Meet the team
We are a team of dedicated volunteers and team members, all here to help.
We work hard every week to create the best services for disabled people, carers, families and professionals in Bedfordshire, Luton and Northamptonshire.
Meet the management team
Melanie Hawman – Chief Executive.
Melanie is the Chief Executive Officer and responsible for ensuring the vision and values of the DRC are lived and aligned with the purpose of the DRC. She also has to ensure that the charity remains competitive as a provider of services to disabled people, those with health conditions and increasingly the older local population. After a career working nationally in Welfare to Work, Melanie brings a wealth of experience and qualification in leadership and management in public, private and third sector organisations. As a person with lived experience in acquired disability she understands the need for personal and professional change and disability that may be invisible to others.
Paul Robson – Business Manager.
Previously a founding director of a furniture reuse project with stores in Biggleswade and Dunstable. Paul was responsible for areas such as estates, training & development, fundraising, health & safety, compliance as well as general management and day to day activities. Previously working in the homelessness sector and prior to that Paul worked in further education. Currently responsible for the business activities of The Disability Resource Centre including room lettings, tenant management and the equipment retail area. Additionally overall responsibility for health & safety, buildings and facilities management, IT, as well as being involved in the general day to day management of the charity.
Tracy Plunkett – Service Manager, Community Services.
Tracy builds the services we offer in the community. She is responsible for the team that provides a range of support including health, fitness and wellbeing, employment support, training and financial advice. Services cover the Bedfordshire, Luton, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Aylesbury Vale.
With her background in FE and quality assurance, Tracy is an integral part of the continuous improvement team as we progress through the stages towards receiving our IS0 9001 award in summer 2018.
We are very pleased that Andrew, Duke of Bedford, has been our patron for a number of years, and we are very grateful for his support.
Our Trustees are volunteers too
The Disability Resource Centre is governed by a Board of Trustees who meet six times a year. The majority of the Trustees have personal experience of living with a disability or caring for someone with a disability. They use their knowledge to advise the management team.
We are keen to welcome new Trustees to the Board. Please check our vacancy notice.
Jill Pick, our chair of the Board of Trustees.
Our Board of Trustees comprises:
Chair - Jill Pick
Vice-Chair – Frank Beck
Trustees – Nadia Deadman, Cathy Ross, Baerbel Dennis, Kay Taylor, Andrew Buckley, Sandra Brown, Bjarne Pederson and Gillian Ormston.
Jill Pick: Chair of the Board of Trustees
Jill is a retired social worker, leading a specialist Visual Impairment team until her retirement in 2009. Jill was the organisation’s Development Officer in 1993, and therefore its first employee. As Development Officer, Jill was responsible for setting up the organisation as a charity, finding and securing our premises, establishing partners and creating our first public facing services of Disability Information and Equipment Advice. Jill has been a Trustee of the organisation for over 20 years.
Frank Beck – Vice Chair of Board of Trustees
My professional background is mostly in management consulting, with over 17 years’ experience in developing strategies, organisational change and communications across various sectors in the UK and overseas. This has ranged from developing a Transformation Routemap for a UK council to counting telegraph poles in the snow-covered Hungarian countryside. Also, a client once paid for me to fly out to Jamaica to hold a one-day workshop and only two people turned up!
I live with my wife, daughter and very lazy cat just outside Tring, Herts. I am now semi-retired and looking to contribute whatever I can to worthwhile charities such as the DRC.
Nadia Deadman: Trustee
Nadia has had a career in the Health Service spanning 42 years, which included managerial roles in Customer Care and Litigation. Nadia is a wheelchair user and loves travelling and enjoyed a world cruise in 2013. Nadia is a founding Trustee, and was Vice Chair of the organisation from 1994, until she became Chair in 2001. In addition to her work at The Disability Resource Centre, Nadia works part-time for the HM Courts and Tribunal Service as Lay Member. Nadia’s vision is that The Disability Resource Centre can help disabled people to gain independence, and have the same opportunities as non-disabled people.
Baerbel Dennis: Trustee
Baerbel is a qualified FCCA MBA IFA and has worked for large quoted companies as Financial Controller and also as an auditor for over 10 years. During the MBA her thesis had a focus on marketing, research and development. She currently studying to become a qualified level 5 Reflexologist and was a carer for her husband for over two years.
Cathy Ross: Trustee
Cathy’s association with The Disability Resource Centre predates the actual charity, as Cathy was the person who led the preliminary work to understand the needs of local disabled people, to justify the need for a Centre. Originating from Ireland, and with over 40 years’ experience working for the NHS, Cathy specialised in Community Engagement.
Dr. Kay Taylor: Trustee
Kay lectured in human genetics at University College London until retiring due to ill health in 2000. She has been a trustee at The Disability Resource Centre for over 8 years, with a special interest in our website and marketing. Kay lives in Bedford, and is Chair of Trustees at the Beds and Northants MS Therapy Centre.
Andrew Buckley: Trustee
Andrew is a practising solicitor in Bedford, who specialises in Employment Law, becoming a Partner in 2004. He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates. Andrew is an enthusiastic sportsman and excels in Martial Arts. Andrew has been a Trustee for nearly three years.
Sandra Brown: Trustee
Sandra has had many years working in HR Management in the high technology and communications sectors as well as the Service Sector. She is a visiting Lecturer in the Business and Management School of the University of Bedfordshire, has an HR and Coaching Consultancy, is a Fellow of CIPD, a Membership Assessor, Branch Committee Member and an HR Mentor. Her experience in the not-for-profit sector has been gained over the last 20 years where she has fulfilled a variety of roles and is currently also a member of the Management Committee of Luton Law Centre.
Bjarne Pederson: Trustee
Bjarne is a new member of the board of Trustees and is a passionate rights advocate and campaigner. He has broad experience in the charity world with a track record of achieving meaningful change through strategic leadership, resource mobilization and partnerships. When Bjarne is not enjoying time with his family and looking after his vegetable garden he leads an international NGO with offices across Asia.
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Please read the coronavirus update we have published and sent to all our clients and PAs who we support with Direct Payments.
We’re compiling some useful links to reliable information across the web to help us during the coronavirus (Covid-19) situation. There is some really useful information from charities and organisations that help people with many health conditions.
The Disability Resource Centre will not be open to the public until advised it is safe to do so. We will continue to offer updated information on our website and telephone advice lines.
Help for Carers in Luton
Have you heard about the free service for carers in Luton, Carers Central? We offer lots of free 1-2-1 help and advice. We can meet-up at a time and place to suit you…
Please consider donating to The Disability Resource Centre today so we can continue our vital services.
You can hire a wheelchair from our charity. The Disability Resource Centre hires out manual wheelchairs (including children’s wheelchairs) and other equipment like ramps, rollators, crutches and walking frames to help you with your mobility.