To all the Solutions for the Planet family,
I am writing with some incredibly sad news. Elaine Barker, former Programme Director of Solutions for the Planet (when it was Partners in Innovation) died on Friday 17th January in her sleep, quite unexpectedly.
Elaine and Cathy Richardson Roberts were the two women who introduced Kat and I to Solutions for the Planet back in 2012 and the programme and young poeple meant a huge amount to Elaine. Elaine went to Nigeria with the Pack for Mum’s and Babies team in 2008/9 as well as 10 Downing Street (you may recognise Kimi, our youth judge at the Big Ideas Finals 2019).
Whilst I have only been in touch with Elaine annually around the final since then, her death comes as a huge shock at the premature age of 66. She was full of life and had a deep passion for young people until her last, delighted that Kimi returned to take part in the programme as a judge, 10 years on. She was a former pupil and teacher at St Bede’s and St Joseph’s Catholic College where we still work. I am travelling to their Big Ideas Days later this week with Claire which will be, as you can imagine, quite poignant for those of us both in Solutions and the school who knew her.
I know that most of you will not have been aware of her existence or the role that she played in Solutions for the Planet during her life however she is and always will be a founding member of the S4TP family and should be remembered as such. Her funeral will be in Cyprus on Monday 3rd February at 11.00am. Elaine moved to Cyrus in 2013, and there will be a memorial service in Bradford (although the dates are not yet confirmed).
When lives are cut short like those of Kevin Schofield, our former Chairman and Elaine it’s such a stark reminder that we need to make the most out of our lives and appreciate all that we have, all that we give and all that we receive from others.
Written by: Jen Baughan, CEO
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd