I blogged in April about the Plymouth Coeliac Group and how they were looking for volunteers to keep the group going, as Alice Williams and some of the other committee members were standing down. I’m delighted to say that three more volunteers have been found to assist me on the committee, and that the group can continue. An update was this week sent out to members to introduce the new team and update them on the groups activities. If you are a Coeliac UK member in or near Plymouth and would like to be receiving group emails please get in touch with me and I will arrange. Below is a copy of the email that went out this week:
Alice Williams wrote to you all prior to the April AGM looking for volunteers to take over the Group Organiser and Treasurer roles, and informing that the group was in danger of folding should nobody come forward. Those who were present at the AGM will know that we have been successful in our quest to fill the positions, and the good news is that the group can continue. Lai-Yin Wong Brooks takes over from Alice as Group Organiser and Lisa Bullard replaces Harry Booth as Treasurer. As previously announced Kevin Gollop also takes over from Vivien Johnson as Database and Membership Secretary. Steven Regulski has also offered his help and will join the committee and assist the new team.
Lai-Yin Wong Brooks (Group Organiser) said “I am looking forward to this new role. I want to make people aware of what coeliac is all about and help existing people look at alternatives that are available to make their lives easier. I have a business called 8 and have recently been developing some new Chinese gluten free dishes. I want people whether they have coeliac or any other medical conditions to eat healthy and lead an active lifestyle.”
Kevin Gollop (Database/Membership Secretary) said “I work in IT for Local World, the parent company of The Herald and I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2011. I have been active amongst the coeliac community in Plymouth through my coeliac blog, Gluten Free by the Sea, and I am very much looking forward to getting involved with the group and using this new avenue to help fellow coeliacs.”
Lisa Bullard (Treasurer) said “I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2005. I own my own bookkeeping and accounts business called Aplus Accounts and used to work with Kevin Gollop at the Herald before taking redundancy. I am happy to take over as Treasurer and look forward to working with Lai & Kevin for the Plymouth Coeliac UK support group.”
Steven Regulski said “I am 64 years old and a retired Construction Project Manager, Married with 5 Children. I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in September 2012, following a Heart Attack and by-pass surgery. I am looking forward to getting involved with the Plymouth Coeliac group and supporting the other committee members.”
Rhoda Booth, Daphne Vidak, Rachel Taylor, Suzanne Stephenson and Lyn Crews were voted back on to the committee at the AGM and the new team thank them for their continued support. We would also like to pass on our gratitude to Alice, Vivien and Harry for their great work and service with the group over the years and also for their on-going support during the transition period. A big thank you also to Kathryn Miller from Coeliac UK who gave a very interesting talk on the latest research that the charity is undertaking at the AGM.
For Gut Feeling Week, Coeliac UK’s name for the 2013 awareness week, Lai-Yin and Steven manned a coeliac awareness stand at Sainsbury’s Marsh Mills to help spread the word to potentially undiagnosed coeliacs. The group also drafted a press release that was sent to The Herald and received a mention as part of some excellent coverage. You can read that article here, or view a PDF of the page here.
The new team are looking to push forward and one of the big challenges is to drive up engagement with younger people and encourage them to join in at meetings and events. To this end the group is now on Twitter and Facebook, and aim to be actively talking to members and offering tips and advice through those channels. So please, if you use those mediums then pop over and give us a follow or a like. We will also be looking to make more use of the group page on the Coeliac UK website.
We also have to be mindful that not all members are computer users and we will not forget those people and aim to keep everyone involved. We would love to hear your suggestions for the group going forward, and we look forward to meeting you all in the near future.