Write to Freedom Trustee
My interest in working with people, how to identify our own needs, what changes we want in our own lives and discovering who we are, began by accident. I needed a job and found an admin role in a housing association near where I lived in Hackney. This was the 80s and I soon found myself campaigning alongside my peers for not only the miners but also rented housing, racial equality, women's rights, gay rights, workers rights and significant for my choice of future work, user participation. I moved on to manage supported housing for ex-offenders where there was an interest in resident involvement. I then worked with tenants participating in managing their estates and through the mediation skills I learnt there, helped develop and work in a pilot project providing mediation between victims of crime and young offenders.
Working in a co-op, I was allowed time off to train. Initially thinking I would become a probation officer, I trained instead as a dance movement therapist! As a therapist, I joined a programme designed to support drug users in Holloway Prison and a local hostel. On moving to Devon, I continued to work for some years with movement as a therapist, with groups and individuals in the NHS mental health sector. I now work in the community offering movement psychotherapy and somatic experiencing to individuals.
I see Write to Freedom as a place where participants are encouraged to identify their needs and learn to trust themselves first. Participants have the opportunity to consider what they want to change in a supportive and challenging environment. As a trustee, I find myself in this same environment, integrating the professional and personal more and more, in relating with everyone who has a part in this inspirational organisation. I am excited by the potential for greater involvement by participants in the running of Write to Freedom at different levels in 2018 and the increase in my own participation in new ways, being no longer a 'new' trustee.