Bethan and her son Jac smile at each other

“Being a parent of a disabled child changes your outlook on life”

This Trustees’ Week, we spoke to Bethan Skyrme, a governor of Scope school, Craig Y Parc, and Celia Atherton, a Scope trustee. They talk about how and why they’re using their skills and time to support Scope.

Bethan

My son, Jac, is disabled and has been attending Craig Y Parc School in Cardiff since he was 17 weeks old. He’s now nearly 15, so it’s been a big part of our lives for a long time. Craig Y Parc helps disabled children to develop skills and realise their potential in a safe and supportive environment.

Bethan and her son Jac smile for the camera
Bethan and her son Jac

Jac originally started at Craig Y Parc for half an hour a week, and became full time when he was three years old. He also now attends a local secondary school one day a week. It really has given him the best start in life, and he wouldn’t be the person he is today without it. Being involved with Craig Y Parc has helped to make me stronger and more confident too.

I’m well known at the school and three years ago was approached to volunteer as a school governor. I was surprised and honoured to be asked and definitely wanted to get involved and to give something back. I’ve just finished my first three year term as a governor and have been asked to stay on for another three, which I am very much looking forward to.

In my day job, I work for Estyn, the body responsible for inspecting schools in Wales. I’ve been able to use the skills and knowledge gained in my professional role to support Craig Y Parc as a governor. This came in particularly handy when we went through our inspection, and ensured we had all the relevant documents in order.

I have a busy life, but I’m organised and make sure we have a set routine at home. This helps to make sure I can fit everything in. As well as being a school governor, I also volunteer with a charity that supports homeless people in Cardiff. I help them move in to permanent accommodation and support them during the transition. Being a parent of a disabled child really does change your outlook on life. It makes you see the world differently and I’m glad that I’m able to give something back to the community and to Craig Y Parc.

Celia

Celia and Scope supporter Nicolas McCarthy
Celia and Scope supporter Nicolas McCarthy

I originally heard about Scope through my work in social justice with disabled children and their families. Three years ago I heard there was a vacancy for a new trustee, and this seemed like a great way to get involved with Scope’s work.

I was really interested in the role as I knew that being a trustee would allow me to work to plan the future of the organisation. I hadn’t been a trustee before, but decided to apply and was thrilled to be offered the role.

Becoming a trustee has really opened my eyes to what we can achieve. All Scope trustees are volunteers. All volunteers at Scope are equal, whether they are based in a shop, a service, at head office, or volunteer remotely. We are all working to push our society to be one where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Being a volunteer, I ensure that I’m an ambassador for Scope. I have visited Scope services and shops to see the varied work we do, and talk about Scope’s ambitions and work wherever I go. I have taken part in Ride London twice to raise funds and awareness for the work Scope does.

I love meeting disabled people and their families who have benefited from Scope’s work. They are a great testament to what we are doing to make the country a better place for disabled people. It’s great that Scope works to support all disabled people, and that we have such a wide reach across all areas of disability.

Since taking on this role, I have now become a trustee for two other charities as well. I really enjoy the way being a trustee allows me to give something back. I like to be busy and am able to juggle volunteering with my other commitments. If you are interested in helping to create the strategy that directs an organisation, or if want to develop your skills, being a trustee is definitely for you. Whatever your age or background, volunteering as a trustee is a great way to make a difference.

If you’re feeling inspired by Bethan and Celia, take a look at our volunteering opportunities.

Find out more about Scope school, Craig Y Parc.

Read more about Trustees’ Week and how you can get involved.