Membership and Scottish Council

ENABLE Scotland was established by five sets of parents of children who had a learning disability in 1954, and our membership roots still guide ENABLE Scotland to this day.

The work of the Executive Team and the Board is supported by ENABLE Scotland’s unique Scottish Council.

Scottish Council is a group of 30 elected ENABLE Scotland members who help our Board of Trustees decide what ENABLE Scotland should do.

 

Find out more about Scottish Council

 

The group meets four times a year and includes members who have a learning disability, parents and carers, Trustees and Branch members.

The role of the council is to make sure that ENABLE Scotland delivers on the right priorities that will further the human rights of people who have a learning disability and their family carers, and in particular, leads our campaigning voice.

 

  • Ivan Cohen - Convenor

    Theresa Shearer

    Ivan Cohen - Convenor

    Ivan Cohen is the Convenor of ENABLE Scotland’s  Scottish Council. He is the first ever person with a learning disability to be elected into this role. 

    Ivan has been a member of ENABLE Scotland since 2002. He first joined ENABLE Scotland as a member of the Edinburgh Branch. Then in in 2012 he joined his local Edinburgh ACE group as a member. Through being part of ACE Ivan has had the chance to represent his Edinburgh group at National ACE meetings. 

    Ivan has represented ENABLE Scotland on the national and European stage, most recently joining the European Platform of Self Advocates (EPSA) as an Advisor and presenting to people from across Europe as part of Inclusion Europe’s learning exchange. 

    Ivan states that his proudest achievement is being the first ever ENABLE Scotland Scottish Council Convenor with a learning disability. This makes him feel very proud. He also convened our first ever digital Scottish Council because of coronavirus which was totally new and a big success.

     

  • Kirsty Kennedy - Chair of National ACE

    Theresa Shearer

    Kirsty Kennedy - Chair of National ACE

    My name is Kirsty Kennedy- Hyman, and I live in Stirling.

    I have been part of ACE for nearly 7 years, and in 2018 I was elected chair of National ACE.

    At ACE I Iike that we all help one another, and that we are like one big family and nobody judges you.

    The good things about being the chair of National ACE is that I can make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.  You don’t have to be good at speaking to get your opinion over I make sure that people are listened to.  I like to be there for people and I like that people come and talk to me if they have a problem.

    In my free time I volunteer with food train, I like helping elderly people with shopping, and I like to keep my mind active with puzzles and crosswords.

    My dream is that we can work for a better future for the upcoming generation of young people who have a learning disability, so that they don’t have to experience some of the challenges that we have had to experience.

     

  • Lucy McKee - Chair of ACE Youth

    Theresa Shearer

    Lucy McKee - Chair of ACE Youth

    My name is  Lucy McKee and I live in Bearsden in East Dunbartonshire.

     I first got involved with Enable as an ACE Youth member seven years ago.  Then I was elected chair of ACE youth in 2016.

    What I like about ACE and ACE Youth is that there is a sense of family and support if you ever need it. As the chair of ACE Youth I like seeing young people thrive and achieve lots of amazing things.  I like making a difference in the lives of young people who have a learning disability.

    One of the things I have been most proud of during my time at ACE Youth is becoming a Change Champion, as part of an anti- bullying campaign called #bethechange.  I have also had the privilege of being able to talk at the Scottish Parliament about my experiences with school and education.

    In my own time I enjoy volunteering, I also enjoy going to college and learning new things.  I have done a number of courses, and am currently doing a mental health and wellbeing course. I am also due to start the Enable Scotland Breaking barriers program at The University of Strathclyde soon.

     

  • Russell Easton - Chair of Branches Committee

    Theresa Shearer

    Russell Easton - Chair of Branches Committee

    Russell Easton is 46 and from Edinburgh. He has been a member of Enable Scotland since 2014 and is a member of the local branch of ENABLE in Edinburgh. He is also a member of his local ENABLE Scotland ACE Group and Scottish council in which he is chairperson for the Branches Committee. He endeavours to give a voice to the branches within Scottish council and within Enable Scotland.

    Along with his active life within Enable he has completed over 30 years of voluntary work in different organisations. Some examples of Russell’s voluntary work include scrutiny work with his landlord, first aid at public events, conservation and expedition work with the Duke of Edinburgh awards and green team. Russell also co-facilitated a self-help group for people with depression. One of his big passions is animal welfare and his 2 cats Peeps and Jet.

    Russell really enjoys his work within Enable, hearing and sharing lived experiences of how people with learning disabilities contribute to their community in a positive way and how they have overcome the barriers and challenges. His previous experiences have given him good grounding to support others and advocate for them during their experiences of living with disabilities.

     

  • Nick Bothwell - Chair of Families Committee

    Theresa Shearer

    Nick Bothwell - Chair of Families Committee

    As a husband and father I love my family and I enjoy seeing them all feel safe and reaching their potential.  Unfortunately in today’s world that is not always easy to achieve – especially where the world is the ‘wrong shape’ for those with hidden and learning disabilities.  The world expects them to change where in reality the world needs to change to include them and provide equal and fair opportunity for them to have a happy successful life.

    I have seen and experienced this bias first hand as I support my son with Autism on his education journey. There have been many challenges so far and I am pleased to say that with partnership and cooperation he is getting some of the adaptions needed to help him achieve his potential and be happy but it has been hard work when it should be the default that reasonable adjustments are made.

    As chair of the families committee I am able to act and help Enable make a difference and support changes that allow people with learning and hidden disabilities make the choices that allow them to live where they want, study and work to achieve their goals and have happy and fulfilled lives. The families and parents network also allows parents and carers to meet, get support and be understood – it is so refreshing to be able to talk to someone who understands without explanation.

    Together we can make the changes to make it fair and equal – it’s not about coping or surviving – it’s the right to decide, thrive and excel.  My aim as committee chair is to guide and support Enable in achieving these changes – not just words but real tangible action.

     

  • Beth Morrison - Trustee Representative

    Theresa Shearer

    Beth Morrison - Trustee Representative

    Beth’s son Calum has complex additional support needs including Epilepsy. In 2010. Calum was seriously injured due to a face down restraint by staff in school. After realising there was no Government guidance on the use of physical intervention in Scotland’s schools, Beth became a passionate campaigner on the unnecessary use of restraint and seclusion involving children and young people with disabilities in education and children’s services.

    Her campaign is now worldwide involving the UNCRC in Geneva which has already resulted in changes to Scottish Government guidance.

    In 2016 Beth completed the BILD PBS coaches programme and was awarded BILD’s “Outstanding Achievement Award” for protecting Scotland’s most vulnerable children in schools.

    In 2017, she founded Positive & Active Behaviour Support Scotland (PABSS) a small charity supporting families who love and care for children with complex needs and can display distressed behaviour.

    In 2018 Beth was honoured to be named an “Outstanding Women of Scotland” by the Saltire Society.

    In 2019 She was in the Times Education Supplement as one of their “People of The Year” and in 2020 She was awarded an Amnesty International Award.

    In February 2020 PABSS produced a joint report with the Rrisc Group “Reducing Restrictive Intervention of Children and Young People” A copy of the report which was launched in the House of Lords can be found on the PABSS website www.pabss.org/rrisc

     

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