Jon Snow, Chair of Trustees
Jon Snow is a journalist who anchors Channel 4 News. As close friend of founder Felix Dennis, Felix himself asked Jon to take up the Chairmanship of the Heart of England Forest.
“I am an enthusiast for the Forest, not only because I love trees, but because I want to develop an amenity for the West Midlands. I care passionately about the need to combat global warming, and the Heart of England Forest is perfectly placed, as the Lung of the West Midlands, to mitigate against the effects of climate change.”
As well as a strong background in journalism, Jon has a wealth of experience in the voluntary and community sector. He was Chair of the New Horizon Youth Centre (a charity supporting homeless young people) from 1986 to 2016, was a joint trustee of the National Gallery and Tate Gallery from 1998 to 2008, currently chairs the Tate Members committee, and is a trustee at the Longford Trust, which provides prisoners with the opportunity to study for university degrees.
Q&A with Jon
Why did you choose to give your time and get involved with the charity?
I have been fascinated by trees since I was a child growing up in the oak woods of the Sussex Weald. By chance, I was also a close friend of Felix Dennis. When he asked me if I would become the Chair of the Heart of England Forest I was totally delighted and I love my involvement. As my career begins to give me more time for outside activities, I intend to devote more time to it.
What expertise do you bring to the trustee role?
I have been fortunate both to work full-time for charity – the New Horizon Youth Centre for three years, and to have had experience of being a trustee over the years for a number of charities, so I do feel well seasoned in charity board activities.
What aspect of the charity’s work interests you the most?
Inevitably the expansion and maintenance of the Forest, but equally the administration of it.
Where/how do you think the Heart of England Forest is making the most difference?
I believe that the Heart of England Forest is not only providing an increasingly important lung for the people of the Midlands, but also a vital off-set to the region’s pollution. I am confident that as the Forest expands, so will these benefits.
What are the biggest challenges that you feel are facing the charity over the next 12 months?
Inevitably the current pandemic will affect those who wish to use the Forest and to some extent those who work in it. These effects will be less seen in the Forest itself than in the environment around us. I hope that our tree planting will not be seriously affected.
What 3 words would you use to describe the work of the Forest?
Magnificent, challenging, green.