Our People

WECIL is a huge community of like minded and supportive people. Our diverse board of Trustees and Leaders bring a broad range of invaluable experience from different sectors to strengthen and grow the organisation.

Contact Us

Read our Frequently Asked Questions you can also email us: hello@wecil.co.uk on or call us now on: 0117 947 9911 

Trustees

Kelvin Blake, Chair of Trustees

Kelvin lives in Fishponds with his partner Anna and two children aged 11 and 9. Until June 2018 Kelvin worked for BT in senior board level roles where he was responsible for the delivery of large and complex customer and internal projects and programmes. Kelvin is passionate about progressing disabled peoples issues having become disabled in 2006 following a serious motorcycle accident and sustaining a spinal cord injury. He takes an active role is Bristol’s community therefore he currently is a Non-Executive Director of BrisDoc the out of hours GP care service and a Trustee at Second Step, a homeless and mental health charity.

Formerly he has been a trustee of the Spinal Injuries Association and The Vassall Centre Trust. He was a Non-Executive Director of University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust from 2008 – 2014.

We look forward to working with Kelvin and utilising his passion and knowledge to make a positive impact on the WECIL community.

WECIL is a huge community of like minded and supportive people. Our diverse board of Trustees and Leaders bring a broad range of invaluable experience from different sectors to strengthen and grow the organisation.

Ruth Pickersgill brings a wealth of experience with her from her professional career and other voluntary roles. Ruth has been disabled since her early twenties and is currently retired, but was elected as a local councillor for Easton ward in 2016, and this role now takes up most of her time. Ruth’s working career was spent mainly in the areas of equality or education or both. She has previously worked in three disabled people’s organisations during the 1980s and 90s and was the first Director of WECIL when it was set up in 1995. Ruth has been totally committed to WECIL’s principles and ways of working from its inception!

Ruth spent some of her life in Leicester where she was chair of Leicestershire Centre for Independent Living, giving her a wider perspective on the independent living movement nationally. More recently Ruth has worked in education and ended her career as Asst. Principal of a local sixth form college. Equalities has always been a passion, and in 2010 Ruth was given an MBE for work on equalities in Further Education, which was a great achievement.

‘’I want to see WECIL develop and grow in response to the requirements that local disabled people have, and for the organisation to take an active role in improving lives and providing support, but also to see it empowering members to be able to individually and collectively challenge the barriers that the Government and others put in their way. I would like WECIL to become a more diverse organisation that reflects the whole range of the local population. ‘’

Ruth is also actively involved in a lot of refugee issues and is also a Trustee at Bristol Refugee Rights and City of Sanctuary and is also chair for the Council’s Inclusive Cities initiative. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her daughter and grandson who live locally, and going to the odd concert or film.

Vicki Kaye became disabled at age 12 after catching measles. As a result, she developed encephalitis and became paralysed from the neck down but gradually regained the use of her arms and upper body and slowly, she learned to walk again but not very well so she often tripped up a lot and got very tired very quickly.

After working as a Legal Assistant in London and Bristol, Vicki stopped working and became a carer for her brother who has Down ’s syndrome. After looking after her brother for 10 years Vicki’s physical condition worsened and she became a full-time wheelchair user so her brother moved into a small residential home where Vicki is a Trustee.

Vicki’s experience of managing a physical disability at school, university and in the workplace makes her a great addition to the WECIL board of Trustees.

‘’I have been on direct payments for about 14 years now and WECIL has always supported me so it felt only right that I should try and repay them by volunteering in some way. I was asked to become a trustee last year and I am so pleased that I did!’’

After working as a Legal Assistant Vicki went on to take a BA in Drawing and Applied Art, followed by a Master’s degree in Fine Art at UWE.

‘’A fabulous experience and great fun! But, I couldn’t have done this without the help of a personal assistant.’

My first engagement with the disability movement came in 1988, as a wheelchair user I was longing for safe accessible transport. I became part of the Bristol-Dial-A-Ride Management Committee, a few years later I joined the steering group for the formation of WECIL.

Through that introduction I came to understand the difference between the Medical and Social Model of Disability and see why services provided by disabled people for disabled people are better than any other service provider. The empathy and understanding is real ‘we’ve got the T-shirt!’

I have been involved with WECIL for over 25 years and was a member of the steering group that drove its creation forward. Some steering group members became trustees, it has been an honour and privilege to serve WECIL this long and I am totally committed to WECIL’s purpose and ideas and give my time, knowledge and experience of being a disabled woman gladly and wholeheartedly.

I am a wife, mother and grandmother, my grandchildren are the apple of my eye and I try to take a very active part in their care during holidays and days when their mum goes to work.

My early life was as a State Registered Nurse then I became disabled and am a full-time wheelchair user.

People still think I am joking when I say I want ‘WORLD DOMINATION’ for WECIL! ‘I kid you not’ and still harbour the hope and wish for WECIL to have a big fat contract as government advisors on all issues pertaining to disabled people.

I am also a founder member of BPAC (Bristol Physical Access Chain) and still enjoy doing Access Audits, which I have been trained to do by a disabled architect. This information INFORMS the Planning Department how good or bad the access is for disabled people.

I would like to see WECIL continue to grow and prosper in its servicer provision to disabled people.

I have recently retired after a career covering a wide range of NHS, Social Care and Voluntary Sector roles . I have worked as a Planner and Operational Manager in each of these areas.

In 2001 , I was seconded to work at the Department of Health as a member of the Valuing People Support Team ,focussing on improving the lives of people with learning disabilities . I moved on to join the Personalisation Team which set up pilots for the implementation of Personal/Individual Budgets . During this period , I spent 1 year at the Office of Disability Issues working on implementing the Government Policy -'Improving the Lifechances of Disabled People ' where I focussed specifically on the vital role of User Led Organisations like WECIL.

After finishing at the Department of Health I worked for 3 years before retirement working as a Consultant for the National Development Team for Inclusion .

I am a Disabled person who has lived in Bristol for almost 30 years. I have been a Disabled people movement activist since 1986 and are a strong believer and proponent of the social model of disability and the disability equality perspective that flows from this. I also have a clear understanding of and commitment to all other equality issues.

From 1992-2003 I worked for the Avon Coalition Of Disabled people where I was the centre for inclusive living project worker, the West of England Centre for Inclusive Living as Disabled people housing project worker, and the West of England coalition of Disabled people as coordinator. I was a BRISTOL City Councillor from 1998-2005, a non-executive director of South Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust and wrote a weekly column on life as a Disabled person in Bristol for the Bristol Evening Post. From 2003-2018 I worked for North Somerset Council in their Adult Social Care directorate, and from 2018 have worked for Thomas Pocklington Trust setting-up engagement groups of people with a visual impairment. I have served on the management bodies of numerous community and voluntary sector groups including the care forum, disabled living centre, headway, open up music and Bristol churches housing association.

I was a member of the union Unison National Disabled members committee and the management committee of British council of Disabled people. I served on a Department of works and pensions working group as co-chair designing a national engagement structure for Disabled people. I was chair of the Disability sub-committee of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and served on Healthwatch England national committee.

In my personal life I sing in a choir and am very slowly learning to play the harmonica. My interests include music and reading where history is my preference. I play cricket very badly and would love to cycle more but cannot find a cure for a very sore rear-end from not very long in the saddle. I love chocolate which you can see by my non too small waste line.

John lives in Westbury Park, Bristol with his wife Kim.  They have three boys/young men at university and beyond who live with them when it suits them.  John has worked primarily in the private sector as a Human Resources specialist having held several HR Director positions, many with international responsibilities.  He is now an independent HR Consultant.

John was a Trustee with Time2Share since 2012 and was Vice Chair for some of this time.   Time2Share was a charity supporting disabled children, young people and their families.  WECIL and Time2Share already worked in partnership and it was agreed during 2018 that WECIL would take on the contracts that Time2Share was delivering.  John played a key role in managing this transition and subsequently joined the WECIL Board of Trustees in October 2019.

In his free time, John is a keen cyclist and has been a volunteer for the Life Cycle charity where he would ride with blind or partially sighted young people on his tandem.

 

My Name is Marie-Antoinette Andrea Mighty, I was born and raised in Bristol and lived mainly in the St Pauls and Easton areas of Bristol.

I have a great passion and a strong sense of justice around inequality and particularly around disability equality.  Throughout my working career I have entered into fields where I could make a positive difference.  I have lived experience of poor mental health and overtime I have become more intentional and confident at maintaining good mental health and learning that my condition although it is a part of me it doesn’t define who I am.   Influencing policy work is a keen interest of mine and I enjoy topics on how to overcome barriers that hold us back in life.  I am always keen to promote disability awareness and apply this in my current roles on the board of Golden Key as well as in my practice as a Magistrate.  Within these roles I ensure I promote the social model of disability on a personal cultural and structural level.

I started my career at a young age. I come from a poor family of very hard workers.   I worked in the Tuck Shop at the Kuumba Centre based in St Pauls, there my brother taught primary aged children Black history.  It wasn’t long before I ventured into the caring field and one of my most profound jobs was at the beginning of the Community Care Act when I became a Mental Health rehabilitation worker. There, I Supported adults who once lived in large institutional hospitals to settle and to live independently in the community.  In my spare time I mentored Teenagers who came from the inner city areas.  It brings a smile to my face to recall the memories of teenagers talking candidly about their mental health, supporting one another and thriving against all the odds.

I qualified as a Social Worker in 1998 and worked in many teams, my most memorable was working for the Deaf and Visually impaired team.  I was fascinated by the DEAF culture and learnt much from fiercely strong and independent individuals.  I currently Chair the Disabled Colleagues Network which is 1 of 4 staff networks based at Bristol City Council.  The work can be emotional as you’re sometimes sat on people’s pain and it isn’t always an easy task to influence/ negotiate equality within a large organisation with many competing demands.  However I often feel quite privileged to be a part of an organisation that are keen for change and to be part of the influencing process to ensure positive action and positive change for people at all levels Personal, Cultural and structural.

Finally I have to say how thrilled I am to be a Trustee of WECIL and l feel quite excited to be working with WECIL and eager to meet people, get stuck in and share the learning with other organisations.  

Dominic has over 15 years’ leadership experience within the Charity and Voluntary sector and has focused on growing the impact and commercial performance of member-led organisations. As CEO of Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC – a member-led Economic Development Agency based in London - he specialised in community-led regeneration, growth of the social economy with a specific focus on promotion of co-operative and social enterprise business models and development of a significant portfolio of large-scale community-owned commercial work space properties.

Previously, as a  Strategic Partner to the Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office he supported communities across the UK to successfully tender in Health and Social Care commissioning. Internationally, he was commissioned by the British Council to create social enterprise development programmes across Vietnam and advised regional government on social enterprise and community-led regeneration in Ansan in South Korea. More recently he has applied his entrepreneurial approach to strengthening the social housing sector.

Youth Trustees

Our Youth Board was formed in 2018. The Youth Trustee Board play a key role in shaping the way we deliver our services, providing a valuable perspective on the needs of young disabled people in Bristol.      
  • To provide a voice for young disabled people in Bristol. 
  • Helping to improve the lives of young disabled people in Bristol.
  • Identifying barriers that young disabled people face.
  • To engage with consultations on services that affect young disabled people.

 

Trusteeship

  • To advise WECIL Senior Trustee Board on how to engage and include young disabled people into the WECIL Community.
  • To advise the WECIL Senior Board on strategy so that their services meet the needs of young disabled people.
  • Collaborating with the Listening Partnership and Youth Services participants, to promote the voice of young disabled people.
  • To support and advise the WECIL bid writing team on bids for services that impact young disabled people.
  • To act as an ambassador for the WECIL Community and for the rights of young disabled people.
  • Sitting on WECIL interview panels to support with staff recruitment.
  • Supporting and mentoring new Youth Trustee Board members.

 

Name:

Hi, my name is Tiana.

Any hobbies?

I enjoy travelling and would love to travel around the world, getting to know different cultures and experience their cuisines.

Why did you join the Youth Board?

I joined the Youth Board to gain a greater understanding of the needs and barriers that young disabled people face in Bristol and act as a representative voice within WECIL. I wanted the opportunity to work with other like-minded young people to help challenge the negative perceptions surrounding disability to help increase support for young disabled people. Most importantly, I wanted to help empower our young people by collaborating with their ideas to positively impact them within the local community as well as within policy-making.

What are you passionate about, and why?

I am particularly passionate about young disabled people being denied equal opportunities to access quality education. A significant concern in most young people’s lives is the quality and cost of education. It is becoming increasingly important to increase their educational outcomes to access employment. However, young disabled people being denied equal opportunities to this education further impacts them, with less overall life satisfaction affecting their health and wellbeing. 

What do you hope to influence/change?

I hope to influence the support local schools and colleges give to young disabled people increasing their educational outcomes. As I believe this is a crucial way to help, young disabled people enter the adult, working world. As well as being a voice to young disabled people on a range of topics and issues that they find important. 

Name:

Hey! My name is Violet, but please call me Lettie.

Any hobbies?

I love video games, making costumes, writing, and drawing.

Why did you join the Youth Board?

I joined the Youth Board to work alongside other Disabled Young People, and to continue improving everyone’s standards under WECIL.

What are you passionate about and why?

Equality, and equity. Inspiring conversation and understanding both within and outside of the community!

What do you hope to influence/change?

The social perception of disability and what it might mean to be disabled.

 

Name:

Hi, my name is Aaron Creese.

Any hobbies?

I run a YouTube channel to promote my media work and talk about topics around disability awareness.

Why did you join the Youth Board?

I joined the youth board to help revolutionize and evolve organisation.

What are you passionate about and why?

I am passionate about the social model of disability and changing people's lives by inspiring and motivating people.

What do you hope to influence/change?

To show and demonstrate that disabled people can make a difference and impact the world in a positive way, regardless or despite there disabilities or conditions.

 

Name:

Hello my name is Rob Hartley.

Any hobbies?

In my spare time I enjoy playing video games, going out in the lovely weather, colouring and doing art on paper or on Photoshop.

Sometimes I love doing the artwork on photoshop because it’s unique and creates brighter colours.

Why did you join the Youth Board?

I joined the Youth Board because I believe in the Social Model of Disability and working with WECIL to create a new inclusive community.

What are you passionate about and why?

Everything, because the service is their to help people. I would especially like to help people with transport and communication. This is important for me to look at within the service.

What do you hope to influence/change?

Travelling arrangements and Art sessions