Development Officer appointment set to reach out to people in rural communities
National charity The British Polio Fellowship has announced the appointment of a new Development Officer for the South West of England region. Rebecca Colpus joins the charity with over 20 years’ experience in the third sector with a brief to expand and develop on the charity’s existing services in the region and reach out to those members in rural communities.
Rebecca’s selection comes on the heels of the appointment of Tara Anderson in Scotland and both job roles underscore The British Polio Fellowship’s commitment to addressing the needs of members in all parts of the country or who may find it difficult to attend a local branch.
“Rebecca will doubtless prove a valuable asset in the South West and I am delighted on behalf of everyone at the charity to welcome Rebecca to the team,” said Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “Polio and Post Polio Syndrome affects 120,000 people in the UK and it is all too easy for those members in outlying areas to feel isolated. The appointment of Tara and now Rebecca demonstrates our determination to reach out to all our members who need us. As a charity we are resolved that Polio and PPS must not be forgotten and neither should our members.”
Rebecca brings considerable experience in the third sector to the role of Development Officer. Having recently worked with Caritas Care developing practical support for those with hearing loss, Rebecca has also served as a manager with the Alzheimer’s Society, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Age Concern (now Age UK). Much of this work centred on the rural areas of Cumbria and Mid Wales, so the rural South West will hold no surprises for Rebecca, who is used to getting out and about.
“I am very excited to be joining The British Polio Fellowship and looking forward to being a part of the team,” said Rebecca Colpus, the new Development Officer for the South West when commenting on her appointment. “The South West region is quite isolated, so my experiences of the issues surrounding rural living will prove useful in this new post. There’s lots of scope to develop services to meet the identified needs of people living with Polio and PPS and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
As a first task, Rebecca is already in the process of carrying out a survey of members in the South West to identify their needs. As part of this, Rebecca has also been busy meeting existing branches and groups in the region and promoting The British Polio Fellowship more generally. As part of this process, Rebecca attended the recent British Polio Fellowship AGM in Cardiff, meeting with CEO Ted Hill and the charity’s newly elected trustees.
“I have already started getting out meeting and communicating with members in Bristol and Exeter, which has been an important first step,” added Rebecca.
“The next step in the short term is to complete the member survey. Once complete, that will inform our longer term objectives. It’s a new challenge for me, but many of the aims remain constant. We want to ensure no one is left out of the process, that everyone is on board and that no-one needs to feel isolated. Not everyone knows we are here and ready to help and part of my job will be to promote that message throughout the region.”
Rebecca has already hit the ground running. In addition to her survey work, meeting members and attending the AGM, Rebecca has also been developing other printed materials for the South West, so the message on Polio and PPS can be got out to members not just through the usual channels, but through GP surgeries and other local community centres.
“Not everyone is on email or uses a phone and we know there are people still living with Polio and PPS who may not be members and may not know The British Polio Fellowship is here to help them and one of my jobs is to change that,” added Rebecca. “We are of course reaching out with modern forms of communication, but sometimes the old ways are the best. By meeting people face to face, using posters and attending local community events we can reach out to everyone and help any lost members out there and others with Polio and PPS to find their way to the help and support they need.”
Outside work, Rebecca’s hobbies include gardening, oil painting, the guitar and trombone, along with DIY and research into family history. Rebecca is also a lay preacher with the Methodist church.
The British Polio Fellowship is a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the effects of Polio and PPS. Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a neurological condition which can occur in up to 80 per cent of those who have had Polio. It is thought that around 120,000 people in the UK are living with the effects of Polio or PPS today. For more details or information on The British Polio Fellowship, call us on 0800 018 0586, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk