Our First Trustees
Our launch event on Tuesday 6 October 2015 held at the Middlesbrough Hotel and our First Trustees, Jan Rock, Ann Dale and Dr Maeve O'Sullivan.
Jan Rock - Founder & Chair
Jan worked in local government for 22 years, mainly in European and domestic funding programmes aimed at physical, social and economic regeneration, Her skills include: Strategic Planning, Public Sector Administration, Problem Solving, Project Management, Business Case Authoring, Fundraising and Bid Writing.
In 2010 her son had a terrible accident, which opened her eyes to a world of inequality she didn't know existed. Post discharge her family experienced first-hand the lack of knowledge, help and support that is available to child brain injury families; so Jan and her husband undertook lots of research and developed an innovative approach to neuro-rehabilitation therapy that delivered significant positive outcomes for their son. This later drove her to found MATRIX Neurological as a registered charity.
She said: "In founding this charity my passion now is to share our experiences to help improve the provision of services for children and young people who have sustained an acquired brain injury (ABI) and support their families to ensure they are able to access the help and support they are entitled to."
Since founding MATRIX Neurological, Jan has spoken at many conferences about childhood acquired brain injury. She delivers brain injury awareness training from the 'lived-experience' perspective to a range of professionals and agencies. She also regularly undertakes Continuous Professional Development Training with professionals to keep abreast of new developments and current practice in paediatric neuro-rehabilitation, that is then shared with the families the charity helps.
Finally Jan currently oversees the production of the charity's financial records that are reported to the Board of Trustees at each meeting.
Iona Leigh-Jones - Secretary to the Board of Trustees
Iona is a Police Officer with over 20 years experience. She has spent many years as a detective, involved in safeguarding for Cleveland Police.
Iona is passionate about protecting vulnerable people, working closely with other agencies in the pubic and private sector, to achieve the best outcomes for children and adults in need.
As a keen runner she is involved in a community running group in Middlesbrough. Iona first met Callum Rock after his accident and is proud to have been involved when he ran in a 5 mile road race with the group raising in excess of £1,200 for the Great North Air Ambulance.
Iona has been a School Governor, championing the importance of bespoke education plans for young people with acquired brain injuries.
"I understand the importance of standing up for people, challenging policies where they are not fit for an individual or making sure there is a policy in place to cater for all. I will bring my experience and energy to support the fantastic work that Matrix Neurological is doing for young people and their families."
We invited Iona to be a Trustee because of her diverse skills mix, community knowledge and professional experience, She will take the lead on Child Safeguarding on behalf of the charity.
Danny Kay - Trustee
Danny Kay became a Trustee for us in May 2018.
Danny is an experienced IT Professional who has managed and delivered large scale software development projects for some major national and international companies. He is also the Managing Director of an IT and Software Development Consultancy. As such he brings a wealth of project management, business management and high level IT skills to the charity.
In his work-life, Danny is also a part-time Lecturer at Teesside University where he teaches 2nd and 3rd Year Degree students.
In his spare time, he is also studying an MSC in Computer Networks and Security and a degree in Counselling.
Danny said about joining MATRIX Neurological:
"I believe strongly in the charities aims and objectives and the quest for fair treatment both for young people living with acquired brain injuries and their families. I find the lack of support and knowledgeable help for these children and their families to be a huge concern and wish to help by contributing my skills as a Trustee."
Danny previously volunteered a few hours a week for us, during which time he learned more about our work and the plight of the families we help. We are delighted he has decided to join us as a Trustee.
Paul is a Financial Planning Manager with a National Insurance Company and manages a team of financial advisers across the North East and North West of England. He has almost 30 years professional experience in helping businesses develop and prosper, exit strategy planning and helping people with succession planning.
Paul joined us in January 2019 as a Parent Trustee.
We asked Paul why he wanted to volunteer his time for us, and he said:
"My first interaction with MATRIX Neurological came as a result of a family member having an ABI. This was triggered by the lack of support, guidance and assistance provided to us by the NHS after the brain injury. The relief we experienced after contacting MATRIX was priceless! Before then we had been left in the Wilderness, looking for answers and trying to understand our son's complex condition.
As a consequence of the fantastic help we received, I was determined to help others who find themselves in similar unfortunate situations, so I approached MATRIX to offer my services and became a Parent Trustee."
Paul not only brings a range of valuable professional skills to the Board, but his 'lived experience' of ABI also provides even more insight into the needs of brain injured children and young people and their families, that will guide and influence the development of new services.
Reece joined us in March 2019 after doing some professional volunteering for us. He has been aware of the charity and what we do for some time. He has a degree in Psychology and a professional background both in community and education rehabilitation support and has worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors. His skills include: service planning and delivery, critical analysis, operations management and strategic planning.
Reece is a qualified teacher and is currently Curriculum Team Leader for a Health and Social Care Department in an FE college, and lectures within further and higher education establishments. He has also worked as a paid Research Assistant in a university.
Reece said about joining our Trustee Board:
"I have a strong interest in education, mental health and learning disability. I believe in 'enablement' and finding creative solutions to complex problems that overcome barriers. I am also acutely aware of the lack of rehabilitative support services for brain injured people in the UK. This has been the driving force behind me joining MATRIX as a Trustee."
In his spare time Reece enjoys regular trips exploring the UK and Canoeing. We think he will be a huge asset to MATRIX in supporting the expansion and development of some exciting new services.