Since November 2019 Ann has been the Work Experience and RISE Lead at Sam’s Place.
After working within the NHS GP practice setting for 24 years in various roles from a receptionist to a medical secretary and culminating as Practice Manager, Ann opted for early retirement in 2014. Ann’s retirement didn’t last long and after volunteering at Blackpool Carers Centre from January 2015 she was encouraged to apply for a post within a new Parent Carers project. Whilst working closely with the parents on this project, it became apparent that there was a lack of opportunities for the young people with different abilities to socialise, continue learning life skills and to have fun in a safe non-judgemental environment. With these goals in mind, under the umbrella of the Parent Carer Project, Ann set up a weekly group called CHILL, (Creating Happiness Involving Learning ‘n’ Laughter) where the young people and their parents could meet safely while learning life skills and making lasting friendships. It soon became obvious that the group was as important to the parents as a mentor group as it was to the young people for the fun and socialisation skills. As this project ended Ann began to work with Helen to create the RISE Project. During lockdown in 2020/2021 Ann has been working on the virtual sessions with RISE and carrying out evaluations with Helen to help to adapt our services and support during this time. It was evident that a parent group chat/mentor group was once again needed to give the parents someone to talk to who understood the difficulties the parents were facing. The parents currently meet virtually every two weeks and they are looking forward to the day they can sit down together with a coffee and chat face to face.
Ann feels that it is vital to involve the families in everything we do, that way the whole family receives the emotional and social support they need in a very safe environment.