The team

YDA MANAGEMENT

Mary Fallon

I am the Youth Club Manager at YDA and I have NVQ Level 4 in Youth Work, I am also a Home Communication Club (HCC) tutor and I have been teaching families signing and communication methods for over 15 years. I have Level 6 in BSL and I have taught classes in BSL Level 1 to pre-level 3.

I am a qualified First Aider and a Safeguarding Officer for YDA. I am also an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) acting on behalf of deaf children and adults including some clients in mental hospitals. I have enjoyed working with YDA for 23 years, and I look forward to continuing for many more years to come!

Shaun Thomas

I have been working as helper at YDA since the start of 2006. I have achieved a BSL certificate, both in level 1 and level 2. I’m on currently working towards my final exam in BSL level 3 and alongside this doing an interpreter course in BSL.

I am a well-organised, self-motivated individual who enjoys working as part of a team at YDA. A few of my duties involve communicating in BSL support, organising various activities and ensuring that the environment is relaxed, safe and enjoyable to be in.

Sarah Hobbs

I have grown up using sign language with my brother being profoundly Deaf. I am currently working as an interpreter and I am forever continuing my training. I am a first aider, lifeguard and I also have a Diploma in Child Care.

I am a well-organised, self-motivated individual who enjoys working as part of a team at YDA. A few of my duties involve communicating in BSL support, organising various activities and ensuring that the environment is relaxed, safe and enjoyable to be in.

Helen Evans

I am a practising Ceramic Artist and have a degree in Three Dimensional Design. I have worked in the Arts for over 20 years and have run various workshops / community projects working with a wide & varied audience.

I have BSL Stage 2 and a City & Guilds Teaching Certificate of which I did at the City Lit with deaf tutors. I love a challenge and consider myself to be Facilitor / Educator. I have enjoyed the pleasure of working with YDA for over 10 years.

CHAIRPERSON

Cathy McGuiness

My name is Cathy McGuiness. I have two young children aged 10 & 13. I live in Haddenham, Bucks. I have been involved with Young Deaf Activities from a young age as I used to go to the events YDA organised in the past and I have enjoyed these activities immensely. When I was asked to become a Trustee for YDA, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to get involved in ensuring the support/services are offered to deaf children in Bucks. I’m also involved with Aylesbury Deaf Coffee Morning Club as well. Early this year I was asked to become the Chairperson of the YDA.

SUPPORT WORKERS

Richard Whitehead

I am Richard, I have been working as a helper with YDA for around 8 years, since I starting learning to sign. Now I am a Level 6 signer and training to become a fully qualified interpreter. I love taking the young people out on all the trips and seeing them experience new things and have fun!

VOLUNTEERS

Tess Whitehead

I’ve been volunteering with YDA for the last few years. I really enjoy the group and it has been wonderful to see the children and young adults grow, change and develop. Whilst helping out I am also working to improve my signing and enjoy learning new signs – the children are very good teachers. During the week I work as a primary school teacher in High Wycombe. This year I’ve been very busy looking after our new family addition Freddie, it was a pleasure over summer to introduce him to the YDA.

TRUSTEES

Andy Roff

Hi, Andy here. My daughter and I have been members of YDA since Helen came round to do HCC on a cold February evening in 2006. I visited Aylesbury Coffee Morning at the old Civic Centre during that summer when I was learning my level one.

Our first YDA meeting was the Halloween party that year at the Roundhouse and my daughter loved it. YDA is a great way to meet up with your friends and have a moan about the world. Activities during the holidays are great and the trips better. My daughter loves it, which is why I became a Trustee to help in keeping the club thriving and growing.

Dave Roberts

I have been a trustee now for over two years and have been helping and supporting the YDA for over 15 years now. I am a parent with a profoundly deaf daughter. I have level one signing and I have been involved with many different areas at the YDA.

For my daughter, it has been a good opportunity to make friends and be involved with many different children. She has grown up with them and that is the best thing of all.

Joy Reilly

I am the parent of a young deaf 18 year old that has attended YDA since the age of 6. YDA gives my son the chance to interact with other deaf youngsters at the weekends and over the holidays, he rarely misses it and enjoys the activities and fun trips. Being a Trustee gives me the chance to give something back to this charity.

Alison Stacey

I became a Trustee in 2006 just after retiring as Deputy Head at Penn School. I am a trained Teacher of the Deaf and have BSL Level 2. I am secretary of the Trustees and my main task has been to fund-raise for YDA and source new areas of funding. It has been great fun working with everyone at YDA for the last 9 years!

PARENT SUPPORT GROUP

Ella Barrow

I am a Deaf-blind Intervenor within a school and in the social environment and have been doing this for over five years. I am passionate about making a difference to the lives of dual sensory loss children after having a deaf-blind daughter of my own.

I really enjoy helping in the Parent Support Group where I feel I can bring valuable knowledge to parents with young deaf and multi-sensory loss children as I have experienced it first-hand myself.
YDA supported our family during our daughter’s lifetime and I feel privileged to be able to help other families in her memory.

PART-TIME STAFF

Yasmena Waris

I first started to work with HCC when I was training for my Teacher of the Deaf qualification, more than 12 years ago. I have a 10 year old son who wears hearing aids and communicates using speech
and sign language. I have always been interested in BSL and was awarded an NVQ level 6 in 2012.

I am passionate about deaf education and enjoy exploring ways to make learning interesting. In addition, I have a particular interest in supporting families from minority backgrounds and understand some of the challenges they experience in acquiring BSL to support communication in the family home.