Mary Arnold - Curriculum Vitae
26a Starley Road, Spon End
Coventry CV1 3JU
Tel. 01203 226006
Hearsall School, Centaur Road, Coventry.
I left school in 1949 and gained an NNEB
qualification. After training I worked as a live
in nanny for a dentist as I was to young to take
up a place for nursing at the Radcliffe Infirmary
which had been offered. I did not take up this
place as I married in the following year and my
husband preferred me not to work full time.
I did later return to full time work in the late
1960's in school meals, gaining City and Guilds
stage 1 & 2 qualifications. I subsequently
ended up as a cook supervisor, in charge of my
own kitchen and responsible for 10 women.
In 1980 I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid
Arthritis which was eventually to put an end to
my career in catering, as in those less
enlightened times, redeployment was not thought
of. I was unable to take further qualifications
in business catering which I would have liked to
have done, and I was prematurely retired.
Being an active person I sought to fill my time
with voluntary work and for as long as I was
physically capable served in the tea bar at
Whitley Hospital. I also became involved with
Arthritis Care, initially helping out with
catering. As my disability worsened and I also
became diagnosed with Asthma I sought voluntary
work of a less physically demanding nature.
Coventry Legal and Income Rights
In 1982 I trained as a disability rights
advisor with Coventry Legal and Income Rights
Trust, (Coventry Law Centre) and went on to
become involved in other disability organisations,
particularly the Coventry Council of Disabled
People which was founded in 1983. I first
chaired this organisation in 1985 and served in
this capacity for a further four years during
which time I also became a committee member of
Coventry Arthritis care.
I continued to have strong links with legal and
income rights, and was asked in 1988 to become a
member of their Council of Management in which
capacity I still serve.
I also served on the council of management of the
Coventry Voluntary Services Council whilst
the Coventry Council of Disabled People remained
affiliated to its original parent body.
Coventry Women's Health Network
During this period of time I also chaired the
Coventry Women's Health Network, which went on to
set up the Coventry Women's Health and
Information Centre at Coventry and Warwickshire
Hospital through Urban Funding. This involved
frequent negotiation with the District Health
Authority and the drawing up of job
specifications, interviewing and supervision of
Coventry Unemployed Workers
I was also involved with the Coventry Trades
Council Unemployed Workers Project through joint
ventures with CCODP. setting up a research
project. I eventually came to represent the CCODP
on the management committee of the Unemployed
Workers Project and on the Finance and General
Purposes Committee. When it became a limited
company I became one of the directors.
The Unemployed workers project runs a project for
disabled people, providing various training. I
have been involved in drawing up job
specifications, shortlisting, interviewing and
liaising with employees in much the same way as
with the Women's Health Network. I also taught on
some of the courses until I became a director
which no longer allowed this.
I have also been involved in training intake
nurses at Walsgrave in disability, and have
lectured to Post Graduates at Warwick University.
Royal Association for Disability
Through the CCODP's affiliation to RADAR I
have had an involvement at a National Level. When
RADAR established a committee in 1990 to
represent the interest its member groups. I was
elected to the represent the West Midlands Region,
including Herefordshire, Worcestershire,
Shropshire as well as the Urban Conurbation. I am
still in this position.
I have also had a special interest in Transport
for Disabled People and after chairing the CCODP
represented them on the Coventry Transport Users
Advisory Committee, and Ring and Ride Advisory
Committee. In 1988 I presented a paper to a
Department of Transport Disabled Persons Advisory
Committee hearing in London.
Community Health Council and
Health/SS Joint Consultative Council
I have been a member of the Coventry CHC since
1988 and am have recently been re-elected onto
the Joint Consultative Committee as a service
user. Prior to that I was a voluntary
representative on the Joint Services Planning
Group for Physical Disability
I have been until recently chair of the Coventry
Wheelchair Users Group, set up after the
devolution of the wheelchair service from Selly
Oak to Coventry.
Independent Tribunal Service
As can be seen from my involvement with the
Coventry Law Centre and unemployed workers
project I have developed an expertise in
disability related benefits. I have recently used
this to good effect as I have been a lay member
of the Disability Appeals Tribunal, sitting in
Coventry and Birmingham. since it was set up as a
branch of the Independent Tribunal Service in
My experience of Health related
I have now had a long involvement with the
Health Service, both as a patient and through the
CHC and JCC. I belong to the nursing home
I bring to the CHC, knowledge of a wide range of
disability issues, not just those relating to my
own disabilities, as my experience in CCODP and
RADAR has brought me into contact with the widest
spectrum of disabled people and organisations.
However I still have an abiding interest in
Rheumatology, and was the lead member of the
Patients influencing Purchasers project in
My interests in the Health service have extended
beyond the bounds of disability which is only one
issue. I have always been keen on Women's Health
Issues in general and even before I became
disabled was involved in counselling at the
Coventry Women's refuge.
In 1995 I returned to chair the Coventry Council
of Disabled People and am still in that position.
Personal Status and general
As regards my personal status, I am a widow,
with two grown up children, one of whom has
become my facilitator.
I enjoy the theatre when I can, as a member of
the Belgrade Theatre access group.
I have had home tuition in Computer Literacy and
Information Technology. I have a keen interest in
current affairs and reading.
I also belong to a group of Citizens Band and
Radio volunteers and have spent weekends
marshalling events such as diverse as marching
band competitions, marathons, and motor cycle
I use an electric wheelchair at home, and
environmental control equipment.
I do not drive, but have my own transport.
Why I am applying
I feel it is very important for people like
myself to become involved in the management of
the Health Authority, as I bring a wide range of
experiences and skills, derived from 15 years in
the voluntary sector. I do not believe that age
or disability should debar me from taking a full
part in the community as my life has taken on a
new meaning since becoming disabled when I could
easily have settled for a life of dependency
after my career in catering was abruptly
Copyright © 1997
Most recent revision Sunday, March 09, 1997