Co Chair's & Vice Chair
Gina Vetesse, Vice Chair of Merton CIL - I am vice chair of Merton CIL and have been involved in the organisation since it was a steering group. I have been Disabled since I was 13 years old. I use a mobility scooter and I live in Merton. I am very passionate about speaking up about accessibility in Merton and on transport. I am also a talented seamstress and I enjoy creating wedding dresses in my spare time. I enjoy being vice chair at Merton CIL because it gives me a voice and I feel like I am being of service to Disabled people.
Amanda Edwards, Co Chair & Secretary of Merton CIL - Merton CIL has expanded quickly and now needs to sustain that growth and good reputation. I am keen to use my experience of how organisations work gained from my time at SCIE & department of Health to give an independent view. I enjoy being on the board of Merton CIL because I share the values of inclusion and equality.
Estifanos Habtesellasie, Vice Chair of Merton CIL - I joined the board at Merton CIL in 2017. I began volunteering and getting involved at Merton CIL in 2015. I am Disabled and I live in Merton. I have grown to represent Merton CIL at a number of community engagement meeting and forums. I am also a founding member of our monitoring and evaluation group which improves our services. I am keen to contribute to Merton CILs future direction. I like being able to contribute more to Merton CIL's work and feed into Merton CIL's strategic direction.
Roy Benjamin, Chair of Merton CIL - I have been chair of Merton CIL since we were incorporated in 2011. I am blind and I live Merton with my guide dog and wife. I have a background in social care and I was a city councillor in Birmingham. I have always been an ardent campaigner for equality. I enjoy being chair at Merton CIL because it gives me a buzz to see Disabled people get a voice and make a difference. Through my working life I have enjoyed challenging injustice and like to think that through my experience I have something to contribute to Merton CIL.
Raheema Olajide, Trustee of Merton CIL - I am a Disabled Merton resident. I joined Merton CIL to fight for the rights of Disabled people and help make things better. I worked as a Civil Servant for many years and was on the Disability Advisory Group in my department. I am also a founding member of Merton CIL’s monitoring and evaluation steering group, which improves our services. I enjoy being on the board at Merton CIL because I want to help make things better for Disabled people.
Sarah Henley, Trustee of Merton CIL - I am Disabled living in Merton. I try to bring my sense of fun and adventure to every board meeting. I have been very involved with developing our Craftivism & Chat project as I love to paint and speak up about issues that affect Disabled people. I enjoy being on the board at Merton CIL because I can use my own lived experience to help others and feel my learning impairment brings a unique perspective.
Claire Benjamin, Trustee of Merton CIL - I am a visually impaired mum of 2 Disabled children. I have lived in Merton for over 15 years. I have worked passionately for the past 20 years in the public sector promoting the involvement of Disabled people in decisions that affect their lives. I like being a trustee at Merton CIL because it gives me a sense of empowerment and achievement to work with other Disabled people in order to promote equality and independence.
Chris Bull, Trustee - I have been involved with Merton CIL since it was a steering group. I am Disabled and live in the east of Merton. I have a physical disability and use an electronic wheelchair. I am an active member of Merton CIL - I am part of our monitoring and evaluation steering group and regularly attend craftivism & chat. I am also an access champion. I am keen to work to improve the lives of local Deaf and Disabled people by sharing my lived experience.