Meet the Associate Family Consultants team
Family consultants are part of Dimensions’ lifeblood. Liz Wilson and Wendy Burt are our dedicated family consultants; you can contact Liz & Wendy here.
Liz and Wendy are ably supported by a team of 12 associate family consultants. Together, they act as ‘critical friend’ to Dimensions’ operational teams (or ‘stones in the shoe’ as CEO Steve Scown prefers to call them!) The family consultants are there to help families express concerns, to act as intermediary to help bridge the communications gaps that can sometimes exist between providers and families, and to champion the rights of families across Dimensions. Seven of our family consultants are also trained to quality check services.
Demand for a ‘family voice’ around the table has, rightly, never been greater. We believe Dimensions is unique in having so many family consultants. Meet them here:
Alexis’ son is supported partly by us in his own home in Berkshire. She uses a Direct Payment to buy our support which works alongside a team she employs herself on her son’s behalf. This means she has a wealth of practical experience on working creatively in partnership that is invaluable to help us learn about this unusual way if working. As a relative newcomer to Dimensions she brings fresh insight to the team and wider organisation.
Amanda’s son is supported by us in his own home in Dorset. He has autism and learning disabilities and communicates without speech. Amanda is one of the pilot team of ‘family expert’ quality checkers and will continue to fill this role alongside associate family consultant work. She manages a Direct Payment on behalf of her son and has successfully advocated for him to move closer to the family. She has had to become an expert in managing risks associated with challenging behaviour.
Roger’s daughter is supported by us in a shared house in Bracknell. A recently trained family quality checker he is keen to ensure family expertise is used in getting support right for people. In times of austerity Roger has a creative eye for taking full advantage of circumstances and is hoping to guide other families through these tricky times.
Annie’s brother is supported by us in shared supported living in Worcestershire. She has been a member of the family forum and the only ‘sibling’ to sit on it. She is the editor of PMLD Link an informative newsletter for families and supports of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and has been part of the team that developed the national PMLD Standards that were launched in November 2017.
Kate’s son is just 17 and used to be supported by our Buddies service. She was a member of the family forum while we ran Buddies. Kate is an experienced person centred thinking trainer, a Makaton user and a trainer in sign supported English. She sits on the Suffolk Partnership Board. She is a mine of information on a wide range of topics and has strong networks in Suffolk and beyond.
Claire Garrod Pullar
Claire’s son is supported by us in his own home in York. He spent too many years in an ATU but has a great life in his own home now. Before joining us as an associate Claire spoke to many new families about the support we offer. Knowing the very worst and best of support gives her unique insight into some very complex situations.
Linda’s son is 18 and preparing to move into his own place before too long. Linda has strong networks with families in the North East and prior to joining us she was a Family Advisor with Inclusion North. She also works as an expert by experience in the Care and Treatment Review process.
Susan is the former chair and longstanding member of the Family Forum. Her son is supported by us in his own home in Sheffield. She has sat on national groups such as the Autism strategy group and National Valuing Families Forum and is passionate about families getting good support and clear information. Susan recently brought to light some changes to the way mortgages are handled for people with learning disabilities and campaigned tirelessly to keep people informed.
Barbara’s son is supported by us in his own home in Wiltshire. She is one of the pilot team of ‘family expert’ quality checkers and will continue with that work alongside the associate family consultant team. Barbara has expertise in the benefits system. She regularly raises concerns with her MP and is a lifelong advocate for people experiencing all kinds of social exclusion.
Jan is one of the original members of the family forum. As one of the first families in the country to secure a direct payment and supported living for her daughter who has profound and multiple learning disabilities her early experience of navigating the system and developing a great relationship with her daughter’s support provider and team has been invaluable to us. Jan’s ‘outside’ perspective continues to bring a balanced perspective to the team.
Martin’s son, Harry, has been supported by us in Worcestershire since he left school. Harry has recently moved from residential care to supported living with us and we are using that experience to change the support we offer in these circumstances. Martin was a member of the national family forum and Waymarks Board before joining us as an Associate Family Consultant. He has a regular blog on our website and has recently had a story of discrimination towards his son on a theatre trip successfully shared in local and national newspapers and on BBC local radio.
Liz Wilson is, Dimensions Family Consultant. She represent families to make sure that your voice is being listened to and work with us to make sure that we are following best practice.
Wendy Burt, Dimensions Family Consultant.
Wendy has 2 adult sons who have additional support needs. She graduated from partners in policymaking, a leadership course for families and disabled people in 2005, this was a turning point in her life and since then she has worked tirelessly in a number of ways to empower disabled people and their families to find solutions for the challenges that life throws at them.
Wendy has many years of experience working with family carers in a person centred way. She loves the term nothing about us without us and strives to make this a reality in all she does.