Wendy Back (Chairperson)
I joined the Board of New Directions in 2008 after having worked in Local Government from 1983 until I retired at the end of 2007. I initially worked in the Housing Department of Rugby Borough Council where I gained a professional qualification in housing studies and became a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. I went on to manage a Housing Section for another Local Authority and later became a Director managing all the Council’s front line services from 1998 until 2005, after which I became the Council’s Chief Executive until I retired in December 2007. I have a wealth of experience in working with Local Councils, County Councils, Government Offices, Housing Associations and Charitable Trusts and most other front line services. I have previously served on the Boards of Rockingham Forest Housing Association and South Leicestershire College.
Margaret Sedgley (Treasurer)
I have been involved with New Directions since 1978 becoming Hon. Secretary in 1987, and Company Secretary in 1991 when the Society formed a charitable limited company, Rugby Mencap Hostels. I retired in April 2009 and was invited to join the Board. In my role as a Trustee, I seek to work hard to uphold the aims and objectives of the Company for the benefit of people with learning disabilities.
I joined the Board of New Directions as a Trustee in January 2012.
At the end of July (2011) I retired from employment after having worked for over 38 years in Human Resource management and associated activities. For the last fifteen of those years I worked for a major logistics company as a Human Resources Director and Controller.
On retirement I felt the need to contribute something of the skills I had acquired over those years to a voluntary sector organisation . My attention was drawn to New Directions as a consequence of having attended a pre-retirement course just before my retirement . I was attracted to the organisation in part as a direct consequence of my own experiences (which are ongoing) in helping to look after my 91 year old disabled father.
In addition to my New Directions involvement, I am also a recently appointed School Governor for a Warwick Nursery school.
I became a trustee of New Directions in January 2012.
I have over 30 years experience in the area of special education, working with students with a wide range of learning difficulties. For much of this time I was Deputy Head Teacher of a Special School in Coventry– giving me an extensive understanding and experience in the leadership and management of a complex organisation. I have firsthand experience working with the parents and carers of people with learning difficulties and understand the difficult decisions and anxieties that families face.
I am a governor for the Federation of Coventry Secondary Special Schools, I am involved in wildlife conservation and I am a keen gardener. I enjoy both practical and creative arts and have become actively involved in the Day Opportunities service at New Directions.
My younger sister had Down’s Syndrome so I grew up in a family with firsthand experience of what families have to negotiate on a daily basis to get for their children what other families take for granted e.g. schooling, healthcare and support to live as independent adults.
Although my area of practice as a solicitor is not relevant to New Directions, I hope to bring the skills of analysis, consideration of risk and input into decision and policy making to the charity.
I joined the Board of New Directions as a Trustee in November 2014 after responding to an advertisement asking for people who wanted to make a difference.
My late mother was one of the key reasons for me joining. As a former nurse in the 1960’s she started working in day centres for learning and physically disabled people. She worked at the day centre in Somers Road, and was then involved in Gateway House where she “lived above the shop” and was passionate about the work even after her retirement. I’m hoping to carry on this association with New Directions after taking a back seat in my business specialising in life safety systems which I began in 1983, now coordinating all things health and safety.
I am very excited about the innovative plans New Directions has for the future to support more people with learning and physical disabilities and am looking forward to helping in whatever way I can.
I first started working with people with learning disabilities in Scotland in 1985. I was a volunteer with a charity offering basic literacy and numeracy and social skills to people from the local day centres. I then became a tutor in the group and went on to set up more groups in the area. I then moved to one of the centres as an instructor and ran the independent living training flat.
When my husband’s job brought us to Warwickshire in 1991 I worked for a year in a local primary school with children with special needs. After that I became an assistant clinical psychologist with the local NHS learning disability team, based at Admiral’s Court and working with children and adults. I then became a psychological therapist which was the post I held when I retired in May 2015.
That involved working with local residents, families, carers and staff, offering advice and support to sort out difficulties and improve their quality of life and I was delighted to be able to extend that support as an adviser to the Board. This gave me an inside view of the dedicated work that goes on in New Directions to make it the innovative and exciting force that it has become so I was thrilled to be asked to become a trustee when I retired.
Being a Trustee means that I can still help to make a difference to people’s lives as well as enjoying the relationships that have built up over many years and I’m proud to be part of a dynamic organisation that is constantly looking ahead to the next challenge which then becomes another stepping stone in the lives of people in Rugby.
I have only recently joined the Board of New Directions in January 2016 and bring over 30 years of finance experience with me. Having originally qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1990, I have since gained a wealth of finance and commercial experience in a range of well known ‘blue chip’ organisations and am currently Chief Financial Officer at the London based consumer products company JML.
I have lived in Rugby almost all of my life and both of my children were born and went to school here – I therefore owe much of what I have achieved both professionally and personally to this town. I was therefore only too delighted to seize the opportunity of joining the Board of New Directions when it arose at the end of last year, as the possibility of being able to use my skills and experience to contribute to an organisation that has done, and continues to do, such wonderful work for the people of Rugby feels like a great way to offer something back to the town and community to whom I owe so much.
I joined New Directions Board of Trustees in May 2016. I have a brother who is a resident with New Directions living in the Gateway Court complex. I believe that my life experiences have given me a good understanding of the issues and concerns that can face individuals and family members with regards to learning disabilities.
I have over thirty years’ experience working within the community development field with both adults and young people. This work has been within a variety of settings including youth services, community development programmes and more recently the addictions field.
I work in an anti-oppressive way with the view to enabling groups and individuals to develop their confidence and skills to become independent. I have total commitment to equality of access which includes people being given the opportunity to make informed choices and influence service delivery.
I am therefore motivated by the innovative plans New Directions has for the future to support more people with learning and physical disabilities and am pleased to be part of a proactive organisation.
It has been a real honour to join the New Directions board of Trustees in early 2017. I have always been humbled by the fantastic work the team at New Directions undertake. Our daughter uses the service and loves the team at Milner House. I retired from British Gas as their Head of Energy Technology and Innovation after 42 years in 2016 and I hope to be able to utilise some of my business experience to help New Directions during their next exciting chapter.
Becoming a Trustee
If you are interested in becoming a Trustee please see the job description and our Vision and Mission Statement You would need to submit a Trustee application form , complete a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) criminal record check and provide satisfactory references, and you would be invited to observe a Board meeting. Please also see “The Essential Trustee – What You Need to Know“.