Lead by Chief Executive Ted Hill MBE, the various departments are aimed at serving members and meeting the needs of the Branch and Regional network. Central Office also takes responsibility for planning major events like the National Indoor Games held every March and PPS Day later in the year.
Ted Hill MBE
Since joining The British Polio fellowship in 2012, Ted has had a profound impact. Under his guidance, the Trustees have been able to successfully guide the charity onto firm foundations for the future, support an increasing membership and deliver record numbers of new initiatives and proactive measures designed to raise the charity’s profile in a competitive third sector environment.
Ted has been the driving force behind several successful campaigns that have begun to put Post Polio Syndrome and the needs of the members on the medical and political map like never before.
As the brains behind PPS Day, Ted has overseen the growth from a low key event in Winchester into a campaign that has successfully targeted the key political centres throughout the country. Events at the Palace of Westminster, the Welsh Assembly and Stormont have brought on board powerful new supporters and 2017 will see PPS Day reach the Scottish Parliament. Coverage of PPS Day has reached over six million people in 2015 alone with thousands of new enquiries.
Ted directed the project to see published Post Polio Syndrome: A guide to management for healthcare professionals. The guide is the first of its kind, offering a comprehensive overview of how to manage PPS. Featuring the UK’s leading Polio experts, the importance of the guide cannot be overstated and is one of the most important documents published in terms of improving the lives of those with PPS.
Ted also guided the charity into our new Watford home. With such a substantial asset on the books, the future of The British Polio Fellowship has been secured in the long-term, while having new facilities at the disposal of members.
Ted has shown tremendous leadership to transform the charity from a struggling, reactive organisation into the confident, engaging, proactive charity it is today. Staff satisfaction levels have increased from 65% to 95%. Member satisfaction is at a record high and stands at over 90% plus since Ted’s arrival.
Equipped with the facilities, staff and sound finances necessary to take the charity forward and support the membership for decades to come.
The Support Services department is dedicated to supporting not just members of the charity, but anyone with Polio and PPS in need of information, advice and support to help them to live fully integrated, active and fulfilling lives.
In recent years, the department has been helping members navigate the changes as a result of Universal Credit and PIP and where necessary appeal decisions. The Support Services team is handling an increasing volume of calls, with over 3,700 enquiries on PPS alone in 2015.
Head of Department Ahmad Butt works closely with Support Service Officers Yvonne Wright, Sarah McHugh and Aparna Tripati.
Head of Support Services
Head of Support Services Ahmad Butt is the former Director of IPR advice centre in Islington and prior to this was the Manager of the Barnet CAB Money Advice Unit. Ahmad was a guest lecturer at the London School of Economics from 1997 to 2010 on their LL.M graduate insolvency programme. He also brings experience from commercial claims firms and solicitors practices.
Ahmad’s depth and breadth of experience is proving a real asset to the charity and members. He has reviewed new ways The British Polio Fellowship can organise Pro-Bono representation for members at tribunal appeals and court hearings, scoring several notable successes.
Recently, Ahmad has been engaged in visiting Branches and Regions to offer the benefits of his insight and advice to members ‘on the ground’ where they need support most.
“The support services department is something we really want to develop and we are now using our resources effectively to assist members in the best ways possible,” said Ahmad. “We have already been able to help scores of members and to see your work impact so positively on their lives and their families brings me and the team lot of personal satisfaction.”
Support Service Officer
Yvonne Wright has worked for the past 7 years in the voluntary sector for two charities and the Watford Community Housing Trust. In addition, on a weekly basis Yvonne works as a counsellor for a mental health charity and the skills she has learnt here have proved invaluable in helping people struggling to come to terms with PPS or facing the complexities of benefit applications.
“I have been significantly inspired by the calls that I have received from our members and have learnt a vast amount already,” said Yvonne. “I am motivated to expand my knowledge of PPS and continue to support our members.”
Support Service Officer
Sarah McHugh has worked for The British Polio Fellowship since August 2012, when she came in to cover maternity leave. Sarah has been with us ever since, having found the British Polio Fellowship a charity where she felt she could do some good. Having worked for a GP surgery and a Poly Clinic, Sarah has first-hand knowledge of how hard it can be for those living with Polio and PPS to source the help they need and how hard the charity works to set this right.
Hailing from South Harrow, Sarah is an experiences member of the Support Services team and has also completed 10k runs fundraising for the charity, together with colleague Rosalind Evans.
“As one of the first ports of call for those ringing the charity, I have come to appreciate what people with Polio are facing and being able to make a real difference to people’s lives is a very satisfying role to be involved in.”
Welfare Benefits Adviser?
The latest member of the Support Services team is Aparna Tripathi, who joins The British Polio Fellowship with five years of experience as a Generalist Adviser with the Citizens Advice Bureau. Aparna will help not only members directly, but also other staff at Central Office as their knowledge will grow with Aparna’s advice and expertise.
Aparna has advised clients from all backgrounds on a broad range of issues, covering such areas as welfare benefits, debt, unemployment and housing advice and now brings the benefits of her knowledge and experience to bear in supporting the members of The British Polio Fellowship.
“I’m really enjoying working with the charity,” said Aparna. “At present, I am trying to understand the issues members of The British Polio Fellowship have, and hope to help them with my expertise and skills. I am focused on researching the latest PPS related information and making sure our members have a platform to discuss any issues I am committed to bringing new and fresh ideas to the team so our members have all the resources they need.”
Hetty Kelly joined the Central Office team in Watford with a brief to help provide a consistently high service to members. Working to support the extensive regional network of branches and groups, the charity now handles thousands of enquires from members of the public concerned about Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) and changes as a result of the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Hetty’s recruitment allowed Sarah McHugh to join the Support Services team, making a four strong unit together with colleagues Yvonne Wright, Aparna Tripathi and Head of Support Services Ahmad Butt free to prioritise member support.
Originally from Swansea, Hetty is an experienced Volunteer Manager with over ten years’ experience in the voluntary sector, having worked for both MIND and YMCA Wales. Having graduated with a degree in Social Anthropology from Brunel University, Hetty is helping The British Polio Fellowship deliver support to those members who need it most.
“I have really enjoyed getting to know the team and getting stuck into my new role,” said Hetty Kelly, when commenting on her new role. “I look forward to continuing to assist the team in providing a helpful and friendly service to our members, and creating positive change in the lives of people affected by Polio and PPS.”
Holiday Programme Co-ordinator/Legacies/Gift Aid
Rosalind Evans from Pinner has worked for the charity since 2007 and manages The British Polio Fellowship’s Ron Scudamore Holiday Programme, a restricted fund specifically set up in 2007 enabling people to go on holiday that due to living with Polio may never have had the opportunity to do so, or have special needs that can make the cost prohibitive.
The bungalow at Burnham on Sea is operated as an accessible holiday home for members of The British Polio Fellowship and their families. The bungalow has all the facilities necessary to enable those disabled by Polio to enjoy a holiday. Features like hob and sink worktops that can be raised and lowered automatically plus a bedroom with hoist meant that for decades, the bungalow represented the only opportunity some members had to take a holiday and as such the holiday home has a unique place in the hearts of British Polio Fellowship members.
“Holidays are something many of us take for granted, but for many with Polio they can represent a challenge too far,” explained Rosalind. “The Ron Scudamore programme allows us to use our knowledge to help make a holiday of a lifetime possible for those who thought they could never have one, so it’s very rewarding work.”
Marketing and Campaigns/Website
Kripen Dhrona joined The British Polio Fellowship in October 2014 as the charity’s Marketing Communications Officer and got off to a quick start by managing the Parliamentary Reception for Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) Day on 22 October.
Following a long and successful stint managing the marketing arm of a popular London hotel, Kripen traded Park Lane for Polio and his strong background in marketing and events is proving invaluable. A former project manager for Liquid Bubble Media; Kripen spent over 15 years prior to this implementing group marketing strategy for The Enterprise Hotel in London, which included pioneering social media policy for the group.
Part of Kripen’s brief includes regular liaison with third party suppliers and the charity’s PR agency. His work on publications and brochures has also come in handy, as Kripen is the first point of contact between the editorial team working on charity magazine the bulletin and Central Office. The contacts made in over 15 years have stood him in good stead in devising further events for the charity to build on. Kripen’s efforts have led directly to the successful partnership with the Association of Conferences and Events (ACE) and the ongoing work with REMAP.
“I met with Remap in July 2016 and they love making things for those with disabilities; while our partnership with London Orthotic Consultancy is helping PPS patients to walk independently,’” said Kripen. “I am looking to help the charity build on these relationships and establish new ones to help people with PPS receive the support and they need to live independent lives.”
Shirley Russell is key part of the Central Office team and is also a member of The British Polio Fellowship in her own right.
In addition to her work looking after advertising for the bulletin, Shirley has also been for many years the principal co-ordinator for the National Indoor Games held every March in Leicester.
Fundraising Administration/In Memoriam/Donations and Merchandise
Development Officers for Scotland and South West England
The appointment of two Development Officers for the remote areas of Britain is intended to underscore The British Polio Fellowship’s commitment to addressing the needs of members in all parts of the country and those who may find it difficult to attend a local Branch.
Polio and Post Polio Syndrome affects 120,000 people in the UK and it is all too easy for members in outlying areas to feel isolated. The appointment of Tara Anderson and Rebecca Colpus demonstrates our determination to reach out to all our members who need us. As a charity we are resolved that Polio and PPS must not be forgotten and neither should our members. Not everyone knows The British Polio fellowship is still here and ready to help and part of mthe role of the Development Officers is to promote this message throughout their respective regions and beyond.
Development Officer – Scotland
Tara Anderson became the charity’s first Development Officer when she joined The British Polio Fellowship on 6 May 2014. It was recognised that some people living with Polio and PPS in isolated areas could feel cut off, so the charity acted to address the issue. Dundee based Tara lost no time in working to ensure the charity in Scotland continues to meet the needs of members.
Very much a ‘hands on’ operator, Tara has a strong track record in the Scottish third sector. Past roles have taken in Alzheimer’s Scotland, Fife Advocacy and from 2002, Tara’ last role being a several year stint with Help The Aged, where her role was as a key manager of the hugely successful ‘speak up for our age’. This programme had ‘helping people have their say’ at its heart and thus has an obvious resonance with Tara’s plans to give Scottish members a similar say on what matters to them and work with like-minded organisations to mutual advantage.
“It makes a great deal of sense to recognise and take advantage of the networking capabilities we can enjoy with organisations who share our values and concerns and who we can work with for mutual benefit,” said Tara. “There is no need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ but what we do need is a clear idea of the priorities of the membership so I am meeting with as many members as possible and ensuring that we develop the positive outcomes that matter most to Scottish members living with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS).”
Development Officer – South West England
Rebecca Colpus joined in October 2014 to help the charity reach out to rural communities in the South West of England. With over 20 years’ experience in the third sector, Rebecca has a brief to expand and develop the charity’s existing services in the region and reach out to those members in rural communities most in need of support.
Rebecca brings considerable experience in the third sector to the role, having recently worked with Caritas Care developing practical support for those with hearing loss; Rebecca has also served as a manager with the Alzheimer’s Society, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Age Concern (now Age UK). Much of this work centred on the rural areas of Cumbria and Mid Wales, so the rural South West held no surprises for Rebecca.
“The South West region is quite isolated, so there is lots of scope to develop services to meet the identified needs of people living with Polio and PPS. Not everyone is on email or uses a phone and we know there are people living with Polio and PPS who may not be members and may not know The British Polio Fellowship is here to help them – and one of my jobs is to change that. We are reaching out with modern forms of communication, but sometimes old ways are the best. By meeting people face to face, using posters and attending local community events we can reach out to everyone and help any lost members out there and others with Polio and PPS to find their way home to the help and support they need.”
Rotary Liaison Ambasador
A long-standing member of the British Polio Fellowship, Colin Powell JP, FCCA was appointed to the newly created post of Rotary Liaison Ambassador in November 2015, with a brief to spread understanding of Polio survivors throughout the Rotary community and develop the existing global links between the two organisations. Colin has been tasked with facilitating cooperation between Rotary and The British Polio Fellowship with a particular emphasis on Post Polio Syndrome (PPS). A man like Colin, with knowledge of both organisations was considered best placed to act as a bridge between the two organisations in areas of mutual interest.
A resident of Bushey in Watford, Colin has been a member for over 60 years and despite living with PPS since 2010 is one of the charity’s most active members. A Rotary member since 2009, Colin served as the President of the Rotary Club of Radlett from 2011-12 and has worked as a motivational speaker at numerous Rotary District Conferences, Assemblies and Clubs. Due to PPS, Colin is no longer able to speak to individual clubs, but is still addresses large external groups and also within Rotary itself – at district Conferences and District Club Assemblies.
“I have been working in this role for a while and I am aiming to develop projects by building upon the relationship between the existing Rotary Polio Survivors and Associates. A Rotarian Action Group. This is currently little known about in the UK and I am hoping to shine some light on it.”