When suffering with a breakdown, I was mentored into a Creative Writing course. The idea of meeting people or taking part in activities was daunting, but with small steps, I rediscovered my writing skills and found this was aiding my recovery. This helped me gain confidence, become involved in community projects and expand my qualifications; eventually becoming a Support Tutor for the WEA. As an Ambassador, I would like to share my experiences to encourage potential students to try a course.
I am a learner, member and volunteer of the WEA and since January 2012, I have been a member of the North West committee. I was awarded ‘Volunteer of the Year’ in 2012 after becoming involved in the Just the Ticket programme. As a trustee of a rough sleepers charity and director of a social housing trust, I have been able to spread the word about courses and recruit new learners.
Before retiring, I was the Area Director for HM Courts Service for Cheshire and Merseyside. After retirement I worked as a non-executive director in the NHS, serving as Vice-Chair of Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation Trust and more recently as the Chair of St Helens NHS Clinical Commissioning Group. I Chair the Safeguarding Adults Board in Cheshire West and Chester and the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Fitness to Practice panel. I am also a governor of a large comprehensive school.
In 2002, Sean, my brother, set up two annual prizes in my Mum’s name – Olive Cordell. I have been stunned and humbled by the commitment, drive and quality of the winners, usually against huge odds. I was a teacher for 10 years and still do work as a trainer. As a deaf person, I observe the terrible impact of the high levels of inequality that we have in the UK. Reducing this inequality is my top priority.
I started professional life as a WEA tutor and have always supported continuous education. I am currently on the North West regional committee. I have a rewarding professional life thanks to the kind of people who make up the WEA.
I have been aware of the WEA for many years, attending numerous events. I have supported classes to access curriculum enrichment activities in Merseyside employers and in Trade Unions. As an employment lawyer with extensive networks and contacts in law and Trade Union employers, I believe I have valuable connections for the WEA. I will promote the WEA by speaking about my role at conferences in the community.