Meet our Trustees and President
Dyslexia Cornwall is governed by a Board of Trustees. There are 6 Trustees who have the responsibility for directing the charity’s affairs in accordance with its objects and rules as set out in the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association. The broad object of the Charity is “the relief of the needs of children, young people and adults with Dyslexia living in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly”
Barbara Hewett-Silk – Chairperson
I am delighted to have joined Dyslexia Cornwall as a Trustee and from January 2016 the chairperson.
As a dyslexic, I have experienced many of the challenges that you or your children face on a day to day basis, but I have been fortunate enough to find strategies that enabled me to qualify as a nurse, gain a master’s degree and even stand (unsuccessfully) for parliament!!!
As a charity, we are facing many challenges, due to shrinking public funding of services and the continuing pressures that educational reorganisation imposes on all who work in the sector.
As the Chairperson, I will ensure that Dyslexia Cornwall commits to providing essential advice, guidance and information and champion for proper support for dyslexics and everyone with a learning difference. To make this happen we will need your support and involvement.
Ruth Symons – Treasurer and Secretary
I first became involved with the then Cornwall Dyslexia Association back in 1995, following my son’s diagnosis of dyslexia. Initially I joined the committee but was quickly encouraged to take on the role of Secretary. I have seen the charity grow in strength and reputation, from the early days of a small group of volunteers raising awareness of dyslexia and running a Helpline, to to-day where we have a much higher profile, paid staff providing services for clients, and our volunteers who still provide support and run the Helpline.
In 2009 when our Treasurer retired, I took on this role alongside my role as Secretary. My working experience in banking and administration has given me the skills required for these posts, and my role in brief is to ensure proper records are kept and to oversee the financial affairs of the charity.
I now look forward to a positive future for Dyslexia Cornwall, building on our past experience and encompassing new projects and services to empower and support dyslexic people in Cornwall.
From a background in primary teaching, I took a specialist qualification in order to assess and teach learners with specific learning differences (Dyslexia). In 2009, I joined Dyslexia Cornwall as a volunteer at the advice centre and with the helpline. This allowed me to develop my experience by screening and giving advice and guidance to adults, including parents. I also joined their team of assessors offering professional services.
In 2014, I became a trustee so that I could take a more active part in the future planning of the new three-year project undertaken by Dyslexia Cornwall. Currently, I am involved in the development of a project to extend Dyslexia Cornwall’s services for children and their parents.
After having taught in Cornish Primary schools for fourteen years, I decided to continue my training and specialise in the teaching and assessing of dyslexic children and young people. For ten years I ran my own teaching centre in Truro working closely alongside Dyslexia Cornwall.
Great strides in raising the awareness and the understanding of dyslexia have been made in Cornwall over the past two decades and Dyslexia Cornwall has been very much part of that process.
As a Trustee I am excited about the future plans for the organisation and I am looking forward to the challenges ahead as we extend our range of services across the county.
Mel Colton-Dyer is the Chief Operating Officer for Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.
She has a wide ranging business background which started with a Directorship in Theatre-in-Education, powered through senior hospitality & work based/further education roles, working for 5 years in France for the British Council and Education Nationale and 12 years as the Business Development Manager for Truro and Penwith College, and is now firmly anchored at the heart of the business landscape supporting Cornish businesses.
She is the Chair of SMART Cornwall & Isles of Scilly and the Cornwall Business Support Delivery Board, a trustee of iSight Cornwall, on the Board of Cornwall Young Enterprise and represents private enterprise on the Local Enterprise Partnership Employment and Skills Board amongst other strategic activities.
Mel specialises in marketing, innovation, funding and change management.
Sarah Wright – President
I am a founder member of the Dyslexia Cornwall having helped start the charity in 1991. On my retirement in 2015 I was delighted to be offered the post of President of the charity as it enables me to stay closely involved with Dyslexia Cornwall and the new developments.
I am absolutely passionate about the need to help others better understand dyslexia. Throughout my life I have promoted the many positive aspects of dyslexia and fought against the difficulties children face in our current education system and adults face in the workplace and wider society.
My background is as a nurse having trained in London in the 1970s. I ended up specialising in paediatrics and was staff nurse and then acting sister on the children’s ward at Musgrove Park Hospital. Unfortunately, in 1980 I had to give up my career in nursing due to a spinal injury. Since that time I haven’t been able to work, but this has had the bonus of giving me plenty of time to concentrate on dyslexia and the other volunteering activities I have been involved with!
I am married to a dyslexic and have two dyslexic daughters now with their own young children. Over the years I’ve gathered a wealth of knowledge and experience of dyslexia and have been proud to be part of setting up many new initiatives in Cornwall. I am now using this knowledge and experience to volunteer as an adviser at the Dyslexia Advice Centre.