring, not just for the body, but for the soul

John Robinson, Abbeyfield Chairman

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