When I started with Kirklees Council in 1987 I worked at the Disabled Living Centre, ( D.L.C.), where I devided my time between the Equipment Loan Service and the Adaptations Service.
One of my first major tasks was to set up a stock control system for the Equipment Store. This was based on a system I learned while working for Halfords.
Later a team of D.L.C. staff, includng myself produced the Adaptations Video. We carried out the whole of the production process, from planning to filming, and scripting to editing.
At this time I also became a member of the D.L.C. Community Group which provided a presentation of the work of the Disabled Living Centre to Groups and Organizations in the community. Presentations were also given at the Centre.
Later my work at the Disabled Living Centre became mainly the progress chasing of adaptations for which, in order to answer primarily telephone queries from clients, and from Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, Community Care Officers, Surveyors, Urban Renewal Officers, and others involved in or enquiring about adaptations it helps to know the Adaptations System, and the people who are part of it very well.
I have been invilved with most of the working groups involved with the evolution of the Adaptations Service, including the Adaptations Co-ordinating Group, the Stairlift, and Agency sub-groups, and the Criteria Working Group.
Providing accurate information on the services involved with the provission of adaptations to clients is a vitally important part of the work of the Adaptations Service. Part of the systems to provide accurate information that I have developed is the inclusion of a quick progress sheet to each adaptations file which was initially used for D.F.G. adaptations, but has now been extended to all adaptations files, and the building up of a library of brochures including manufacturers of stairlifts, bathroom facilities, door entry systems, window openers, and lifting equipment including hoists and bathlifts.
I also co-ordinated the Inspection and Maintenance Programme for Stairlifts and Lifting Equipment, and placed the orders for "Agency" Adaptations, and have developed the filing, monitoring, and ordering systems for these services.
In more recent times the use of computers has become an integral part of my work, I have designed the database applications and a spreadsheet used by the Adaptations Service. Computers are used for word processing for standard letters, and forms and also to FAX fitting of equipment orders to Housing Maintenance, for a small database for the Inspection and Maintenance Programme, a large database for the Adaptations Service, the Spreadsheet for budget monitoring and also the use of a networked computer connected to Building Services which has greatly improved the speed, accuracy, and ease of progress chasing of adaptations.
Since starting at the Disabled Living Centre, I have attended training courses on Assertiveness, Sign Language, Equal Opportunities, Cultural Awareness, an introduction to Local Government, AIDS, various Disability Awareness Seminars, a course on the Adaptations System, and various I.T. courses including Wordstar, Supercalc, Lotus Approach, Lotus 123 and the "Kirklees Host" internet service.
As a member of the National Federationof 18 Plus Groups I have attended many training courses, the most relevant being management courses for Area Officers. These courses included such subjects as Group Dynamics, Motivation, Delegating, Planning, Problem Solving, and Decision Making. Also as an Officer in 18 Plus I have facilitated at training sessions, mainly on the subject of Publicity.
I was a member of the Huddersfield 18 Plus Group from the age of 19, soon after joining I became a member of the Committee as the Group's Treasurer, a post which I held for three consecutive terms, and for a subsequent term. I have served on 18 Plus Committees of one sort or another ever since.
At Group level I have held the posts of Treasurer, Secretary, Publicity Officer, and Chairman. Most of the Committee posts are self explanatory, the Chairman however apart from Chairing the Group's weekly meetings and monthly Committee meetings is also the Group's representative at District meetings, the Yorkshire Area Conference, and the Annual National Conference.
I was a member of the Yorkshire Area Committee for six years. My first post was as District Liason Officer for one of the six Districts, (Pennine), the job being to visit the Groups in my District at least once a month, providing, or organizing any help that the Groups needed from the more experienced members of the Yorkshire Area Committee.
My next post on the Yorkshire Area Committee was Publicity Officer, which I held for three years This post involved co-ordinating the Area's bi-annual Publicity Campaigns, providing training for Group Publicity Officers, providing Publicity materials, and producing and presenting a slide/tape presentation for 18 Plus Group Open Nights, which I put together, and all on an annual budget of about £200.
My last Yorkshire Area post as a full member, and continuing as an associate member was that of Magazine Editor, a co-opted post, which perhaps should be Magazine Publisher as it involves the whole process of producing the Magazine.I have my own computer and printer which I used for the word processing part of the production, and later D.T.P. for my final two issues.
My own personal experience of disability is my own partial eyesight which I have had since birth. I attended a school for pupils with eyesight difficulties.
In 1986 18 Plus sponsored B.I.C.E. '86, the Britain and Ireland Cycling Expedition which was an event run by the Charity, Cerebral Palsey Overseas.My part was to organize a reception and disco to welcome the ten disabled cyclists who were touring the country to raise funds for C.P.O.
Prior to working for Kirklees Council I worked for I.S.C.O. 5 in Halifax, where the majority of the staff had a disability of some kind.
Working at the Disabled Living Centre, and now the Housing and Health Unit one is constantly made aware of some of the difficulties of people with disabilities.