Zarine Katrak worked for many years as trainer, facilitator, and writer for national charities such as FPA, National Children’s Bureau, Brook and MIND in the field of Sexuality and Sexual Health as well as Anti-discriminatory Practice.
She devised and delivered a range of courses in continuing professional development, group work in practice courses, teambuilding and creative personal development work for statutory and voluntary sector professionals, young people, and community groups.
For over a decade, from 2000, she worked on a values-based project delivering training to teachers that stemmed from a resource she co-wrote with Simon Blake, “Faith, Values and Sex and Relationships Education” commissioned by National Children’s Bureau. Her commitment to the power of explicit values arose from this work.
Zarine and her husband Jeremy Bruce built and now run Hill Cottage Retreat Centre in mid-Wales, a place she has lived in since 1979. Her degree in Educational Psychology and Art, and Cert Ed in Art and Drama has been valuable in devising creative personal development work, she has used aspects of voicework, visual arts and metaphor to help participants reflect and connect with a positive sense of self. She also has held a regular supportive space for people to sit in stillness together.
She and Jeremy follow a Buddhist path supported by their teacher Ajahn Sudhiro. She enjoys chanting as a practice, as well as singing and vocal improvisation. When not organising retreats and workshops, she designs, paints and prints fabrics and makes practical artifacts for the retreat centre, children, grandchildren and friends.
Jeremy Bruce qualified and practiced as a Quantity Surveyor. He later worked for Groundwork UK, the charity promoting sustainable living, for fifteen years before becoming an independent consultant advising charities and government agencies.
He moved to Hill Cottage in 2004 after he and Zarine made a commitment to each other. Since that time he has worked with Zarine to build the retreat centre, introduced renewable energy , dug a garden and planted hundreds of saplings for food & fuel.
In 2007 Jeremy and Zarine met Ajahn Sudhiro a Buddhist Forest monk who became their teacher. Jeremy received temporary ordination with Ajahn Sudhiro in Thailand 2010 and has helped in organising his visits to the UK, as well as spending time with him in Thailand and India. He has run Buddhist meditation groups and retreats since 2005. He is co-founder with Zarine of Hill Cottage Retreat Centre and a trustee of the Buddha-Metta Society UK.