I have been a disabled person all my life and first became involved with Greenwich Association of Disabled people (GAD) twenty-six years ago.
Prior to that I had worked in various clerical roles at firstly Elliot Automation and then Thorn Lighting. Having been made redundant by Thorn Lighting I decided to re-train as a Counsellor and went to GAD for a placement to practice “Counselling Skills” as part of the course. The course took three years and in that time I assisted with GAD’s Peer Support Drop-in, co-ran GAD’s Pilot “Young GAD” Project and, towards the end of the course, provided GAD’s Disability Counselling Service. Once qualified I continued as a volunteer Counsellor whilst researching, obtaining funding for and managing a, three year, Disabled Counsellor Training project.
After the Counsellor Training project I continued as a volunteer and joined GAD’s Board of Trustees whilst working part time at Brent Association of Disabled People (as maternity cover for Counselling Service Manager) and at Merton Association For Independent Access running their Counselling Service. I also spent five years working part-time at Mile End Hospital as Disability Counsellor in the Multi-Disciplinary Community Rehabilitation Team. My most recent post was working full-time for several years with bereaved families at Dignity Funerals. I am currently unemployed. My experience of committees began at college when I was elected Student Union Rep on the college Academic Sub-Committee.
Later I served for several years on the Disability Issues Sub-Committee of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy and also joined the Parent / Governors Committee of my children’s Secondary School.
At GAD I began as Staff Rep to the Board and once the Counsellor Training Project ended was elected onto the Board as a full member. Whilst working part-time as detailed above I progressed to Vice-Chair and eventually Chair of GAD. Once I began full-time work with Dignity I had less time to dedicate to GAD and so reverted to ordinary Board Member in which role I have worked with the rest of the Board to secure GAD’s future culminating in our merging with METRO.
Myself and other GAD Trustees have formed a Management Committee for METRO GAD and in that role I sought election to the METRO Board as METRO GAD Rep.