My original connection to Andover and District Mencap was 22 years ago with a member of my family who had learning difficulties and also developed epilepsy. I needed support from people that understood the family member and their needs, whilst delivering support to improve self esteem and confidence, whilst not being made to feel different to anybody else.
I developed great knowledge of all the different support that is available through Andover and District Mencap. This made me more interested in Andover and District Mencap and wanting to support the work they do to enable choice and independence for people with learning disabilities.
I had the greatest experience in meeting Liz Hall and Marion Grundy who have helped me and so many people over the years.
My family still access the support from Andover and District Mencap as my grandson, who has autism, is able to access the after-school club.
Over the years i have been involved in supporting people. This has included 25 of the greatest years working in Andover Hospital, I have been involved in many charities, 11 Years on the Carnival Committee, Chair of Friends of Andover Hospital, and a Test Valley Borough Councillor since 2011. I was honoured to be Mayor of Test Valley in. 2015/16. I was also very proud of promoting the borough for North and South, meeting different people.
I am proud to be the President of Andover and District Mencap and will support the charity in any way possible.
My original connection to Mencap was 55 years ago when I set up both Oxford Mencap and Buckingham Mencap whilst my first son Jonathan was growing up. Jonathan was born with Down’s syndrome and a severe heart condition. He unfortunately passed away aged 23 years old. As a professional I am a Psychiatric Social Worker, and worked in the Child Guidance Service for Hampshire (part time) for 25 years! In 1964 I founded Andover Mencap, and chaired this developing organisation run entirely by volunteers and parents for 16 years and continue as vice chair to this day. I continue to fight for better services for people with learning disabilities and ensure I am in a position to make a difference in my roles as: Governor on The Hampshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, a Special Educational Needs forum for 5 schools, a board member of the local Sure Start program. I am also a Trustee of Hampshire Carers Together and the Local Implementation Group representative on the Hampshire Partnership Board for Learning Disabilities. Throughout the years I have worked hard to create choice and independence for people with learning disabilities and in 1997 I was awarded the MBE for my commitment and dedication.
My original connection to Andover and District Mencap was in 2008 (11 years ago) when I first started to volunteer in the office on a regular basis and I still do it know.
I have learning difficulties my-self, mild cerebral palsy and uncontrolled epilepsy. I am a very determined person. I have what I think is a great sense of humour.
I still very much enjoy volunteering and supporting Andover and District Mencap and it is a high-light of my week. I have volunteered many times when Andover and District Mencap have had stalls at community events and at some of the clubs. I have gained so much from volunteering at Andover and District Mencap, my confidence has grown and my social skills have got better.
My interests outside of Andover and District Mencap are horse riding with the Riding for the Disabled Association. I have been horse riding since 1988 (30 years) so far. I ride dressage and show jumping. in addition I have gained my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award when I was 21 years old which is held at Andover and District Mencap and my Queens Guide award also when I was 21 years old.
Becoming an Ambassador I am very proud and honoured. I will do my best to improve people’s thoughts and feelings about people with learning difficulties as I know how our members might be feeling at times and why for example I find the very important meeting like DLA/PIP etc… extremely stressful and I get quit anxious. I always try and look at life like the glass is half full and not the glass is half empty!