Here you can find out a bit more about OxFSN’s people.
Yvonne Cox ~ Trustee & Business Development
I have worked to support children and adults with learning disability, and their families for over 35 years. During all of that time I have passionately believed in the rights of the person using the support, and the knowledge and expertise of the family as those who know the individual best.I have worked at local, regional and national levels during my career. Starting as a student nurse and specialising in the support of people with complex disabilities. For the last 15 years of my career I was Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Learning Disability NHS Trust, leading the development of that organisation’s delivery of integrated health and social care. This included the development of supported living and person-centred support for individuals, and specialist health services for people with the most complex needs. I have contributed to government policy within health and social care, and was an external advisor to the Healthcare Commission in the investigations into services both in Cornwall and later Sutton and Merton.
Having retired from the NHS, I now work part-time as an independent consultant and volunteer for a small number of organisations all of whom are user led.
Jan Roast ~ Trustee & Chairperson
The youngest of my three adult children, Gemma, has profound and complex learning difficulties. Over the years I have had many struggles on behalf of Gemma including a Judicial Review against the Local Education Authority, a Special Educational Needs Tribunal and various challenges involving Health and Social Care.
I was directly involved in supporting my daughter and another young lady to live independently in their own home. Using person centred planning and direct payments to employ a care organisation, we accomplished a successful supported living arrangement. I was also co-founder of a small charity which successfully sought to secure further education for young people with profound learning disabilities in West Oxfordshire.
I have worked as a consultant for Paradigm, a national organisation in the field of learning difficulties and now sit on the local Learning Disability Partnership Board and on the Joint Management Group. My passion is to share knowledge and experience in the hope of helping families get better lives for their sons and daughters.
Dean Cooke ~ Trustee
Dean is a teacher in the post-16 department of Frank Wise Special School (The Griffiths Centre) in Banbury where he has worked for three years, having previously been a teacher in the main school. He joined Frank Wise in 2002 after 14 years as a P.E. teacher in secondary schools in Solihull. He has always had an interest in working with children with special needs, but this was heightened when his eldest son, Robert, was born with Downs Syndrome. It has always been important to Dean to strive to get the best for his children, and this included moving to Oxfordshire to access educational opportunities not available in Solihull. He has two other children, Ben and Bronwen, and is married to Helen.
Mena Remedios ~ Trustee
Mena and her husband Clive have three children, of whom the youngest, Jamie, has learning and physical difficulties as well as a medical condition. Jamie has needed extra care since birth, and Mena has worked hard to get the right provision for Jamie from Education, Health and Social Services. She is proud of what Jamie has been able to achieve. Getting the right support for Jamie has been a struggle for her, as it is for so many parents. She does not believe it should have to be a struggle. She has found that knowledge is power, and knowing how the process works is a key issue in getting the right provision.
Mena looks forward to the time when Jamie is able to live more independently in some sort of supported living. Through helping Jamie draw up a person-centred plan, Mena learned that he wanted to go to college just like his older brother and sister. Why not? thought Mena, and she is now working through the process of getting Jamie a place at a residential specialist college. Mena is also a parent governor at Iffley Mead special school, a trustee of Oxford Mencap, and is on the board of the Children’s Integrated Therapies Reference Group.Mena and Clive helped found a house of hospitality in East Oxford called St Francis House in 1993, which is a home to asylum seekers. Mena is part of a community which strives to create a more just world and her faith is important to her.
Gail Hanrahan ~ Programme Manager
I’m mum to three adult children and my journey into the world of disability started when my son Guy was diagnosed with severe learning disabilities in 1991. Since then I’ve made it my mission to know as much as possible to make sure Guy gets the life he deserves. Like many families we’ve had our fair share of battles along the way but I’ve also learned a lot. It’s a bit of a Cliché but “knowledge is power” and it’s been very empowering.
I’m passionate about the work I do, which is all about getting a good life for people with learning disabilities by informing, inspiring and involving their families. I’m also passionate about person centred approaches and the need for everyone to see people like Guy as people first, not “special” or “disadvantaged” but a lovely young man who has the same needs and rights as everyone else. I’ve been inspired by other parents myself. Hearing their stories, finding out what they’ve achieved has helped me enormously and has shown me what is possible. I work with OxFSN in an attempt to do the same for other families.
Angeli Vaid ~ Family Advocate
I live in Oxford with my family and have three children, the youngest of whom is autistic.
I got involved with OxFSN when I did the first Family Champions course – I loved meeting other parents and learning about person centred planning. I soon found at that OxFSN parents were facing the same issue as me, wanting a good life for their children and wanting their children to help make decisions about their lives.
When I am not working with OxFSN I am a CoDirector of Oxford Arts Consultants, a community interest company which, using the arts, culture and heritage, gets children and adults involved in projects that matter to them and their communities.
Kathy Liddell ~ Family Advocate
I’m primarily a Mum to 4 young adults the youngest who was born with severe learning disabilities, autism, sensory integration disorder and dyspraxia.
We moved back to the UK when my daughter was in her teens and it was through my navigation of the complex learning disability system that I came across OxFSN. I signed up to do a Family Champion Course and learnt so much about how to support my daughter that I have become a staunch advocate of person centered planning and using it to make sure that my daughter gets to live the life she chooses and deserves – just like her older siblings.
Through OxFSN I have been able to use the knowledge I have acquired to help support other families who are facing similar situations. Being a parent of a young adult with a learning disability can be a daunting and often lonely situation to be in and I feel strongly that no one should be left to navigate the system by themselves. At OxFSN we feel every young person with a learning disability deserves to live life to the full and that this can be done if the family also has good support.
As well as working with OxFSN on the Embolden Project and Quality Checking I am also involved in several other projects including the rolling out of the Safe Place Scheme across West Oxfordshire, working on several Co-production boards with OCC to improve services within Adult Social Care, running a Facebook Page on SEN and Disabilities as well as being a parent trustee at Yellow Submarine Charity.