Q & A with our newest Trustee
Welcome, Graeme Young
Why dementia, why Town Break?
My uncle John was diagnosed with vascular dementia when I was in my early twenties. I watched his rapid decline and the impact this had on him and the family and felt powerless because I didn’t understand the condition or just how much it can impact loved ones. From his diagnosis came a greater understanding of dementia and the need for greater care and support for both those living with it and their families. Town Break is a fantastic organisation dedicated to that cause, and it’s an honour to join the organisation as a trustee.
I have worked in the public sector now for over fifteen years and I’m passionate about community building and creating resilient communities that support each other to overcome structural barriers. Knowing Helen (CEO) personally, and the amazing work done by everyone at Town Break, joining as a trustee means I can help to support the continuing work of such a fantastic organisation.
Biggest priority for the coming months?
My biggest priority is to become more engaged with the Board and Management of Town Break and support the Chair of the Board with developing and delivering the strategy for the organisation. This means becoming more of an advocate for the organisation as we seek to grow and build new partnerships, helping to identify new opportunities that enhance the services.
Most important thing you’ve learned from a person with dementia?
Dementia is a challenging condition, for people with it and those around them. Personally, it’s important to remember that there is always a person there and people living with dementia are capable of more than we can imagine. They still have stories and individual characters, and they just need to be interacted with on a human level.
What do you find most rewarding about being a Trustee?
Being able to support local charities that make a difference in our communities is the most rewarding part of trusteeship for me. We all have different commitments and time pressures, but to dedicate some time to a worthy cause, and work with a diverse range of people all committed to that same cause, is a valuable experience in life.
What motivates you as an individual?
I love learning and using that knowledge to try and make a difference in life. I love to see other people happy and getting the support they need, especially those who have difficulties with their mental health and well-being.
What’s your proudest achievement so far in life?
I have a great supportive husband who has kept me on the straight and narrow and that has allowed me to excel professionally and achieve beyond what I ever dreamed of when I was younger.
On a personal level, I am proud of the opportunities I had in education. I left school with basic standard grades and decided about ten years ago now to do a part-time degree with the Open University. Since then, I’ve graduated and am now a PhD Researcher at the University of Ulster examining community building through restorative justice.
This work speaks to my passion for communities and empowering both people and the collective to achieve and be their best.