Meet Our Chair and Vice Chair

The Chair and Vice Chair oversee the Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum (FANDF) committee and are both directly affected by its work.

Meet Our Chair and Vice Chair

The Chair and Vice Chair oversee the Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum (FANDF) committee and are both directly affected by its work.

Chair

"My name is Iza Gill and I took over as Chair of the FANDF at the 2014 Conference. I became a member after coming to the Conference in 2012, and joined the Committee about a year later.

"I first heard about the FANDF after our son, who has a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, attended an Additional Needs & Disability Short Break at the Calvert Trust. His younger sister subsequently attended the Siblings' Break. Both children thoroughly enjoyed their holidays and gained great benefit from them. My husband is serving with the Army Medical Services and we currently live on Salisbury Plain.

"I strongly feel that the lives of Forces Families are difficult enough without the extra problems of an Additional Need or Disability. The special circumstances which Forces Families endure - the constant upheaval of postings and uncertainty about the future, as well as being away from the support of friends and family - can lead to isolation. Sharing experiences with others who have been in similar situations can make a positive difference and make them feel less alone. I also feel that having a “voice” to communicate with those who can influence policy may help others who have to face such issues in the future. I hope that, through FANDF, we can make some changes for the better, as well as putting people in touch with each other or signposting them to people and information which may help them."


Vice Chair

"Hello my name is Michelle Earnshaw and I am married to Mark, a serving Army officer who works in the field of Mental Health; we have 2 children Matthew (13) and Alexander (11). Alexander was diagnosed as being Dyslexic and Dysgraphic in 2013 and was subsequently diagnosed as also being High Functioning Autistic in August 2014. As with many Service families we have found some schools and teaching staff to be more helpful and supportive than others in meeting Alexander’s additional needs. The level and range of both health service and local authority support has also varied greatly in different locations.

"I became a member of the SSAFA FANDF after the boys attended the SSAFA short breaks, from which we have benefited enormously. Subsequently I applied to become a member of the FANDF committee after attending the FANDF conference at the MOD. One extremely rewarding aspect of my involvement on the committee was contributing to the organisation of the Spring Event at RAF Leaming in 2015. There is significant opportunity to develop further events such as these, in order to reach out to those families whose location or additional needs prevent them from closer involvement with, or access to support from the FANDF.

"I am delighted to have been selected as Vice Chair for the FANDF committee. I welcome the opportunity to work with the Chair, the team at SSAFA and the FANDF members, as the committee continues to work on raising the profile of the FANDF and addressing the issues facing Service families with additional needs."