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Trustees Week 2023

My route to becoming a trustee of Freeways began in the mid ‘90s in a hospital room in Hong Kong where my son Tom was born with profound and various special needs.

Fast forward to 2018 and we landed in Bristol. For my family, understanding the SEN and learning disability system in the UK and then finding a pathway for a young SEN adult was a very sharp learning curve.

As we plotted our boy’s pathway, I realised that we could help and we could learn; I didn’t actively plan on becoming a trustee of a SEN charity but the opportunity arose and I became a trustee at Freeways four years ago.

Having already served on the boards of several commercial companies, I was broadly familiar with the role of a director/trustee but not at all knowledgeable about how a trustee role with a charity differs from its commercial cousin.

The lived experiences and skillsets of the other trustees are more diverse and thus perhaps richer than in a commercial environment and I feel that individually and collectively we bring a very broad level of competence and diverse thinking to our collective role as stewards of this particular charity.

For my part, I hope that I am able to offer my life’s lessons both from the commercial space and as a parent of a SEN young man; yet equally and almost daily, I am struck by the dedication and impressive knowledge my fellow trustees bring and share on the wide range of issues we as trustees need to weigh up.

I am pleased to contribute in my own small way. But I’ve also learnt so very much about the way SEN and adults with learning disabilities live in this country – it’s inspiring and I am inspired but I am evermore aware of the long road ahead. 

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