Jonathan Richards came to Wales in 1973 to train to be a doctor and worked as a general practitioner in Merthyr Tydfil from 1981 to 2015. He was Clinical Director for the Cynon Valley at Cwm Taf University Health Board from 210-2016, involved in supporting the Third Sector, integrating health and social care, quality and safeguarding. In the late 1990s he was Vice-Chair of the Diabetes UK Cymru Advisory Group for some years. He has been an External Professor of Primary Care at the University of South Wales (Glyntaff) since 1997.
He has had a special interest in the links between health and poverty since the research began to be published in the mid-1990s. He heard Professor Sir Marmot speak in 2012 and realised that he was describing behaviours that increased the risks of bad things happening not stigmatising people. His experiences in general practice informed what he knew about the complexities of untangling the relationships between determinants of health and well-being, behaviours, culture, resilience and the importance of meeting people where they are, and supporting them in ways that enable them to make the changes and choices that help to improve relationships, health and well-being.
He decided that he wanted to do something about these issues, particularly supporting families to give children the best start in life once he had retired from the NHS in 2017. Home-Start was recommended to him as an effective Charity that was making big differences for parents and families. He made contact and immediately found that the staff and volunteers were remarkable people, wise and compassionate with a passion for making real differences.