About us

Since 26 years ago when Kristian was born we have been very proactive working with Learning Disability.

The first thing we were involved in was the Down’s Syndrome Association, both National and Local. I later became the Secretary of the local branch. Some time after that a friend who is also a parent of a Down’s Syndrome person and I got together and did some training around Learning Disability and Communication. We started an information service called Parents in the Know, and we also provided workshops on Learning Disabilities and Communication Problems and how to solve them. From that we were asked to provide workshops for Bradford University Post Graduate Nursing Students, which we did for a number of years. Like everything else in life, situations change and we both had other priorities and had to dissolve Parents in the Know.

Because Kristian wanted to go to theatre school, I got involved with a local group who provided lessons for children but not with Special Needs. Alvin and I had been involved with theatre for some time – acting/managing/technical – so it seemed natural that Kristian wanted to get involved in acting. I set up a class for young people with Learning Disabilities and it was very successful for 12 years until again circumstances changed and I handed it over to someone else to run.

In my working life I worked in Education in the Special Needs area, co-ordinating the transport for children to go to special schools and their specific needs. I also did some volunteer work at a  resource centre for people with Learning Disabilities.

Recently I have become a volunteer for CQC (Care Quality Commission) via Inclusion North. I have done some training and I am now called an ‘Expert by Experience’, which means I will be going around the country inspecting different centres for people with Learning Disabilities and reporting back to the CQC.

That is most of my experience, which Alvin has shared over the years but he also has his own experiences some of which he describes below:

When you are told you have a child with Down’s Syndrome you quickly have to adjust to their needs and not your own. You have to surmount a very steep learning curve and become an ‘expert’.  Doctors, social workers and specialist nurses have years to learn – you need to learn all this in months.

I have worked in the NHS for 30 years in the Ambulance Service. When Kristian was born I decided that it would better for all of us if I came off shift work and worked days only. Doing this meant moving to a new job within the service. Most of my time was now spent in various hospitals around West Yorkshire as liaison relief. From there I moved to Statistics & Development projects.

After many changes and ups and downs I left the service due to ill health. I am currently a volunteer at Radio 119 and a Photography group called Viz-Able, both groups of people have learning disabilities. I am also helping Bradford District Care Trust (BDCT) as a researcher into Mental Health Issues.

As a full time carer you have to be aware of so many things – from changes in legislation to changes in services and service structures. Our aim with this charity is to help parents with these changes, especially in hospital at a time when you may not be thinking straight.