I’m the current Vice-chair of Leeds Involving People (LIP), and I also served as Chair. I’ve been a Board member since October 2011, but my working relationship with Leeds Involving People started way back in 1995. I’d been involved in the Access Committee for Leeds, a group run by the city council. I was co-opted onto the Board as a member with physical disabilities to ensure that we had parity within the trustees. As a trustee I ensure that LIP is represented and is at the forefront of any discussions which take place at the meetings and conferences I attend.
I was able bodied up to just after my thirties, so I understand to a degree both the able and disabled world. Crucially, I understand how difficult it can be for people to access not just buildings but services. I endeavour to help others change the way society caters for people with differing abilities, so they can live a good, healthy, happy and safe life.
I have always believed in the adage that if you are going to complain you have to have a solution, or ensure you’ve been to someone who can help. Don’t just sit back and complain; get involved, be an active citizen.
When I’m not helping out at LIP I’m usually involved with something else in the city. I’m Co-chair of the Better Lives Board, Chair of FhITE (Forum for Health Innovation Technology and Equipment), Leeds City Council Hub Representative, Trustee of Access Committee for Leeds, Trustee of PSI (Physical and Sensory Impairment Network), member of the Service Users and Carers Strategy Group at Leeds Beckett University, member of NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) PPI forum based in Sheffield, and a member of the Independent Disability Council. I’m also a member of the South and East Leeds Patient Leader Group and of my GP surgery’s patient group, and I sit on different task and finish groups over the year.