Home-Start in Suffolk welcomes four new Trustees

Home-Start In Suffolk Welcomes Four New Trustees to the Board

We are pleased to announce the appointment of four new members to our board of trustees. Each new trustee brings a unique set of skills, experiences, and perspectives that will significantly contribute to achieving the organisation’s strategic goals.

Home-Start in Suffolk has been supporting local families for 25 years and in that time has seen the numbers of families accessing support grow significantly year on year. Last year our network of volunteers supported 2,000 families in communities across Suffolk.

Speaking of the new appointments, Rob Thacker, Chair of Home-Start in Suffolk said “I am delighted to welcome four new trustees to the Board.  The quality of applicants and our new trustees has been incredible.  It is wonderful news for the organisation and means we continue to go from strength to strength.”

Joining the board is:

Julia Porter.   Julia is an experienced Non-Executive Director and Remuneration Committee Chair. She currently holds board positions with Hollywood Board Group and Worldwide Cancer Research. She has previously been a board director with Safestyle plc and Freeview as well as a range of start-ups. Julia is also a partner at Data Protection Network, a data protection and privacy consultancy, where she has worked on a wide range of projects across media, hospitality, entertainment, travel and not for profit.

In her executive career Julia worked for Guardian News & Media, Getty Images, ITV and IPC Magazines where she was responsible for subscriptions, ecommerce, CRM and customer data projects. She led the award-winning team who developed the Guardian’s “Why Your Data Matters” campaign. Julia is a past Chair of the DMA (Data and Marketing Association) and she holds an MBA from London Business School.


Anne Richardson. Anne is a UK-trained solicitor who worked for over 17 years for the UK’s Government Legal Department, most recently as Director of its specialist Employment Group. Previously, she worked in legal-aid funded practices in London, working to promote the rights of tenants and the homeless. Late in 2023 she retired from legal practice and moved back to Suffolk, having been born and brought up in the county.

Anne was delighted to take up the opportunity to become a trustee: ‘In the current challenging climate, Home Start provides absolutely essential assistance to families. I am very pleased to support the work of the staff and volunteers, whose care, energy and commitment are second to none, and contribute to making Home Start such an impressive organisation.


Dr. Ruth Flaherty. Ruth is a University of Suffolk law lecturer whose unique teaching includes using fictional characters and 3D printing to analyse legal dilemmas has been nominated for a prestigious national award.

Ruth joined University of Suffolk in September 2019 as a Lecturer in Law. She leads on the core EU Law, Land Law and Equity & Trusts Law modules, and the optional Intellectual Property Law module. She also teaches on the Legal Methods & Advocacy and Dissertation modules. She is Head of the David White Trust Mooting Competition, and runs several wellbeing initiatives for Law students. Additionally, Ruth is Admissions Tutor for all Law courses, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an External Examiner for Solent University.


Ruth was also shortlisted as one of the five finalists for the Oxford University Press Law Teacher of the Year 2024 Award.


Julie Ratcliffe. After starting her career as an advocate in 2009, Julie worked across family and adult services before moving into leadership roles and is now the Chief Operating Officer for the Royal Association for Deaf People. Having worked in the Charity sector for 15 years, she remains committed to the provision of quality support for vulnerable people. 

Julie is responsible for national service provision of independent living social care, family and youth services, and training – her passion is to support people to develop, grow and succeed.

Committed to reducing loneliness, Julie volunteers as a host for Re-engage, supporting elderly people to maintain friendships.