Baroness Royal of Blaisdon
Retired Leader of the House of Lords, Principal of Somerville College, Oxford.
Jim Spiers (chairman) – 31 years as an engineer, 14 years working in care. I am a volunteer driver for hospital transport as well as regular driving for FSS. I was a qualified cub and scout leader for 25 years. For 50 years I have been a qualified football referee with Gloucestershire FA and I enjoy fishing. I am Treasurer of the Forest of Dean Health Forum which represents the interest of the Forest of Dean people around Health issues.
Mike Sollis(vice-chair) – I have worked in management for 41 years. I have expertise in health & safety and infection control and attend FSS 2 days a week running the Independent Living Shop and I am responsible for the social media and website. I came to Volunteer for FSS in 2014. Was elected to the board of trustees in 2015. I enjoy helping people trying to be independent and achieve things on their own.
Sue Henchley (secretary)– A retired Chartered Physiotherapist.
I trained as a physiotherapist and worked most of my professional life with adults and children with disabilities. Since retiring I was a District Councillor for 10 years and have been a Trustee for a number of different charitable bodies. My interest in FSS started when it was The Forge. During that time I have learned a lot about how those who are affected by sensory disabilities can be assisted to enjoy life.I am a believer in giving people the tools to help themselves and I like to think that FSS does this.
David Warner. With a wide variety of life experience, including working in a range of roles mainly farming industry, both employed and self-employed. I am well-travelled. After my having my accident in 2017, I had to adjust and adapt to being visually impaired in a short space of time. I moved into my own home in 2022, learning to cook, clean and function daily whilst being visually impaired after being able to do all these things with sight.
Darryl Annis Treasurer. I am retired from retail banking, having been employed by a well-known bank for 50 years.The last 10 years on a part-time basis. My expertise is with personal finances. Having guided customers through debt and bereavement. Now that I have more time to commit, I decided to apply to Forest Sensory Services as I have been a team member for over 7 years with Forest Talk, the audio magazine for blind and partially sighted people.
Natalie Turner –Eye Care Liaison Officer. Joined Forest Sensory Services in 2019 as a member of staff (she had previously been a volunteer).
She is a very enthusiastic bubbly contributor to many of the classes and organises all the subsidised transport.
David Adams BSc Hons FCOptom
I am a community optometrist who has worked in the Forest of Dean since 1981. I am a partner of David Kear Opticians.I was chair of the Gloucestershire Local Optical Committee for 20 years before stepping down last year. I have also served on the PEC committee of Gloucestershire CCG. I am chair of the trustees of Cambodia Action, a small development agency/mission working in Cambodia. In my role as a trustee of FSS, I bring the clinical experience of sight issues and experience in working with healthcare professionals.
Michael Amey – 5 years in Mechanical Engineering, Then 38 years in Communications as a manager. I was formerly a Trustee of the Citizens Advice Bureau. I bring many managerial and negotiating skills to FSS and have a detailed knowledge of business law. I enjoy walking with my dog in my spare time.
Di Martin advisor to the board – local councillor, parliamentary candidate 2019, Womens refuge – responsible for safeguarding of clients, volunteers and staff.
All of our Trustees live and where applicable work within the local area. They are regular attendees at the centre and all form part of the support network for staff and clients.
THE HISTORY OF FOREST SENSORY SERVICES.
Forest Sensory Services (Formally Forge ) was founded in 1993 by Geoff Roberts MBE in response to the need for a charity dedicated to the blind and visually impaired residents of the Forest of Dean and surrounding areas. The centre opened with Jane Rothery as the centre manager. Since then the charity has gone from strength to strength, constantly expanding on the work we do and the services we provide in an effort to reach as many people as we can. The charity name was officially changed to Forest Sensory Services in 2011 to better reflect what we offer to the community and expand services to those with other sensory loss such as hearing or speech.