Joanne Kirkham Information and Advocacy Worker, Hospital Team Email: [email protected] Phone: 0131 312 0362 Joanne works Monday to Wednesday More from Joanne: I am delighted to have been a member of the Kindred team since January 2015. I am a mum of twins, and feel that being a parent of one child with a disability, and one without, can provide enormous benefits for families who also have children with additional support needs, often empathising with similar situations they have been in. As a family we have spent many nights in various wards throughout the hospital for both long and short stays and understand the strain this can bring to the family unit. Having someone support you who has had a similar lived experience may help families to grow in confidence, to manage the condition(s), and to try and normalise daily family life, that of course still carries on despite hospital visits. Like many of the other staff, my interest in support work came through personal experience with my own family. My background is in design, and I worked for The Scotsman Newspaper for 5 years as a graphic artist and ESPC for 8 years as a graphic designer. It is recognised that the arts have an important therapeutic role, for example in helping people to communicate and to express themselves. It’s amazing how paths can cross, and I’m certain my creative background will be of help to Kindred as a charity and to the rest of the team. To strengthen my role as an advocacy worker, I completed a COSCA certificate in counselling skills in 2016 and graduated in 2020 with a BA (Hons) Open Degree, studying Young Lives, Parenting and Families and Approaches to Mental Health.