The Directors of the company are also Charity Trustees for the purposes of Charity Law and, under the company’s articles, are known as members of the Board of Trustees.
Ian Cray has a management background in the foam industry. For more than 20 years he was the owner of a Midlands conversion company. He enjoys directing shows at a local theatre and travel in a classic campervan. Recently retired and enjoying the challenges of working with Independent Advocacy.
Paul has been a Trustee since 2016. He is a qualified engineer and his background in the private sector brings diverse business skills and perspectives to the work of the Board and the Finance and Audit Committee. Following a successful career in sales and marketing, Paul developed a keen interest in the commercial use of computer systems and specialised as a consultant in Business Management and Information Technology. Since retiring Paul has been an enthusiastic contributor to the work of Independent Advocacy and development of the Charity’s use of Information Technology. He is passionate about the role the charitable sector has in enriching communities and working in partnership with other sectors. In addition to his voluntary work as a Trustee, he is also a business mentor with the Princes Trust, a Parish Councillor and a volunteer helping older people in his local community to attend medical appointments.
I am a retired dental surgeon, qualifying at Birmingham School of Dentistry in 1969. I worked for a while in the Community Dental Services, Wolverhampton, before moving back to my home town in the East Midlands where I was a partner in a National Health dental practice for some 35 years. Moving to Warwickshire in 2006 when I retired, I was invited to become a Trustee of IA, later taking on the roles of Vice-Chair and Chair of the Human Resources Committee. Other community commitments include serving as a Parish Councillor, and actively supporting “Adventures Offshore”, a Suffolk-based charity providing sailing adventures and experiences for young people from all walks of life. I am a firm believer in the aims and ethics of Independent Advocacy and hugely admire the demanding work that the advocates, volunteers and supporting staff undertake and the results that they achieve. It is a privilege to be associated with the charity.
A graduate of Warwick University, Graham joined an international firm and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Virtually the whole of his working life has been spent in practice, initially with the firm at which he qualified, but from 1985 – 2012 in a smaller, general practice of his own, in partnership with his wife. He has a wide experience of general practice matters and business advice.
I am a Chartered Civil Engineer and Chartered Arbitrator. I have my own business providing advice to businesses in the construction industry, specialising in dispute avoidance and resolution. My work often reminds me that people can feel overwhelmed when facing difficulty, and that it is sometimes not enough to merely provide advice and assistance, one must also recognise the way in which that difficulty may impact the individual. This is even more important outside of business, and is one of the reasons why I was delighted to be asked to be a Trustee for Independent Advocacy in 2016. The work undertaken by the charity is priceless and essential, and the people who deliver the support, assistance, and guidance needed by its users are very special individuals. I am proud to be associated with them, and to be able to contribute to the fine work that they do.
Having graduated with a degree in Economics, but with a desire to use the skills and experience gained while working for a number of voluntary organisations, I spent many years as a social care manager in London working in both the public and private sectors predominantly managing provider services for adults with physical and learning disabilities. These included day and employment opportunities, together with domiciliary and residential services. Having moved to Warwickshire whilst studying for a master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Birmingham, I continued to work in senior management roles with particular emphasis on business development, tendering and effective service delivery. I have always been committed to developing resources that both maximise people’s independence and ensure that each individual has a full and meaningful say in the delivery of services. Throughout the course of my career I endeavoured to facilitate this through the use of independent advocates, who were able to support people to be an active part of service development. I am now, in retirement, pleased to be able to support the invaluable work carried out by IA staff in empowering people to take, and maintain, control over their lives.
Hilary retired from a career in teaching with over 30 years experience working with children in primary education. Her work included supporting young people with Additional Learning Needs and individuals and families dealing with emotional difficulties. Hilary also has personal experience of supporting people with learning disabilities and autism. This background brings valuable insight, as well as expertise, to the Board in overseeing the development of our services. Hilary is a passionate advocate for the involvement of the people we support in shaping how we work. Her person centred focus greatly adds to our work in enabling vulnerable people to exercise life choices and live independently as part of the wider community. This is reflected in her volunteering activities since retiring. Hilary has supported autistic students in Coventry and as a Trustee of a local charity helped to provide both fun and developmental educational experiences for people with a range of disabilities connecting them to their local area. Hilary has been a Trustee on the Board of Independent Advocacy since 2014 and is also a member of the Charity’s Human Resources Committee.