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.
As an adult with dyslexia, I really value the support and guidance I had as a child. I was assessed for dyslexia when I was 12 years old. At this point I was relieved to be given an explanation to why I had had difficulties through my primary school life.
Now as an adult I understand and can reflect on the full impact that dyslexia has had and still has on my life. For me dyslexia presents as struggles with timekeeping and organisation, writing assignments and note-taking. Dyslexia can even present with difficulties with managing my family life. However, dyslexia has also shaped who I am. I always understood that because of my dyslexia I would need to work a little harder than others. I had to become resilient and be patient. I had to be determined to reach an outcome that I knew I was capable but others may not have believed me capable of.
After leaving school I went to university. I studied for a degree in photography. Later going on to qualify as a Secondary Art and Design Teacher. I worked in schools in Nottingham and Bristol.
I started volunteering at Dyslexia Cornwall because I have always been so grateful for any support I received. As a teacher, I have witnessed the positive impact the correct support can have on a pupil. I feel passionately that this support should be available for all.
I am now a Trustee and feel proud to be a part of Dyslexia Cornwall. This is a position that I value highly. It has strengthened my determination to help support others by raising awareness of dyslexia. I relish the opportunity of being able to support a child or adult who has dyslexia and enabling them to find their strengths as well as overcome any difficulties.
I am a Speech and Language Therapist and Dyslexia Specialist. I have worked in mainstream schools in Cornwall for 20 years, as part of the NHS service and independently. I am currently employed by Kernow Learning Multi-Academy Trust. I lead for Speech Language and Communication needs (SLCN), including for pupils with English as an Additional Language, across the Trust. I also run my own private practice, Kernow Communication Therapy offering speech and language therapy and literacy assessments for children. I am passionate about supporting children and young people who experience SLCN and literacy difficulties. I am looking forward to working with Dyslexia Cornwall and being involved in the great work they do across Cornwall.
I have worked in education for 40 years as a teacher, SENCO and Local Authority adviser. From the beginning of my career I had a passion for inclusion and achieved an MA in SEN and postgraduate diploma in assessing and teaching children with specific learning difficulties. This led to me becoming a secondary SENCO which included the running of a speech and language unit. I stayed there 7 years before becoming a senior leader (responsible for inclusion) and SENCO in a different secondary school. This school was very inclusive and 5 years later I became the coordinator of the Essex Inclusion Project.
I moved to Cornwall 20 years ago and began working as a Dyslexia Adviser for the Local Authority. At this time, I began to build strong links with Dyslexia Cornwall. Together they devised the Cornwall Inclusive, Dyslexia Friendly Schools award which continues to this day. I retired last year but before this I was the Local Authority Cognition and Learning Service lead. Myself and some of my family have dyslexia but we have always focused on our resultant creativity and have built on our strengths. I continues to feel passionately that people with dyslexia should have their needs met, their strengths celebrated and are totally included in society.
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.