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Trustees

Croydon’s Mental Health Service User Group
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 Chief 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

Abeline Greene (Acting Chair)

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 into employment, and where I first heard about Hear Us.

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. This has included working with mental health services in Croydon and Lewisham, SLaM/ CMHT, other third sector providers and the CCG.

 

At Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich Mind, I managed a team of advisors to support people with mental health issues to manage their mental health. I went on to become 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. Where I continued to support people with issues affecting their mental health and raised mental health awareness amongst the minority communities in Lewisham.

I am now the Service Manager for the Personal Independence Coordinator Service at Age UK Croydon which provides critical links between health and social care services and wider community support networks, helping people feel more in control of their own health and wellbeing.

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 m0odel in every borough.

The pandemic has revealed even more need for us to be active in working for safe and supportive methods of communication in order to continue the vital input Hear-Us has had with mental health services, and to adapt to ongoing changes and challenges brought about by this unprecedented situation.

None of us should be defined by mental illness and I am honoured to continue as a Trustee and vice-chair working with my colleagues to support and give a voice to all service users in Croydon.

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.

Jackie Ashton

I have worked in the field of adult education for over twenty five years and during that time I have been privileged to support a large number of adults with a range of difficulties, many of them related to mental health. I have seen how a lack of mental health support has often hindered their educational progress and destroyed their confidence and self-belief.

My own family has also been touched by mental health issues and I have witnessed the enormous challenges this brings. On the other hand, I have seen what a tremendous difference getting the right support can make to someone’s life.

These experiences have made me want to contribute some of my time and in some way ‘give back’ for the support my family have received. I have been aware of the work that Hear Us do for several years now and I know that the team works tirelessly to provide support to those who need it. I hope that I can add to that by becoming a trustee.

Josh Baker-Mendoza

Having become a trustee in 2020 I’m arrived in a moment of great, collective mental stress and even as we finally start to emerge back into normality, I believe it’s clear 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. 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!

Niall McVeigh

When my partner was an inpatient on mental health wards in 2015, I was shocked and dismayed at the standard of treatment offered to people experiencing a mental health crisis. I have also experienced anxiety and depression myself, and feel that as a society we don’t always support people properly to tackle these issues, or confront the practical problems that can impact our collective mental health. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic, where it feels like vulnerable people have been pushed aside.

I have seen the great work that Hear Us is doing in south London, representing service users, offering practical support and making sure people’s voices are heard. I would like to play my part in what I feel is a very important time where mental health should be much more widely and openly discussed. I have worked to support vulnerable individuals and families in previous roles, and currently work in the media – I would like to use the experience and platform I have to speak up for people being let down, either in hospital or in the community.

Ruth Govan

I have suffered from bipolar for decades and I have been sectioned, and hospitalised on many occasions

I landed in Holloway prison once when I was ill and then to be shipped out to the Bethlem when it was realised

This lifetime experience puts me in touch with the experiences of our members

As a Trustee, I have put to use what has happened to me to benefit members

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’