- Name: Gill Reeder
- Job: Operations executive, Deafness Support Network
- Born: Chester
- Lives: Chester
- Education: Victoria Road Primary School, Kingsway High School, Wrexham College and The Open University.
- Family: Married to Mike, two stepchildren and seven grandchildren
I’m so lucky to have a job I really love and to be working for an organisation that makes such a difference to the lives of so many people. I am in charge of day-to-day operations at Cheshire’s own deafness charity, Deafness Support Network (DSN) which has offices in Chester, Northwich and Macclesfield. This is my 40th anniversary at DSN.
It’s a 6.30am wake-up for me most mornings and I’ll drive from my home to the Chester or Northwich offices where I’ll check my emails, make sure the team is happy and then grab a coffee to get the day off and running.
I try to make sure that I keep control of the diary rather the diary controlling me, which can happen all too easily.
My days are generally full-on and filled with meetings, most of them really exciting since they generally involve new ideas or projects that we’re developing for the deaf community.
Hearing loss is a major issue in Cheshire. It affects people of all ages and can lead to life-threatening isolation and disengagement. That’s what DSN is here to address.
I’ll get together with our PR agency to discuss progress on our latest campaigns and then go back to the Chester office for a staff meeting to make progress in our efforts to become a dementia-friendly charity.
Dementia is a big issue with DSN – we’re sponsoring PhD student Jenna Littlejohn to undertake some ground breaking research into the links between deafness and dementia. I meet regularly with Jenna.
After lunch on the hoof, it’s off to Northwich to meet colleagues and develop plans for a very special dementia conference that we’re organising in Chester next March. It’s a massive event for us.
The social care services we provide under contract to various local authorities are very important to us.
Most days I will meet up with my colleague Linda Gill who manages the contracts to make sure everything is running smoothly.
There’ll also be a phone call to Mike Maloney who runs the Positive Hearing service we launched in April.
We’re still growing the service that offers the very latest technology, training and support to help improve the quality of life of people with severe hearing loss at home, socially and in the workplace.
The best part of being involved in the service is the feedback we receive from the people we help. The impact of the technology and training is literally life-changing. It doesn’t get any more rewarding than that.
The day comes to an end with a meeting with our new fundraiser Rhys Edwards and hearing about his brilliant plans. Then it’s a quick coffee, a last look at the in-box and home by around 6.30pm, tired but feeling blessed and privileged to do the job I do.
Do you wear a uniform in your job? No.
What’s the favourite part of your job? Meeting so many different people and helping to make a difference to so many lives.
What’s the least favourite part of your job? We know we do a great job – our clients tell us all the time but proving it to the statutory authorities through complex measurement and evaluation can be challenging and time-consuming, although we know it’s important!
What would be your dream job is you weren’t doing what you do now? A professional golfer or a singer. The trouble is I can’t sing and my golf’s not that good either!
How do you relax when you’re not working? By playing golf when the weather’s nice, gardening and reading.
What’s your favourite film? The Sound of Music.
What’s your favourite book? The first book I ever read on my own which is The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier. I also love reading crime thrillers by James Patterson.
What’s your favourite song? Moon River.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you? If it’s a serious film, Helen Mirren. If it’s a comedy, then Julie Walters.
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet? I’ve met Lady Di and Sophie Wessex at various DSN launch events but I reckon I still have a few minutes of fame left it me!
Find out more about the Deafness Support Network here.
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