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 fit for purpose. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) implements policy and strategy, manages day-to-day affairs and reports to the board.
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?
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
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 currently the treasurer and have been a trustee since 2013. And I am very keen to work with all parties; individuals, groups and local government to ensure that we are achieving the best for us all.
I bring my experiences of tackling problems and issues surrounding disabilities and also my 10 years in running my local organisation, the Great Yarmouth VIP User Group, have been the Treasurer vice chairman and chairman too.
I have a simple outlook on life, and I like things to be kept simple and efficient. I am very keen to promote my local disabilities groups in Great Yarmouth and its surrounding area but for Norfolk too, to build a stronger relationship between all of the different disabilities and long-term illness that afflicts us all, great and small.
Jen Hayden – Trustee
I am registered blind and have a son with a learning disability, which has given me a deep interest in disability rights and a passion for removing the barriers faced by disabled people. I worked for Equal Lives until the end of March as an independent living adviser and have continued in a similar role in the direct payment support service at NCC, providing me with vast knowledge of self-directed support and related issues. I have a 1st class degree in human resources and business law and have worked in an HR related field since then. I have served on my church council for many years, including two terms in the office of Churchwarden, so am conversant with how charities must operate. I have lead several projects for my church and have shown myself to be enthusiastic and adaptable to complete any tasks required to further the work of the church council. At work, I am known to be thorough and polite with the best interest of service users always at heart
Fraser Bowe – Trustee
I acquired my disability through an in-service injury whilst serving with the RAF. I was medically discharged and told by the RAF medics that I would never work again, or drive a car. I’m used to people having zero aspirations for me and having to work hard to prove them wrong. Having had several jobs, each ones a step up the rung. Now I help to run the Amazon delivery station in Norwich. I was awarded an MBA and Diploma in Professional Consulting at The UEA 2 years ago. Proud to be fellow Chartered Manager and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
I have battled through the benefits system, as well as experiencing underwhelming support from the NHS and others. I have also had positive experiences from individuals in work, volunteering at the UEA. I have been involved with Equal Lives for several years. My qualifications and experience can make a real difference- especially in ICT, communications. I think I can also help with contract/supplier management, governance, risk management and financial budget.
Martin Symons – Trustee
I chair (and run) the Norwich Independent Living Group, took over as sole chair of Norwich Access Group early this year after the passing of George Saunders, a co-founder of Equal Lives (then Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People, a member of the Making it Real Board and I sit on the Direct Payment Support Service Advisory Group. I also Chair the Norfolk Disability Pride organising committee.
Having multiple disabilities and long-term medical conditions I’ve had lived experiences in both health and social areas and experience in improving access to both in towns and cities and the countryside.
Duncan Scott – Trustee
I have been a board member of Saffron Housing Trust for 6 years, in this time I have gained good knowledge about the responsibilities that the role involves. When I worked as a housing support worker, I used the services of Equal lives to the benefit of the clients I was assisting so I have an understanding of some of the great help this organisation provides.
Personally, I have struggled with my own mental health around anxiety and depression and am currently receiving help from NSFT Mental Health team.
I hope to use my own experiences of services, the knowledge I have gained being a board member and working in the support services to enable Equal Lives to become stronger, be compliant with all regulations, have good governance embedded throughout and be strong financially enabling it to carry out its commitments and gain new contracts in the future.