Pioneering community worker and academic inspired by his Christian faith

Bob Holman, who has died aged 79 after suffering from motor neurone disease, earned a unique place in social work, when, in 1976, he resigned his professorship in social administration at Bath University to become a community worker on the city’s deprived Southdown estate. He saw his affluence and position as inconsistent with his Christian faith. He and his wife, Annette, and their two children, Ruth and David, moved from a comfortable middle-class area in the city to a home next to the estate and he started the project where he then worked.

Ironically, this thrust him into far greater prominence than university life afforded, as he published widely to propagate ideas forged by his experiences. His advocacy, as well as the way he lived his life in a disadvantaged community, earned him many admirers, within and outside social work; some saw him as almost a secular saint.

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