I moved to Craven from London 15 years ago, attracted by the stunning landscape, and the friendliness of the Yorkshire folk. As my daughter developed complex mental health needs and neurological disabilities, I discovered that the rural landscape was not quite so idyllic as I ‘battled’ with various NHS services to obtain support for my daughter. I discovered that Craven was a complex location – it didn’t fully belong anywhere and was ‘tacked on’ to either North Yorkshire, or to Bradford, depending upon the service being received. In particular, Bradford services were often not provided in Craven and travelling to outpatient appointments became a full time occupation. It was draining and soul destroying. I was confused and felt unsupported.
Through my experiences as a carer, I took up a patient/carer engagement post with Bradford and Airedale Mental Health Advocacy Group (BAMHAG – who have now become VITAL Projects and do some fabulous work promoting advocacy skills and services for all, but in particular for the vulnerable in society). I learnt many things: mainly that people’s individual stories can have a massive impact on those who commission the services and make a positive difference. I have become passionate about patient and carer engagement in service delivery and in particular, that there is a huge need for the voice of Craven to be heard, so that it does not become the forgotten landscape.
I was delighted to learn that Craven is now part of the People’s Board and I am keen to see Craven become an integral and positive participant in the People’s Board and the important work it does. This requires the active involvement of Craven residents and I felt it was important to put myself forward instead of sitting back and assuming that others will step forward for the role. I am keen to spread the voice of Craven, so please do share your views and experiences with me so that I can ensure they are heard.
On a personal level, I enjoy walking, eating chocolate, the occasional glass of wine and spending time with friends and family.