Shula Chiat has been concerned with language difficulties in children and young people for many years, through her work as a teacher and researcher in speech and language therapy departments at City University London and University College London. Aware that social life and leisure activities are important but often limited for young people with language and communication difficulties, Shula was involved in the setting up of the Afasic Youth Project, and as a member of the Management Committee and now a trustee of Leading Our Lives, Shula plays a role in recruiting volunteers and has facilitated contributions of young people with language disability on academic courses and at conferences.
Craig’s connection with the Leading Our Lives Youth Project started in 2008, when he took a break from his career in Financial Services to do a Masters in Linguistics, which is when he started volunteering at the Afasic youth group as it was then. He has always had an interest in language and communication so in 2009 did a further degree in Speech Therapy and continued to volunteer with Afasic, attending a residential weekend and acting as a mentor to a young person who got to the age where he left the group. He was delighted to be asked to be involved with the new project and looks forward to it being a great success as a place for young people with communication needs to find a friendly social environment and supportive peer group. Since 2011 he has continued to work in Financial Services as a consultant in the area of regulation and compliance, working with some of the UK’s biggest banks and insurance companies.
As the local Afasic Development Officer, Clare was responsible for setting up the original Afasic Youth Project in 1999 and was Project Manager for it until it was handed over to its independent charity status as Leading our Lives Youth Project. She was one of the first trustees for Leading Our Lives and her knowledge, experience and insight into the needs of young people with slcn in social and leisure situations has been invaluable. Clare stood down at the first AGM, but we thank her for her tireless contribution to the charity.
Jonathan is Director of Royalties for the Universal Music Group in the UK. His job involves calculating and recording large amounts of financial information, and managing a staff team. He became a trustee of Leading Our Lives as he has a strong interest in local community links, and finds the work that LoL does inspiring.
As a parent of a young person who attended the club in the past, Sue is keenly aware of how important it is to our young people to have a place they can go to regularly where they know they will be valued, welcomed and supported – as well as having fun and making friends! Although her son no longer attends club, it has been a priority for her to make sure that the club continues to exist and to provide the best possible service to other young people. She is a self-employed psychotherapist and has also been involved in school governance for many years.
Lavinia Scott studied Illustration at the University of East London. She has been a regular volunteer at the youth project in the past and was also a member for several years when she was younger. She has contributed to the training of Speech and Language Therapists at City University. Lavinia brings a unique and valued contribution to the trustee board, and was responsible for designing the Leading Our Lives logo.
Alan did a degree in Languages and Linguistics in the 60’s, the start of a lifelong fascination with language and languages. After a brief spell working in films, he taught languages to adults for 4 years before going as a producer to BBC Education, where for about 30 years he specialised in producing foreign language learning courses by radio, television and print, and a wide variety of programmes on cultures and political matters around the world, English usage, and other issues connected with language, ending up as Head of BBC Languages. In one such series on ‘Language Disorders’ he came across and worked briefly with AFASIC, and in 2012 he invited a group of Afasic young people from the Youth project and their adult workers to spend a week in an old farmhouse in a remote corner of SW France. A wonderful time was had by all. Alan has remained a good friend and supporter of the Charity through its transition.