A Message from Sandra Wheatley, Chair – Disability North.
Happy New Year to you – our service users/clients; our supporters and funders and valued volunteers.
At this point of the new year we as an organisation, as well as a board of trustees, are at a pivotal-point. As we moved from 2018 into 2019, we said goodbye to trustees who have served the organisation for many years, Toby Brandon, Malcolm Macourt, Tim Williams and Joe Ayton. They will be missed. We welcomed new Trustees who will, I’m sure bring their experience and expertise to strengthen the existing Board. Some of the trustee pen-portraits are now on-site, with more to come soon. I am really looking forward to serving Disability North as Chair of Trustees alongside such incredibly talented and dedicated people.
Disability North has undergone many changes during the past year – no organisation is immune from change and it is never easy to say goodbye to valued staff members too. It is our staff who are Disability North’s greatest asset and each one will continue to make an immense difference to every person who seeks the advice and support; guidance and advocacy we have provided for over 30 years. Our staff really are the best of the best and I want to emphasise how proud I am of our excellent reputation and the dedication, commitment and enthusiasm of each member of staff, and for the leadership and example Victoria Armstrong shows as our CEO. Her professionalism, expertise and dedication have once again proved to be invaluable during 2018.
As we move into a new year it is that opportunity to embrace just what ‘new’ means that excites me. Innovation, change, originality, and uniqueness – all elements of what Disability North is, and will continue to be, and what the new year will bring as we grasp the potential to innovate and change. We will further develop our services to ensure we keep abreast of the myriad of changes to the welfare benefits system.
We will continue to inform and educate those who will listen, and some who need to; to raise awareness that disabled people may be more visible in today’s society, thanks to changes in legislation (DDA1995) and more recently the Equality Act 2010, but our voice, their voice, still needs to be heard. We will challenge the injustices of the welfare system and we will continue to promote inclusion, independence and choice as we have done for decades. We will champion the role of carers and families who support and care for those affected by any disability, mental health issue, learning disabilities or are marginalised due to impairment.
Our work isn’t done – we do have incredibly dedicated and experienced staff who do have the support and backing of an equally dedicated board of trustees who will ensure that, whatever the challenges or changes we face, we will continue to provide a service that is second to none to the people of Newcastle upon Tyne and beyond.
This platform will highlight and showcase our achievements and services throughout the year. So, watch this space – there are exciting times ahead!