A dedicated volunteer and Sanctuary Housing resident from Chester says assisting others is her way of giving back to the community and saying thank you for the support she has received.
Lynda Hesketh BEM is the chairperson and founder member of Chester Adult Phab Club, a volunteer-led social club for people with and without disabilities which has been running for 30 years.
With a membership of more than 70 people, the club promotes inclusion and encourages people of all abilities to come together on equal terms.
Lynda, who was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2016, said: “Disability is no barrier to leading a successful and fulfilling life and I am passionate about assisting to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
“I have worked tirelessly over the last 30 years for Chester Phab Club and receiving the honour was a very proud moment for me personally.”
Lynda also volunteers as a member of Sanctuary Housing’s Chester and District Committee, which monitors the landlord services provided to residents and ensures residents have a voice on decisions affecting their communities.
Many of Chester Phab Club’s members are also Sanctuary Housing tenants and Lynda says she is committed to serving as a voice for residents with disabilities, ensuring their needs are recognised and met.
She explained: “The tenant voice is vital and I think it is very important that the voice of people with disabilities is represented.
“Tenants inform me of any needs and I ensure I pass on any issues to Sanctuary, assisting to ensure a positive outcome.”
Lynda, a wheelchair user who has had rheumatoid arthritis since the age of two, has lived in a supported bungalow in Handbridge for the last 11 years.
Sanctuary Housing has funded various adaptations to her property, including ramps and an automatic door, to assist her live as independently as possible.
Lynda says she is grateful for the support that Sanctuary has provided her with and that an important part of her role is making sure other residents are aware of the assistance available to them.
“It might be the smallest of adaptations but it can make a huge difference to people with disabilities remaining independent in the community,” she explained.
“It is very rewarding to know that by assisting others I can make a positive difference to people’s lives.”