Highland Children's Forum has a new committee
Gaenor Rodger - Chair
Name - Gaener Rodger
What is your role with HCF - Chair and Management Committee member
Why did you want to work/volunteer with HCF - It is important to me that children and young people are empowered and supported to have a say about how they live their lives and what happens to them, particularly in relation to their own health and wellbeing.
What is your history of working with children and young people - I came to 'youth work' quite late on in life after having my 2 children. I have been involved with managing, developing and delivering sexual health and relationship education programmes to young people in secondary schools in Highland. During 2018, I was involved with supporting the Highland young ambassadors for the Year of Young People. I also volunteer for Girlguiding and run both a Rainbow and a Brownie unit as well as supporting other volunteers.
Favourite colour - Blue
What do you do in your spare time - Spare time, whats that! I try to get outdoors, always with my family who are really important to me, doing a little bit of anything active from wild camping, walking, cycling, canoeing, skiing to rock climbing.
Something people might not know about you - I am a Bee-keeper.
Rebecca Nicholson - Vice Chair
Name - Bec Nicholson
What is my role in HCF? - I help make sure that young people’s voices are heard - by thoughtfully listening to ensure that everybody has the space to articulate what’s important to them. I hope that my lived experience of being a youngish person with a physical disability, gives me a unique insight into some of the challenges which many young people with additional needs have to face.
Why did I want to work/volunteer with HCF? - I had a damaging school experience and I remember exactly how it felt to not be listened to. HCF were there when nobody else was, they gave me the confidence and strength to find my voice, to affect change.
What is my history of working with children and young people? - I have been on many projects with other young people with varying additional needs, to bring about change on both an attitudinal and policy level. I was part of a team that created an award-winning podcast raising awareness of disability, as part of the Get the Picture campaign held by the Scottish Government. More recently I have spoken openly at many different events - about issues that affect young people in society, as well as being frank about my own challenges.
Favourite colour - Any pastel colour
What do I do in your spare time? - I love long forest walks with my assistance dog and best buddy Gregg.
Something people might not know about me? - I’m very interested in spiritual practises such as mindfulness, meditation and yoga - and how they enrich our quality of life.
Judith and Stephen Hope - Secretary
Name - Judith and Stephen
What is your role with HCF - joint management committee members
Why did you want to work/volunteer with HCF - as parents we took part in the HCF self-directed support consultation. We were very impressed by the professionalism and passion of the Consultant Lead to fully understand our child's life and the effects of any changes to SDS. So, when we were asked to join the committee we were delighted to provide what support we could to help the staff.
What is your history of working with children and young people – we're parents of a very lovable boy with severe learning difficulties and very poor communication skills. We are only too aware of how such young people can be overlooked in decision making about their own lives.
Favourite colour - Judith - aquamarine; Stephen - blue
What do you do in your spare time - Judith - spending time with the family, especially walks and beach days, reading. Stephen - trying to keep fit by lots of walking. Decorating on the house (great when it's finished).
Something people might not know about you - Judith - as a student I went to Sweden on a study trip to try to compare the effectiveness of different insect repellents. Stephen - many years ago, I did a loop-the-loop in a glider (I was just the passenger!).
Kirsty Hunter - Treasurer
Name – Kirsty Hunter
What is your role with HCF – Committee member and Treasurer
Why did you want to work/volunteer with HCF – I was approached in 2014 to become a member of the committee and at the time I didn’t know much about HCF and their amazing work. Once I had been introduced to their incredible work, past and present, I was hooked! It is such a privilege to work with such passionate people who care so much about giving others a voice.
What is your history of working with children and young people – Following on from my own experiences of trauma in childhood and adolescence I was determined to overcome my interrupted education, I left school with no qualifications due to having ME, and ‘give back’ to those who may be experiencing similar adversity in childhood. I began by volunteering at Raigmore’s Children’s ward. Following my time there I volunteered for Home Start, worked as a support worker in children’s residential care, a children and young person’s practitioner at Women’s Aid, a Youth Development Officer, a youth work project coordinator, advocacy worker and mentoring support officer.
Favourite colour – Hydrangea blue
What do you do in your spare time – I love spending time with my little family and all our animals. I love gardening, walking and being by the sea. I also love creating things from glass and wire.
Something people might not know about you – when I was little I used to pretend my name was Imogen and that I was a ballerina ☺
Name – Sarah Fowler
What is your role with HCF – Management Committee member
Why did you want to work/volunteer with HCF – HCF and CHIP+ (where I’m Chief Officer) have a fantastic partnership, working in very different but complementary ways to support families in Highland. When I was initially invited to join the Committee I jumped at the chance – I miss working directly with young people!
What is your history of working with children and young people – Being a mentor at school got me hooked! I volunteered as a Welfare Officer at Uni, became a Student Support Mentor in a college then went on to become a Youth Worker in a young people’s project. I then moved into service management but remained hands on – working with young people was always the best part!
Favourite colour – Green
What do you do in your spare time – Mostly hang out with my gorgeous toddler but love a day in the hills walking and generally being outdoors in the beautiful Highlands
Something people might not know about you – In 2012 I spent 5.5 months walking 2650 miles across the USA.
Name - Clair Nichols
What is your role with HCF – I am a member of the Management Committee
Why did you want to work/volunteer with HCF – I think it is really important that young people are supported to have a voice and be involved in decision making. HCF is an organisation enabling young people to talk about the challenges they face and to work together to make positive change happen. I want to be a part of that!
What is your history of working with children and young people – I have youth work in my blood!! I spent my childhood shadowing my dad – he was a great youth worker. As a young person I volunteered on lots of youth projects, including an International trip to Albania. Since then I have had a number of youth work jobs – youth participation officer, youth arts development officer, life skills project manager, youth development officer and now I am the Chief Officer at Youth Highland.
Favourite colour – I love orange.
What do you do in your spare time – I enjoy growing vegetables and flowers in my garden and cooking up delicious things to eat with my 3 girls.
Something people might not know about you – I am a big fan of the Blues Brothers movie and am in the process of getting my old band together – I was the lead singer in an all girrrrls tribute band when I was 18.
Name: Bec Raynes
What is your role with HCF – I am part of the Management Committee
Why did you want to work/volunteer with HCF - I am passionate about children and young people being able to reach their potential; sometimes this can be a challenge for a variety of reasons. Highland Children’s Forum works with children and young people to identify barriers and help them overcome them.
What is your history of working with children and young people – I have worked with young people since I was one myself! I have had lots of different youth work jobs in the third and public sectors. I have also worked as a teacher. Right now I work for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Favourite colour – oh dear – difficult question but probably deep purple, closely followed by teal green or maybe peacock blue.
What do you do in your spare time – spend time with my family and friends; food is often involved!
Something people might not know about you – the other thing I bring to my role on HCF is that my youngest daughter is on the autistic spectrum.