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Trustees

Hear Us / About Us / Trustees

Hear Us has been running since 4th October 2001 as a not for profit organisation in Croydon and on 15th April 2010 the Management Committee registered Hear Us with the Charity Commission for charity status (No. 1135535) to give Hear Us a more independent and stronger voice in the community.

Management
The constitution in the original form was adopted by resolution at the AGM held on the 27th May 2004. Amendments to the constitution were adopted by resolution at the EGM held on 1st July 2008.

The Management Committee are the Trustee Group and are listed on page 5 of the Annual Report 2009/10. They include a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and the Cheif Executive Officer Tim Oldham. The Committee has the power to co-opt members as and when they deem it necessary. The Trustee Group is responsible for the day to day running of Hear Us and has a responsibility to report to the funders, charity commission and other stakeholders whenever the need arises.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

  1. To relieve the needs of people living in the London Borough of Croydon and surrounding areas who have mental health problems by the provision of services and advice
  2. To advance education about mental health for the public benefit in the London borough of Croydon and surrounding areas with the object of creating awareness and reducing the stigma attached to mental health

Angela Mitchell (Chair)

I became Interim Chair in November 2018 I then became Chair of Hear Us in November 2019 and felt extremely honoured to take on this role. It has been a great opportunity for me to step up into a leadership role of a truly outstanding organisation. I live in Croydon and first heard about Hear Us through my work with London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust as a Service User Involvement in Training & Education Manager, where I have been working for the last 12 years.  

I left my teaching job when I became too stressed to work and it was then that I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar. I have been living with mental health problems for many years and for a lot of the time I kept my mental health problems a secret, feeling ashamed. It is real comfort knowing that there is an organisation that is so dedicated to tackling stigma and giving a voice to those who need it, as I did and still do. 

I have also worked in the voluntary sector for Mind in West London and I hope that my personal experience and the skills I have gained from working in mental health for the past 20 years will mean that I can support Hear Us to not only continue but to develop and to thrive. 

Abeline Greene (Secretary) 

After 20 years working in the customer service industry involved in project implementation, project management and account management I took redundancy, and used the opportunity to take my passion for helping people in a completely new direction by working for Mind in Croydon, where I supported people with severe and enduring mental health issues back in to employment, and where I first heard about Hear Us. In 2018, I moved to Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich Mind where I managed a team of advisors to support people with mental health issues to manage their mental health.  

I am now the Community Wellbeing Engagement Manager and Senior Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) Mental health Wellbeing Advisor for Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN), working in partnership with Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich Mind and Sydenham Garden to deliver the Lewisham Community Wellbeing Adult Mental Health Service. Since joining LRMN in April 2019, I have been supporting people with issues affecting their mental health and raising mental health awareness amongst the minority communities in Lewisham. 

I have over 10 years’ experience supporting people with the whole range of mental conditions such as depression and anxiety, self-harm as well as diagnoses such as bipolar and schizophrenia – many of the people have severe and enduring mental health problems. I have dealt with crisis situations and safeguarding issues, confidentiality issues, health and safety. This has included working with mental health services in Croydon and Lewisham, SLaM/ CMHT, other third sector providers and the CCG. I am passionate about well-being, supporting people to feel listened to and enabling them to be part of managing their own mental health. I joined Hear Us as a trustee in December 2018 and became Secretary September 2020.

Cassandra Austin

I have complex PTSD following abuse, but also I come from a medical background in which I thrived.

Through my own experience as a Trade’s Unionist whilst working as a nurse in central London, joining with many colleagues to fight hospital closures, and protecting those working in the profession, I have found I can speak up for others in similar circumstances, who don’t have the experiences I have had.

I have gained strength, friendship, acceptance, knowledge and humility from volunteering for Hear Us and the Reachout Challenge, and that has allowed me to contribute what I can and understand that together we are strong.

I became a Trustee for Hear Us because I could see the need for the voice that it gives to all of us service users. The ongoing effect of our Linkworking project, Reachout events and our forums shows that we need this model in every borough.

None of us should be defined by mental illness and I would like to stand again as a Trustee to continue to work with my colleagues to support and give a voice to all service users in Croydon

Karen Grayson

My career and my personal motivation focusses on policy and strategy to promote equality and human rights. I worked at the Equality and Human Rights Commission for 13 years, on issues including access to justice, violence against women and girls, and decision-making in the social security system. I now have a role in equity, diversity and inclusion at Citizens Advice.

I have bipolar disorder and identify as a disabled person. I’ve experienced significant periods of mental distress but luckily I have had good health for a number of years. 

As a Croydon resident, I am proud to be part of Hear Us – the organisation makes an enormous difference to the lives of people in my community and stands up for the rights of people with mental health impairments.

Jonathan Weller (Treasurer)

I joined Hear Us and became a Linkworker with this service users’ mental health charity in May 2016. Since that time, I learned how valuable an organisation like Hear Us is for people with mental health difficulties. I feel it listens, educates and informs. As a result, I have since volunteered occasionally with the Reach Out project and attended police training sessions at Hendon where I have talked openly about my mental health diagnosis and subsequent life journey managing my condition.

I have been a trustee now for just over two years and since just before the Covid-19 lockdown have now taken on the additional responsibility of managing the Hear Us accounts as treasurer for the time-being.

Josh Baker-Mendoza

As a new trustee in 2020 I’m acutely aware I arrive at a moment of great, collective mental stress and believe the services Hear Us provides are more important now than ever. Although I’ve never worked within healthcare, I have long been an advocate for the tolerance and understanding I believe we need to cope with mental illness and have huge a huge amount optimism that within my generation and those below that understanding is becoming the norm. But there is still much work to do.

I wanted to join Hear Us because a few years ago a close family member went through an episode of psychosis. We as a family struggled to know what to do and how to cope with little information available and no obvious plan of action we could follow. So, it is my personal mission whilst here to not only continue the fantastic work Hear Us already does, but to advocate for the family, friends and close contacts of service users so that not only do we arrive at a place of understanding and challenge the remaining stigma of mental illness, but we also know what we can do to help those in need.

Covid has thus far denied me much of a chance to get stuck in to the work on the ground. As a freelance filmmaker by trade, I hope and expect that I will have the opportunity to help boost Hear Us in ways that may not have been possible before and amplify the voices and stories of service users and those around them, as well as really showcase the amazing work that Hear Us does. I look forward to the work that is to come (and getting to meet my colleagues in real life!).

Ruth Govan

I have served as Chair of Trustees for over ten years.  Last year I had a lengthy breakdown first at the Bethlehem and then at the Maudsley. This was not an enjoyable time at all. 

 

The Linkworkers at the Bethlehem were excellent. The whole experience put me back in touch with what members go through. Hopefully This will help me serve again with the Trustees

Could you be a Trustee with Hear Us

We are currently looking for New Trustees to ‘Help Us Reinvent The Universe Or At Least Our Part Of It’