Born and bred in the North East, Barbara lives in North Tyneside and has two grown up sons and two grand-daughters.
At the beginning of 2018, Barbara set up her own consultancy – barbaragubbins.co specialising in marketing, business development and charity matters. She is also a celebrant undertaking weddings, funerals and naming ceremonies. She was Chief Executive of County Durham Community Foundation for nine years prior to this and previously Chief Executive of The Children's Foundation, a North East regional child health charity. Barbara spent most of her career in project management, marketing & PR before moving into the voluntary sector 20 years ago.
In a voluntary capacity, Barbara was a magistrate for 16 years and specialized for a time in family matters. She has also been involved with mentoring young people at risk of offending and was a school governor in the west end of Newcastle. She is currently a trustee of the North of England Civic Trust and VONNE.
In June 2017, Barbara was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her contribution to voluntary services.