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Speaker Biography

Robert Beard

 Robert Beard
Policy Officer, National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA).

Robert Beard is a Policy Officer at the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA), the national charity representing councils for voluntary services and other local support and development organisations (www.navca.org.uk).

He is an experienced consultant and trainer around equality and diversity issues, and a spare-time writer, actor, director and singer.

Robert read Divinity at the University of St Andrews, graduating with honours in 1985, and then spent six months in Sri Lanka working with the Christian Workers Fellowship. He subsequently trained for ministry in the Church of England at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

Ordained in 1988, he served in parish ministry in the diocese of Sheffield until 2002. During this time he taught on the diocesan Pastoral Workers and Readers course, and was Chair of Sheffield Interfaith, Adviser to the Bishop of Sheffield on Interfaith Issues and Associate Chaplain at Sheffield Hallam University Multifaith Chaplaincy.

He co-founded, and from 2002 to 2005 worked with, Simunye, a local intercultural community arts and enterprise project. He also worked with the Open Forum for Economic Regeneration (OFFER) on the early development of Sheffield Faiths Forum.

From 2005 to 2008 he was Policy Officer at the Churches Regional Commission for Yorkshire and the Humber (www.crc-online.org.uk), working with the Yorkshire and Humber Faiths Forum and managing the Faith Matters training and consultancy programme (www.faithmatters.co.uk).

He has been a member of the FaithLinks group at Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber and of the Faith & Community working group and the Local Area Agreements Project Board at the Department for Communities and Local Government.