John Pontin was born and brought up in Bristol. He started the JT Group in 1961 which over forty years developed a national profile, in particular for green issues in construction and mixed-use urban renewal.
As a Trustee, and as Chairman for 13 years, John was involved in a range of development projects for The Dartington Hall Trust, a charity with a significant community involvement principally in the South West. He was closely involved in the formation of the Quartet Community Foundation by the Society of Merchant Venturers. This now has an endowment fund in excess of £8 million and a grants programme in excess of £2 million per annum. JT provided office space during the set-up period and John remains a Trustee.
John has a keen interest in sustainability and is on the board of Bristol's Sustainability West and a patron of Bath-based Envolve. He is a Patron of Hartcliffe Community Campus and a member of the RSA's sustainable development advisory group.
Under John Pontin's leadership JT worked in the 1970s with Arnolfini Gallery to develop a pioneering mixed-use scheme in order to give new life to what was then a derelict dockside building, Bush House.
In 1982 JT worked with Bristol City Council to conserve E and W Sheds on Bristol's harbourside to house the Watershed Arts Trust. The Pontin Charitable Trust sponsored the fund-raising programme for the Trust.
In 1992 JT rescued Leigh Court, a Grade II* listed building, from the hands
The Pontin Charitable Trust (in partnership with another charitable trust) in 2001 brought back to life the Walled Garden at Leigh Court as an organic market garden for food production as well as demonstration and educational purposes.
JT have been involved in many other projects in Bristol including the innovative High Kingsdown housing area of the late 1960's.