Q&As with Ruth Franklin

Q. Your career as a GP must have brought you into contact with a wide range of issues. Is there any single aspect from this professional experience that resonates with your role as a JHC Trustee?

A. Thank you. I worked as a GP in North Cambridge for 15 years so got to know some of the challenges people and their families with long term health conditions and disability can face. Health, social care, housing and benefits can seem complex and daunting and it’s often hard to know how to access what help is available. Sawston people are lucky in having JHC to help them navigate ‘the system’ – it’s a very valuable resource.

Q. The Board of Trustees helps JHC to face its challenges and celebrate its successes equally. Which area of our work is likely to undergo the greatest increase in demand from the local community?

A. I think it will be around providing more good quality and affordable housing for local families despite rocketing rents and house prices in this region.

Q. Our Trustees collaborate as a single force to help deliver a shared vision to the public and our stakeholders. Who would you say our main audiences are and will these change noticeably in future?

A. JHC is a fantastic resource for Sawston. I think we need to share that message more widely with the public who may not be aware of everything we do, and with other charities and local government.

Q. As you say, there is a huge demand to create more new homes to meet a growing local population. Given JHC’s stock of almshouses and its dedicated advice service, what can we bring to this wider debate?

A. JHC properties become available more frequently than social housing as our residencies are generally shorter; residents working with our specialised advisors can then ensure they optimise their housing application and benefits and move on to a permanent home. And JHC can be quicker to assist people in a housing crisis.

Q. As a dedicated local charity, JHC is an unusual asset for the community. What single thing we could do together increase local people’s engagement with us so we are relevant to more people who live or work in Sawston?

A. I think providing more information about JHC’s work and communicating more widely is key. We need to encourage people to better appreciate its potential and help us to develop our vision responsively.