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Alan Pockley new board member at Grace House

Grace House has appointed an 'inspirational' new board member

27 August 2015

Alan Pockley, 30, of South Shields, accepted the invitation of David Cook, Chair of the Board at the respite facility for children and young people with complex care needs. Alan, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a muscle-wasting disease, has long been involved with Grace House: "I suppose I've been involved since it first started. My mum and dad were among the first fundraisers and I would go along with them and help where I could."

Alan said he was delighted to have been asked to join the board and enjoyed his first board meeting: “I think I can offer so much first-hand experience of what life is like when you’re suffering from a disability. I know how places like Grace House work and the difference they can make in people’s lives.

“I also know what people need because I’ve been there and done that,” said Alan, who lost the use of his legs aged five and now gets around using a specially-adapted wheelchair.

“I’m really looking forward to getting more involved in what I know will be an important facility for both Sunderland and the wider region. It’s a really exciting time to be joining the board, with Grace House just about to open.

“Everyone at Grace House has been so helpful and I know how dedicated they are, and how hard they work. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do more for them, because I could see how dedicated they are and how much they care,” added Alan, a lifelong SAFC supporter.

David Cook said he was delighted Alan had joined the board: “He’s an intelligent, inspirational, independent and charming young man who I know will be a huge asset to the board. His experiences will provide an invaluable insight and the board and Grace House staff appreciate how much we can learn from him.

“He’s an engaging personality; a courageously positive battler who can lift your spirits after only a few moments in his company.”

Chief Executive Officer of Grace House, Dr Karen Parry, said: “Alan is well-known to us at Grace House and has long been involved with the charity. I look forward to the key role he’ll play in our vision of making Grace House a regional centre of excellence.

All preparations to open Grace House are now complete and once Ofsted have inspected and registered the service, the first families will begin to make use of the fantastic facility. It will offer specialist short breaks to young people with complex disabilities, health needs and life limiting conditions, enabling them to have the time of their lives while their families get a much needed break from caring.

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