Who we are?
Gill Peate Board Member
I joined the Disability Information Bureau in 2015 after moving to Macclesfield with my job. I work as a solicitor dealing with cases involving Clinical Negligence and Serious Personal Injury.
Prior to qualifying as a Solicitor, I trained as a Nurse and worked as a Ward Sister at Withington Hospital. Both professions have helped me to appreciate the many hurdles experienced by our clients at the DIB. I am married with 2 children and enjoy cycling, hill walking and travel.
Ruth Brocklehurst Acting Chairperson
My first association with the DIB was in 2010 when I began volunteering at the Macclesfield office. The following year I was delighted to be offered the position of Supervisor and Volunteer Support Coordinator at our Congleton branch where I worked until its closure in 2016.
With a background in foreign languages, I held a variety of management positions during my working life. From Parker Pen International via the Egon Ronay Organisation to the Berlin Headquarters of the British Army where I organised worldwide press accreditation for several Royal Visits and the Berlin Tattoo.
I ran a small childcare agency for many years and served as a school governor where I chaired the personnel committee.
However, at no point in my career have I experienced a working environment as welcoming and supportive as that of the DIB, which continues to provide a unique, non-judgemental atmosphere where both volunteers and staff thrive and gain confidence.
It is precisely this day-to-day working culture which informs our vision of a fair and inclusive society where no one is disadvantaged, and everyone can achieve their full potential. I am proud to be connected with the Bureau.
Michelle Simpson Trustee
I have been aware of DIB for some years, DSN’s Macclesfield office and DIB’s office are next to each other.
In September 2021, I had the opportunity to become a Trustee. The staff, trustees and volunteers, are warm, friendly, and welcoming.
I have worked for Deafness Support Network (DSN) for 18 years, but in Deafness for the past 36 years, when I landed a part time administrator role for AIDS Ahead, A Health, Education and Advice for Deaf People. This led me into becoming a qualified Counsellor/Psychotherapist, providing direct therapy for the Deaf and Deaf/Blind Community. At the time Deaf people were unable to get counselling in their first and preferred language of British Sign Language (BSL), this was quite ground-breaking back in the 1980’s.
I currently, work for DSN as the Executive responsible for the Supported Living Services, Day Services, and the Communication Team.
I love working within the Deaf community, BSL is a beautiful and expressive language and it is an honour to be able to converse with the Deaf community using their language. I have had some amazing experiences working within the Deaf community, including, having the honour to being invited to the Queens Garden Party, and the opportunity to meet her, and Prince Philip, I was also privileged to meet Princess Diana on many occasions, all when I worked for The British Deaf Association as Princess Diana was the Parton of the BDA at the time.
Dominic Lisle Volunteer Board Representative
I have been a volunteer at the DIB for 8 years now. I had a history of alcohol issues that badly effected my life. I am proud to say that I have been sober for 14 years and still attend AA meetings which keeps me in check. Volunteering at the DIB has helped me in numerous ways, giving me confidence making new friends and ensuring the DIB is a happy and fun place to volunteer. I have had so much help from the alcohol services and from Adullam housing it is very rewarding for me to give my help to the community. I am the volunteer representative on the Board and I enjoy helping the DIB with their fundraising efforts. I can say it is a pleasure to volunteer at the DIB and I appreciate Averil and the staff for helping me achieve my goal.
Anne Preece Trustee
As both a newcomer to Macclesfield and newly disabled, I called in at DIB in April 1995. Everyone was so welcoming and helpful that I became a volunteer. At the time we offered welfare benefits advice and general information on disability issues.
In time we set up DIB as a charity and so I became a Trustee. We were determined to retain a service for disabled people in our area.
We continued opening 3 days per week 10 to 3pm. We gradually increased the number of volunteers and decided to open 5 days per week and had two successful Lottery bids. We employed a manager paid staff, enabling DIB to offer additional services including computer training.
The staff and volunteer team grew and we now offer a wide range of opportunities including, various learning projects and preparing people for employment placements. We also run Shopmobility on behalf of CEC.
Working with DIB has given me back my confidence, and I have seen this happen to volunteers, staff and our clients. It has also shown me how much disabled people can do for themselves and also give back to the community. Being involved with DIB has been an enjoyable learning experience.
Andrew Richards Treasurer
Andrew joined the Board of Trustees in November 2020 and is now the Honorary Treasurer. Andrew spent most of his career working in the private hospital industry in the finance department, managing the accounts function in several hospitals. The last part of his working life was spent undertaking variety of financial interim management contracts in several organisations. He is also a Trustee of The Rossendale Trust. Andrew was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis approximately four years ago, having been suffering from it for over ten years. It was mis-diagnosed ten years earlier and now causes him some mobility issues.
Averil Goodier Chief Executive Officer
I joined the DIB in 2012 and I was so pleased to be offered the role in the capacity of “Employment Related Advisor”. Over the past several years my role has varied to fit the needs of the business and throughout my time at the DIB I have had the opportunity to support many vulnerable people with employment and training related support. I have over 25 years, experience working within the Welfare to Work Sector and with my understanding and knowledge I am able to support individuals with complex needs that are challenging but very rewarding, especially when they achieve even the smallest of goals which enables them to become more independent and informed.
The DIB is very welcoming, all the staff and volunteers are both professional and friendly which makes me proud to be part of such a positive organisation especially since becoming the Chief Executive Officer in July 2020. The role of CEO has enabled me to work with the staff and Trustees to find innovative ways to support local disabled people by knowing the team will offer excellent information, advice, guidance, training and employability options all of which enables individuals to become more independent, have more choice and control, have a voice and feel that their health & wellbeing has improved. We want to encourage individuals to become more digitally inclusive and enhance everyone's communication links for many other services that could be available for them.
Leanne Lake Employment Mentor and HR and Finance
I have worked at the DIB now for 10 years.
I joined in 2009 , initially as a volunteer, and was fortunate enough to be recruited to the role of Employment Advisor. I have gone on to do a few roles now and I really enjoy the variety of things. No two days are the same. I love to work at DIB as it gives me purpose and I know that as a team we have made a difference to the lives of people within the community. I can honestly say I have never enjoyed working some where as much as I do here.
Kwok Wei-Wan IT Tutor and Coordinator
I have had various roles within the DIB and I started as a volunteer IT tutor since 2011. I began with 1 to 1 learners to reach their personal goals and to be more confident in using computers and technology. The DIB is a wonderful place for learners, volunteers and staff alike. We have a welcoming environment that fosters potential and opportunity for growth. By giving my time to the DIB, I developed my own style of teaching that’s practical and accessible. My experiences have been absorbing and fulfilling since joining the staff in 2014. Together with staff and volunteers, we have overcome countless challenges facing vulnerable people and provided them with the confidence to progress and lead independent lives.
Gary Lord Welfare Rights Advisor
Definitely the best place I have worked at! I first came to DIB in 2010. I had just left a job and was looking for something to do while I looked for a part-time job. I looked at one or two other places before I came to DIB but none of them really made an impression on me. However, DIB seemed welcoming and interesting. On meeting Laura and other staff and volunteers I decided I would like to volunteer here for a day a week whilst I looked for a job. I can tell you it was a very good decision and one I have never regretted. I started sitting in doing DLA and ESA forms with a wonderful person called Anne. She showed me the ropes. Sue Yates was also great and gave me a good introduction to DIB and all the services.
DIB impressed me because there seemed to be a genuine concern for people and was run by dedicated staff and volunteers. It also seemed to have a nice combination of professionalism with informality. Shortly after this I got a part-time job but decided to dedicate a day at week to DIB on the days I wasn’t working. Everything went swimmingly for about 2 years until a vacancy arose in the Welfare Rights Team. I initially did not apply for it because it didn’t fit I with my other role. However, I asked if DIB would consider reducing the hours, so I could dovetail this with my part-time job. This they were prepared to do, I got the job and the rest is history. It all turned out well because for the other half of the job they employed an experienced Welfare Rights worker (my colleague John Ball) which was useful for sharing the workload.
DIB has been great, has allowed for a great deal of professional development and has allowed me to meet lots of interesting people, both staff and volunteers (and not forgetting our clients). It is an organisation that this year has received long-overdue recognition, winning the Gold Winner award as charity of the year 2018. Dib has continued through some difficult times recently but has kept going providing a useful service to the people of Macclesfield and beyond. If I do eventually leave I will have great memories of working here. You can’t always say that about places you have worked at.
Anna Berwick New Leaf Administrator
I joined the Disability Information Bureau in 2016 as a reception volunteer. After six months I got an opportunity to join the New Leaf Team and could not believe my luck! I love to work for DIB. I feel like I am a part of something special, meaningful, that makes the real difference to people who need support and very often can’t get it anywhere else. I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity and the all the support that I have personally received from DIB’s staff and volunteers. I have met a lot of fantastic, passionate people that made a big impact on my life.
Jacqui Kendall Shopmobility Officer
I first came to DIB in 2012, as I needed their help filling in forms and I have been receiving there help ever since. They have helped me to gain IT skills and a teaching certificate allowing me to pass on a different skills and help other people to show their talent. I love the fact that the DIB want me but really its them that I need.