People Matters

Tina Turnbull Chief Executive at People Matters CIC tells us a bit about the organisation.

Describe People Matters in a paragraph.
People Matters creates opportunities for people with learning and other disabilities to be more independent and enjoy life in the same ways, and in the same places, as anybody else. We are based in south Leeds but our members come from across the whole of the city and people can be supported by us wherever they are across Leeds. Our aim is to build inclusive communities where we support and inspire each other.

What is the background to People Matters?
Our history is that we were founded in 2002 by a group of people with learning disabilities. Since then People Matters have provided different services and projects.

We are a Community Interest Company which means that everyone who uses us, those who have a learning or other disability and their families, can be a member and have their say in how we work and what we do. We have also moved to Holbeck, grown and in the last year worked with over the first time.

What services do you provide / which projects do you deliver?
We are now particularly known for our community learning opportunities and our work with young people. Think of something you would like to give a try or need to do and you can probably do it with us and we always want to know what people are interested in doing. From September 2014 we offered nearly 20 different courses from cookery to wayfinding and managing money to managing emotions.

Out in the community we organise and run member led social groups and support people individually to live their lives from moving home to accessing health services. Some of the people we support have found volunteering opportunities or work, others have taken up a sport or kept in touch with their family.

Who is on the team? (staff and volunteers)
There is a small team based in the office Tina, Lucy, Sally and Elissa who manage different aspects of the organisation and also teams of tutors, teaching assistants and support workers.

Volunteers are also a vital part of the organisation. We try to make sure that there is a volunteer with every group, some have a disability others are keen to gain experience in social care and others want to make a difference. We also welcome volunteers with business skills like HR, marketing and IT.

What is the best thing about your job?
Leading a team that really believes in the mission of the organisation and making things happen.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Making the money stretch as far as we can to give the most people the best experiences we can.

If you had a super-power what would it be and why?
Last time I was asked this I said I wanted to be better at sport (because of my sons) but maybe it’s to stretch time so I can fit more in

If you could give someone you know an award, who would it be and why would they deserve it?
All my suggestions you may not have heard of but I don’t tend to go for celebrities as there are so many other people that do a fantastic job.

Nationally it would have to be someone like either Gavin Harding or Stephen Green both of whom have learning disabilities but have also been elected as councillors something which I have tried but never managed to do.

In Leeds I really admire the team at Leeds CAB where I am chair. Their role is to provide advice to people who have problems with debt, welfare and housing, all really important. Nearly 18,500 people sought their advice last year.


October 2014