I joined the Board four and a half years ago after retiring from work as an academic. I was in the Psychology Department at Glasgow University and had lectured on counselling and knew something about writing grant applications, both of which I thought might be of some use to GCA. At the same time I always had a bent for volunteering. I was with the Samaritans for ten years, for example, up until the time my first child was born.
It’s been immensely rewarding for me, although it’s meant to be the other way round! GCA’s role is so important and so much needed, especially in this city. I’ve met so many committed people in the organisation, at all levels, and I’m full of admiration for them.
I was given the remit of liaising with service users, acting as a link between them and the Board. As such, I’ve attended many service user meetings, got involved in the activities generated by them, such as the large scale survey of service users’ attitudes and feelings which they carried out, and I can truly say that I’ve learned a great deal from them.
Another venture has been the editing of ‘Singular Voices’ (SV) which is about to be launched in various venues in the city. Service users have worked hard on various aspects of its design and promotion, leading up to these launches. SV represents a distillation of conversations with service users, telling of their journeys through alcohol and beyond. The stories serve to provide hope and inspiration to those who are perhaps at an earlier stage in their struggle, as well as being interesting in their own right.
I can say that my whole experience with the Board has been great. There have been challenges facing the Board, of course, but working through these has only enhanced my respect for colleagues and has promoted a strong sense of fellowship amongst us.
Oh, and yes, I can assure you – we frequently do have a good laugh!
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