Chair of Trustees
Tracy is a practicing Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) working with adults with learning disabilities. She specialises in supporting those people who can be challenging, people with autistic spectrum condition, and eating and drinking difficulties. She worked as a Specialist SLT in London before moving to the South West, where she worked in Somerset (Mendip) and now BANES. Tracy enjoys sharing stories. She lives on the edge of Bath and have a cat called Gatsby and a very large and naughty puppy called Charlie.
Ruth has worked as a volunteer with Openstorytellers since 2011 and recently became a Trustee.
She worked in Education for over forty years in a wide variety of mainstream secondary schools around the country: as an English Teacher, Head of Department, Senior Teacher and then as Deputy Head in Tower Hamlets - line managing the Special Needs and English as an Additional Language Departments, and as the Lead for Child Protection. Her last post was as Senior Lecturer in English Education on the PGCE course at Middlesex University.
Her MA is in “Emotional Factors in Learning and Teaching” through the Tavistock Clinic in London.
Her interest in listening to, telling and sharing story has been a major part of her life and work, and has been continued in her work at Openstorytellers.
She now sings, plays the piano, gardens, and is passionate about her pottery and clay modelling classes
Sue Paxton has shown an interest in Openstorytellers for some time as her sister has benefited from going to the Work Skills groups for many years. Sue joined as a trustee in July 2017.
Sue has a daughter with a disability and in 2013 opened The Pod Youth Club in Frome, so that children with disabilities could access a full staffed leisure provision outside of school and make friends whilst their family benefit from respite. Sue is now the Charity Manager of The Pod which also runs The Zone, a Young Carers club and Pod Plus a social club for 18 to 30s. Prior to Sue's work with the Pod she has previous experience in event management and was also the Project Leader for a housing association that supported adults with mental health difficulties.
"I am delighted to have been invited to join Openstorytellers as a Trustee and I am very much looking forward to establishing links between The Pod and Openstorytellers that will offer more opportunities and choice for young people and adults with disabilities"
Sue lives in Frome and can be seen walking her very noisy dog Molly! She enjoys Running, plays Badminton and when there is time to relax she loves to bury herself in a good book!
Nicola Grove founded Openstorytellers with colleagues in 2009 as a follow on from a Lottery funded project. She started life as a teacher, morphed into a speech and language therapist and is now a storyteller, researcher and trainer, and honorary Senior Lecturer at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent. Her doctoral research was on sign language use by young people with special needs, and she developed a range of curriculum resources for accessing literature (real books as opposed to simplified versions). She is the author of several books and papers on narrative and disability. www.drnicolagrove.com
Bill Palmer is the Director of the School for Experiential Education with branches in the UK and Spain. He developed an approach to physical therapy for chronic conditions and disability that emphasises a person's abilities rather focusing on their problems. He teaches postgraduate courses on this system in ten countries worldwide. In Frome he was the co-founder of Elderventure, a group that works with older people to help them maintain self-esteem and to support each other as they become older. He also was chair and co-founder of Fair Housing for Frome, a CIC whose aim is to make sure everyone in Frome has access to affordable housing. His interest as an Openstorytellers trustee is to support strategies and initiatives to create new income streams through development of social enterprises and training packages.
I am a Member of the Religious Society of Friends, (Quakers), the mother of two now adult children (and one grandchild). Before I came to live in Frome from London in 2012 I was for many years a teacher of a number of subjects, at many types of school, from primary through to secondary and finally to University (London Metropolitan).
I have authored 3 books, 1) Making Sense of Economics (with Ross Chapman, Fontana 1974); Holding the Reins (Parents, children and nannies in their search for domestic salvation, Fontana 1989) and Green Parenting (Macdonald Optima 1990). I was an elected member on Haringey Council from 2010-2014; a trustee of the Mount Community Association (Frome, 2014-16), and also, before that, responsible for the Muswell Hill Junior Friends of the Earth in association with a number of other people.
I am also on the central body of a charity called Music Camp Limited which supports musical activities in Bucks. My very first training was as a secretary; I have a degree in Economics, an PGCE in Social Studies, an MSc in transport planning (my research speciality was social transport issues). My non-work passion now is mostly music - at one time I taught music, particularly cello, in schools.
Gill qualified as a social worker and worked with children and adults with learning difficulties for 30 years.
At RNIB Multiple Disability Team and SeeAbility she provided information on eye care for adults with learning difficulties. She has written numerous leaflets and articles, and ran the Access to Eye Care Campaign. She worked with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the College of Optometry to help members develop strategies to ensure that people with learning difficulties were not denied quality eye care.
Gill’s role at RNIB also included trying to improve services for blind and partially sighted people with learning difficulties and/or complex needs.
Since leaving SeeAbility in 2008, she has worked as a supporter at People First and in a children’s eye clinic.
She has a special interest in accessible information.