I am a rights focused Disabled person who has used the Social Model of Disability to rewrite my own life experience and turn early life segregation and disempowement into personal and professional success. I have worked in the non-governmental sector since 1997 for a range of disability focused organisations that include service providers, national and international campaigning networks, and a large non user-led charity. I have also been a trustee/Chairperson and Treasurer of a range of non-governmental organisations including a training provider and a small international development agency. I have been the Director at ALLFIE since April 2006 so have more than 10 years experience of leading a grassroots Disabled person-led organisation.
Independent Living is a founding principle in my life. Independent Living came from Disabled people, empowered by the Social Model, as a response to the decades of institutionalisation forcing Disabled people to be passive recipients of services. Independent Living has given Disabled people the framework to take back choice and control and to describe the lives we want to live in a world that values difference and seek equality of opportunity for all citizens.
I have sound working knowledge of disability focused legislation including the Equality Act 2010, Human Rights Act, Children & Families Act 2014 and internationally, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I was part of the UK civil society group that participated in the UNCRPD elaboration discussions and more recently I am part of a civil society alliance (Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance) that has drafted a shadow report in preparation for the scrutiny of the UK Government later this year.
I am committed, personally and professionally to equal opportunities, diversity and human rights and use the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as my starting point.
I know that I am at my best being part of a grassroots focused, principled organisation where there is greater opportunity to benefit from action learning and respond effectively to changing situations, policy and legal direction. Being a member of the ENIL Board appeals to me because it about building and sustaining a movement for change with a vision clearly focused on choice and control for ALL Disabled people, always keeping co-production and real life experience at its heart.