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Sense Scotland founder member steps down as chair

 

Roy Cox OBE has led the disability charity since 1993

A founding member of Sense Scotland has stepped down as the charity’s chairman after 27 years.

Roy Cox OBE, 70, was among a group of parents who founded the disability charity after campaigning for services to support their deafblind children. The charity was formalised in 1985, with Mr Cox taking over as the chair of the board in 1993.

Mr Cox’s daughter Cheryl was one of the first people in Scotland to benefit from specialist education and touch signing, allowing her to communicate with her family for the first time. Now aged 41, Cheryl lives independently, supported by Sense Scotland, and also swims, skis and plays in a band.

Mr Cox, who was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to the deafblind community, said: “Our dream in the early days was to have the ability to express our feelings and love for our daughter Cheryl. This is now possible, thanks to the support of Sense Scotland, and she even reciprocates her feelings back to us, which means more than anything.”

Throughout Mr Cox’s tenure as Chair, Sense Scotland has supported thousands of families and individuals in settings including supported living, day services, respite and a variety of specialist programmes.

Mr Cox has also overseen the expansion of the TouchBase community hub model from its flagship centre in Glasgow to new TouchBases in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.

As he announced his departure, Mr Cox said it had been a privilege to work with a wide range of people to create an organisation that enabled disabled children and adults to thrive.

He added: “I’m very proud, as are all my family, to have been involved in the creation of Sense Scotland and all it has become. Together we have created an organisation that will care for our children throughout their lives when we are long gone. I take much satisfaction from seeing the people we support flourish, given the gift of communication. I am confident that our organisation will continue to grow, helping many more families live a life that most take for granted.

“Life in the ‘new normal’ will be challenging, but if the past 35 years have taught me anything, it’s that Sense Scotland will adapt and continue to do what it does best – ensure the best life for my daughter, and for all the other sons and daughters it cares for.”

The charity’s vice chair Angela Clements takes over as the new chair, having been a Sense Scotland Trustee and board director since June 2014. An enterprise and IT director with extensive experience in the private and public sectors, Ms Clements was instrumental in setting up the TouchBase Ayrshire service, which her son Andrew attends.

She said: “What makes Sense Scotland different from other charities is that it is a family – with the emphasis on family values and culture. Roy has built up a successful charity which is run very professionally – but also in a way that we can’t lose sight of the reason we are here.

“He has achieved so much and has been a very visible chair, resulting in a strong connection with staff, service users and their families. He leaves Sense Scotland in a good place with a determined, loyal and committed team. We have the building blocks to move forward in the ‘new normal’ and, whilst it may be different, it will be better than ever.”

 

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