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​​Jack Collett

jack collettJack Collett’s number came up when he offered to help out with the accounts of his local branch of ENABLE Scotland – and is still volunteering with the charity more than 40 years later.

Jack offered his assistance in 1970 and, by the following year, he was treasurer of the Annan branch. 

“What got me fully involved with ENABLE was having friends who had children who had learning disabilities,” said Jack.

“At that time, there were few support facilities, and that’s what made me fully aware of how amazing these parents and carers are. They were really committed to taking action to bring about change, while at the same time bringing up their family.

“They were inspiring people because of the work they did.  I wanted to remain involved because I realised there were individuals and families who needed support.” 

Along with other members of the Annan branch, Jack set about trying to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and campaign for better support and greater awareness.  

“At that time, much campaigning went on because there was virtually no provision for people with learning disabilities. They even lacked the right to a proper education.”

Because of the lack of day centre facilities, the Annan branch decided to set up their own with assistance from Jack.

The branch also began to raise funds by organising raffles, coffee mornings and holding a Spring fayre. The local Rotary Club stepped in with a much-needed gift to help it purchase a mini bus.

Jack has seen how the Annan branch and ENABLE Scotland have evolved over the years.  He thoroughly enjoys volunteering with the organisation, but knows how challenging it can be to persuade others to give up their time as he has.

“In the early 1970s and ‘80s, it was easier to find volunteers and to have a regular turnover of office bearers. People today are a lot busier, and there are more organisations vying for their time.

“So much has been achieved since the 1970s that young parents today maybe don’t need to be so hands-on. Today’s checks and regulations can also deter prospective volunteers, which is a shame – because volunteering is such a rewarding experience.”

Jack, who became an ENABLE trustee in the late ‘70s, is still fully committed to ENABLE Scotland and for the past few years has been the branch secretary.

As a trustee, he is among those who ensure the organisation is competently run and that it complies with charity and company law.

As well as watching ENABLE Scotland change, Jack has witnessed how society has changed also. 

“As an increasing number of people who have learning disabilities began to live in the community, things began to snowball.  Standards of living rose and more facilities became available.  People’s attitudes towards disability changed, too – for the better. Television played a big part in changing perceptions by giving people with disabilities airtime. It helped to demonstrate that diversity is a good thing,” said Jack. 

“I’ve made so many friends and met so many genuinely inspiring people – people I look forward to seeing and want to spend time with. ENABLE Scotland a part of my life and there is no reason not to be involved.  I hope I have helped make people’s lives a bit better and helped bring about changes in society that mean that people with learning disabilities are not only accepted but valued.”  

ENABLE Scotland,INSPIRE House,3 Renshaw Place,Eurocentral,N Lanarkshire,ML1 4UF.Tel: 01698 737 000. Registered Charity Number SC009024

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