The trustees with learning disabilities make the big decisions about running MLMC. The trustee helpers provide advice and support to the trustees and help them to make the big decisions.
The trustee helpers are not advocates, don't have a vote at meetings, do not have an MLMC managerial role, and have no right to influence decisions.
Trustee helpers go to all trustee meetings to support the trustees. Trustees may ask the trustee helper for additional advice and assistance e.g. disciplinary issues with Charity Coordinator. On occasions a trustee helper may also be asked to provide guidance to the Charity Coordinator.
Who are the Trustee Helpers?
Ann has been a social worker and commissioner, working with adults who have learning disabilities for many years. She has worked alongside My Life My Choice in lots of different ways, and was delighted to become a trustee helper in 2014. Ann and her sisters have a close relationship with their brother, who has a learning disability and autism, and together they support and encourage him to have choice and control of his life.
Chris retired in 2015, after a lifetime spent working in a variety of different social care services and for himself. He now spends his time playing saxophone, painting, gardening and enjoying spending time with his four grandchildren. Chris has been helping MLMC since working with MLMC President Michael Edwards on an original idea for a self-advocacy association in Oxfordshire during the early nineties.
Jan says: "I am proud to be a Trustee helper at My Life My Choice. I have observed and supported self-advocacy in England almost since it began, in the 1980s. I have provided practical support, written about it, talked about it and even hosted conferences about it. I believe that self-advocacy is more important than ever in a world where people with learning disabilities are too often left to manage with very little support or companionship.
My frustration has been that its impact has been too limited, by in-fighting between different groups, by being split from the carers' lobby, and by the failure of society to treat people with learning disabilities as equals who deserve to be heard. Through being a Trustee helper I hope to continue to make a practical contribution to its continuing success, in Oxfordshire and beyond."