Governance

Ruskin Mill Trust Trustees

Aonghus Gordon MEd, FRSA, Founder and Executive Chair

Aonghus is the Founder and Executive Chair of Ruskin Mill Trust, having started the organisation in 1983. Since then, he has worked with colleagues to continue the development and growth of the Trust from one centre to twelve across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as establishing several international collaborations. He is passionate about the need for people to break out of dependency and marginalisation, believing that everyone has the potential to shape their own future.

Inspired by Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris’s ideas about social renewal, healthy human development and the importance of art, crafts and land work, Aonghus pioneered Ruskin Mill Trust’s unique method of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE). Thousands of young people have benefited from this integrative education method.

Helen Kippax

Helen has a diverse background in fine arts, social care and educational development and helped establish a Steiner School in Sheffield, as well as setting up and running her own gallery after completing an HNC in Fine Arts. Helen joined Ruskin Mill Trust in 2004 and was invited to co-lead the development of the Trust’s third centre, Freeman College, located in Sheffield, and was Principal there until 2012 when she became a Trustee of the Trust and Senior Mentor. Helen has since gained an MSc in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE) from the University of the West of England, and continues to support and research the method of PSTE as a Trustee for the Trust.

Constantin Court

Constantin joined Ruskin Mill Trust in 2007 and has extensive experience in educational and social care establishments, having worked across different regulative frameworks in various organisations who apply the insights of Rudolf Steiner. Before coming to the UK, Constantin worked with children and adults in Germany, Palestine, Israel, Switzerland and Egypt, and was instrumental in developing RMT’s first school, Brantwood Specialist School in Sheffield. He is now Director of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE) for the Trust and is a member of the Executive Team, overseeing staff development and training along with the Trust’s Hiram Education and Research Team (HEaRT). Constantin is currently undertaking a doctoral studies with Sheffield University, researching the Trust’s PSTE method.

Chloe Hindmarsh

Chloe is an education specialist with a broad range of experience, having joined the Trust as a teacher in 2009, working in both education and residential care settings at Freeman College and Clervaux Trust. As part of her MSc in PSTE, Chloe contributed to the redevelopment of the staff training partnership with Crossfields Institute into the HEaRT team at RMT. She has since undertaken roles in Quality Assurance and Project Management, as well as a NATECLA National Coordinator. More recently, Chloe has contributed as a Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education and as a Collaborative Course Leader at Sheffield Hallam University. As a Trustee, Chloe holds a focus on the quality of teaching and learning across the Trust’s colleges.

Vivian Griffiths

Vivian brings knowledge and experience of biodynamic agriculture to Ruskin Mill Trust, and has been involved in anthroposophical organisations since 1972, where she started as a young co-worker at Botton Village. His passion for gardening led him to establish and work on various biodynamic and community gardens as well as gaining a National Certificate in Horticulture from Somerset College of Agriculture in 1976. Over the years, Vivian has continued his biodynamic agricultural practices throughout England. Most, recently, he has been a garden volunteer at John Ruskin’s home in the Lake District. As a Trustee, he has responsibility for assuring the quality of biodynamic practices across the Trust, as well offering knowledge and insights into social care and anthroposophical organisations.

Guy Vassall-Adams QC

Guy grew up around the Stroud area and attended Wynstone’s Steiner School in Gloucester, after which he went on to study at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, to study Philosophy and Politics. After leaving university, Guy gained an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex and completed his Bar Vocational Course at Inns of Court in London.

Having started his career as a Researcher and authoring ‘Rwanda: An Agenda for Internal Action’, Guy went on to work for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Nairobi, Kenya, and was a founding member of IRIN, a UN regional news network that reported on the humanitarian situation in East and Central Africa.

Presently a Barrister specialising in public law, human rights and media law, Guy also volunteers with young people at an inner-city school in London and offers free legal advice for organisations such as Friends of the Earth and the Migrants Rights Network. He became a Trustee in 2018 and brings a wealth of experience, advice and governance to the board.

James Fearnley

Despite training as a lawyer, James has spent the last 40 years involved with researching and manufacturing natural medicines from both plants and the beehive. For much of that time he has been focused on trying to understand the remarkable properties of propolis, a resinous product used by the honeybee to keep the hive free from infection. He has carried out research at the universities of Oxford, Manchester, Strathclyde, York and Bradford, and has contributed to over 30 peer reviewed articles. He is also the author of two books; ‘Bee Propolis: Natural Healing from the Hive’ and ‘Propolis in Oral Healthcare’

James brings with him an extensive knowledge on business development and social care, and provides business advice and support to the Trust as well as enabling connections with other like-minded businesses.

David Wragg

David retired after a career in education and safeguarding, working with people who were marginalised from society. He was a senior manager in Further Education, delivering teacher training and health and social care programmes, as well as working internationally in Tanzania and India.

This knowledge and experience was brought together in the last decade of his career where he was a Designated Safeguarding Lead at Wiltshire College and Ruskin Mill Trust, and continues to offer support in Safeguarding in his role as a Trustee.

Lynn Griffin

Lynn has a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding the social care system and social work, and has a passion for supporting disadvantaged individuals. Lynn’s interest in social activism started while she was at the University of Coventry studying English Literature, during which time she volunteered at a women’s refuge and on a Rape Crisis hotline. This interest led her to undertake a two year post-graduate course in social work. Lynn brings to the Trust over 35 years of experience in social services work and continues to passionate about social justice, integrity and safeguarding children.

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