The South Wales Argus finds out more about our Trustees and why they chose to get involved with the organisation:
KALEIDOSCOPE chairman is Chris Freegard former managing director of Newport City Council.
He has been involved with Kaleidoscope ever since he invited the charity to set up in the city and says it was one of the best decisions he made.
“I spent my career regenerating gritty cities.
“In all of them I saw the harm that illegal drugs and alcohol cause to individuals and communities.
“Because of the issues facing Newport, I invited Kaleidoscope to come here and that was one of my best decisions.
“As chair of Kaleidoscope, I have seen the organisation expand to provide services in every county in Wales as well as in England. I am passionate about what we do and may we be here in another fifty years if the need remains.
Dr Danny Antebi
HAVING worked as a psychiatrist in the NHS for most of his career, Dr Danny Antebi said he used to see many people who used substances which caused them harm, often impacting on their physical and mental health.
He said he joined Kaleidoscope as a trustee because of the work it does campaigning for groups who are marginalised in society.
“I believe that, if people are going to change or stop behaviours that cause them harm, they need to have an alternative.
“That alternative is one which has to help them find the value in themselves and in the world they inhabit.
“Training, constructive activity and employment are one of the most important ways most of us understand our value in our communities.
“The work of helping people address how they live takes time and a willingness to listen. I joined Kaleidoscope as a trustee because I believe it creates a culture which fosters these qualities and actively campaigns for groups in our society who are marginalised and struggle to find a place.”
Carol Dicken has had a long association with Kaleidoscope, from being a project worker aged just 23 in the 1980’s to now being a trustee.
She said the three years she spent in the project were fundamental in establishing her belief that all people have value and deserve to be treated with respect and warmth.
“Later I returned to the project as a qualified social worker and facilitated a student unit where student social workers were able to learn from staff, residents and clients about person-centred working and the importance of harm minimisation.
“When I later took a role at Kingston University as a lecturer, I was pleased to continue my involvement first as a member and subsequent
ly as chair of the Kaleidoscope Housing Association which has responsibility for the Kaleidoscope Kingston Hostel Building (now Cairn House).
“I continue to hold great admiration for the staff team and the high level of service that they offer to people with range of needs.”
Catherine Pepinster first came across Kaleidoscope in 1978 as a 19-year-old undergraduate student on a placement.
“I ended up helping with the cooking. This meant I came into contact with lots of residents, who would drop by to chat.
“Many of them had desperate stories. I remember reading files of clients to get some idea of what had led them to addiction and who had nowhere else to go but Kaleidoscope.
“Many years later I joined Kaleidoscope’s board of trustees. It is a much bigger organization now.
“The focus on the person – that original philosophy – is still at Kaleidoscope’s heart, 50 years on.
“It’s a privilege to be part of it and see how the small organization I first came across 40 years ago has grown and flourished.”
Former South Wales Argus editor Kevin Ward joined the board in 2017 after leaving the paper.
“When I decided to strike out on my own in business, I also wanted to put something back into the Newport area having lived and worked here for almost 30 years.
“We had covered the remarkable work done by Kaleidoscope many times during my years at the Argus.
“Drug and alcohol addiction – and the ways in which this feeds into other social problems such as homelessness and crime – is a major issue across the UK and I was attracted by the often innovative and sometimes controversial approach Kaleidoscope takes to it.
“Kaleidoscope has made – and continues to make – a real difference to the lives of many people over the last 50 years.
“I’m proud to be a board member and to use my experiences to help Kaleidoscope move forward and continue to have a genuinely life-changing impact on people with drug and alcohol problems.”
Frances Rutter was delighted to become a trustee.
“I have worked within the caring professions all my working life – in the NHS, voluntary sector and latterly for the probation service. I have had many opportunities and becoming a trustee is a small way of putting something back into society.
“I think Kaleidoscope is an organisation that demonstrates that it cares for and values the people it works with and the staff it employs. During my time as trustee, I have met and worked alongside many interesting and committed people and feel privileged to be associated with the organisation.”
Prior to his retirement in 2015, Mr Knight was a Chief Superintendent in Gwent Police where he led on commissioning of an integrated drug and alcohol treatment service.
“Joining the board of Kaleidoscope has allowed me to remain involved in this vital area of substance misuse treatment and preventatives services.
“Individuals in our society face many challenges and supporting the most vulnerable is vital.
“I am proud to be part of such a positive organisation.
SOLICITOR Ellie Okereke joined Kaleidoscope as a board member because she shares the charity’s passion in supporting vulnerable people.
“I believe society has a duty to support the most needy.
“I know it can be challenging when supporting vulnerable people, so I believe in Kaleidoscope’s values of supporting its staff and I see my role in advising as how best to do that.”
Stephen Davison joined the board after a managerial career in local government.
“Addiction is a curse that creeps up on people. No one starts out wanting to become addicted to anything. Unfortunately the outcomes of this dependence are terrible for the individual, their family and friends and society.
“Kaleidoscope has an excellent track record of helping people in need, and it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to assist in its success.”
Lynda Astell Vice-Principal (Resources & Planning) at Coleg Gwent has great skills of placing learners at the heart of decision making wholly in line with Kaleidoscope’s strategic goals for our service users.