In order to achieve our mission, values and aims, we are governed by a board of Equal Lives Trustees. The Trustees meet quarterly to set policy, monitor performance and overall direction.
The board delegates monitoring work to the Finance and Development sub-committee.
There is also a governance review working group that meets to ensure the policies and procedures of Equal Lives are fi t for purpose. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) implements policy and strategy, manages day-to-day affairs and reports to the board.
At present there are eleven trustees and since we were established all of these have been disabled people. The board is controlled by three elected officers, these are the chairman, the vice chairman and the treasurer.
Each year members are invited to nominate trustees. Trustees are elected by member votes at each Annual General Meeting (AGM). They stand for three years, with the option to stand down at each AGM. Officers are elected annually.
The Chairman must always be a disabled person and has the duty of seeing that the goals controlled in the overall strategy are being carried out by the CEO as per the direction of the board. The vice chairman is a direct assistant to the chair. The treasurer has overall responsibility for the company finances and is chairman of the finance and development committee. They are also responsible for presenting budgets and financial accounts for the year.
Who are the Equal Lives Trustees?
Jon Moore – Chair The main body of my experience is twofold, firstly I used to work for the Eastern Daily Press, and during that time wrote about disability issues for the paper. In order to do this, I have to have a good understanding of the social model of disability which I believe I have.
I also used to work as a disability awareness training assistant for the old Norfolk careers service. In light of this I think I also have a good understanding of the way community at large views disabled people and the different challenges that we face.
I therefore believe that given my previous experience I will be able to assist with the Norfolk Coalition’s/Equal Lives efforts to promote itself both locally and nationally.
Kate Wyatt – Vice Chair I was very proud to be elected Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at the last election having been a member for several years.
I have been Secretary of an Equal Lives Member group, the Dereham and District Access Group for the past 9 years, in fact the DDAG have recently been celebrating their 25th Anniversary endeavouring to keep Dereham more accessible for disabled people.
Over the years I have become more confident, therefore more vocal with regard to campaigning on disability issues.
The work of Equal Lives is more important than ever due to all the austerity cuts and hardship that disabled people are currently facing, so the role of the Board of Trustees is equally important to take the organisation through what is a difficult time for us all, I feel honoured to be part of the team to be currently doing this.
Shaun McGarry – Treasurer
I am both blind and deaf; my condition is called Usher’s Syndrome (a combination of Retinitis Pigmentosa and congenital deafness). I am middle aged, reasonably fit and active, have a natural flair for mathematics, physical sciences and have a good appreciation of the technology world and a natural ability to program computers of all sizes, including developing web sites. I bring my 10 year experiences running the Great Yarmouth VIP User Group, being the treasurer, chairman and vice chairman; tackling barriers facing people with visual impairments, plus also doing many fund raising efforts. I have a simple outlook on life and I like things to be kept simple and neat. I enjoy listening to audiobooks, the radio and also I’m building my own house! I feel that I will provide lots of thoughts, ideas and support to the whole of Equal Lives and its future.
Bill Albert – President for Life
“I have been active in the disability movement since I joined the Norwich Access Group in 1992 and being their chair 1994-1997. Since then I have worked in the movement locally, nationally and internationally.”
Founding Member NCODP, Chair NCODP 1995-2002/3, CEO NCODP 2007-2009
Chair International Committee British Council of Disabled People 1998-2002
Chair Bioethics Committee Disabled People’s International Europe 1998-2003
for more information about Bill’s work as an academic and novelist see http://www.billalbert.me.uk
Catherine Meijer – Trustee I help to bring the views of young disabled to the board of trustees and help with making decisions that are also good for them. I am confident and able to speak up for the Youth Forum and will inform them about the work of the board. As a member of the Youth Forum I go all the meetings, take part in projects which I enjoy a lot and I have also taken part in several NCODP/Equal Lives events including the Disability Pride event. I am also interested in access issues as there are a lot of problems for young disabled people to get around and go out. Transport is a big problem which really is very frustrating because young disabled people want to have fun too and go into town.
Rick Cotton – Trustee I have been an active member of the West Norfolk Deaf Association (WNDA), a Full Member Group of NCODP/Equal Lives, for several years. As well as being Chairman of the WNDA I am also a Hearing Support Service Volunteer. As a representative of the deaf community in Kings Lynn, I would like to continue to ensure the views of the deaf community is presented in our county organisation. I have been a trustee of NCODP/Equal Lives for 3 years and would like to continue to promote deaf awareness at all levels.
Penny Holden – Trustee I have been a Equal Lives/ NCODP trustee since May 2007. I came to the organisation with the Norfolk Mental Health Advocacy Service (NMHAS) when they became part of NCODP, as I had been chairing their management committee.
For many years I have been part of Sing Your Heart Out www.syho.org, filling various roles on it’s committees.
Currently I am on the Making it Real group https://www.facebook.com/MakingitRealNorfolk/ and represent them on the Promoting Independence Partnership Group along with Adult Social Services and many other Statutory and Voluntary organisations.
My two main long term objectives in the voluntary work I do is to see personalisation working properly in Norfolk and to see singing for health, especially mental health, accepted and funded by the health services.
I am enthusiastic and have many skills and experience, and am concerned about equality and disability rights issues and like to work with others to make a difference.
Since my childhood I have had bi-polar syndrome and have experience of using mental health services. When I am well I am creative, inspired and dynamic. When I am not it’s the opposite. I have various physical problems which are annoying rather than seriously debilitating. I am a fighter and I am determined.
Tom Shakespeare – Trustee I am Professor of Disability Research at the University of East Anglia Medical School, where I conduct social research with disabled people in Britain and also developing countries. From 2008-2013 I worked at the World Health Organisation where I helped write and edit the World Report on Disability (WHO 2011).I was involved in the Disability Arts Forum (NORDAF), and Disability Action North East (DANE). I have been active in the Restricted Growth Association (RGA), with whom I co-produced research. Since 2008, I have also had spinal cord injury.
Dan Barrett – Trustee
I have been a Trustee of Equal Lives since 2007 representing people with learning disabilities. I have a good attitude to work and am able to keep things confidential. I am an advocate and member of the Management Committee at Opening Doors. I am a good listener and will listen to what people have to say and their concerns or problems. I have experience of attending meetings and have been involved in a number of Equal Lives campaigns. I am a social person and like being with people. I like being a Trustee so we can work together.
Martin Symonds – Trustee I have multiple disabilities with medical conditions. I am involved in many groups including Norwich Access Group (Secretary/Trustee) Norwich Shopmobility, Norwich Independent Living Group (Chair), Expert by Experience Group for Factuality of Medicine and Health at the UEA, Making it Real Reference Group, I Care Ambassador Associate for Skills for Care, Regional Rep for Scoliosis Association UK including setting up Norfolk Scoliosis Group and a Committee member for Not About the Bike. I also like to promote cycling for people with disabilities.
I’m also a bit of an adrenalin junkie and like a bit of adventure!
I also a volunteer with Equal Lives supporting the Community Engagement Team, mainly on the Independent Living Groups.
Having both physical disabilities and long term conditions, I believe I can bring life experience and enthusiasm to the Board of Trustees.
Cathy Combs – Trustee
Having worked extensively in the private and public sectors over the last 40 years and having been involved with Equal Lives community projects over the past four years, my focus revolves around ensuring inclusion for people facing disabling barriers. As a carer for family members with disabilities and living with my own long term health conditions, I have personally experienced inequalities and am grateful for the opportunity to work with Equal Lives in addressing these issues.
Tom Fadden – Trustee I’m a member of the European Network on Independent Living and a Member of Norwich Access Group. Other interests include independent living and a Member of Norwich Access Group. Other interests include independent living, disability sport and community engagement.
Kevin James – Trustee, ImRoc Project Partner & Peer Lead, NSFT Recovery Project, Chair of Disability Advisory Forum Nfk and Sfk Police Constabulary, Member of Independent Advisory Group for the Constabulary, Peer Lead for Service User/Parent/Carer for the Faculty of UEA, Chair of Experts by Experience Committee UEA, Vice-Chair of Norwich CCG Patient and Community Advisory Panel, Vice-Chair of the Norwich City Disabled Supporters Association for NCFC, Represent Together Wellbeing at the National Steering Group and The Broader Management Forum, Independent Member of the Mental Health Provider Forum Nfk, Lead Facilitator of the City South Forum for NSFT.
Martin Flemming – Trustee Trustee of EL and Aniridia Network UK (ANUK), Head of Volunteering & Development ANUK, Governor Winterton Primary, Prince’s Trust Mentor and Break Volunteer