My name is Gill Fraser and I am a trustee on the Cygnus Board. Before I retired in 2010 I was a GP in Northumberland, and I also had some experience of healthcare commissioning. In 2014 the Women’s Heath Advice Centre (as it then was) was looking for new trustees and I was approached by Sarah, one of the existing Board members. I knew the organisation by its good reputation - among both colleagues and clients who had been helped. I was also only too well aware of the challenges faced by people all over the county and the effect on their mental health. Finding counselling support was often difficult and the organisation seemed to be filling an important gap.
I joined the other trustees in 2014 and have had various roles - there are not many of us so there is often a job to be done! My official positions have been Vice-Chair and then Chair - the latter from 2018 to 2021. Since I started there have been many changes - in people, in clients, in services, in partnerships and even in our name. However the guiding principle to work to improve the mental health and well-being of the population we serve remains the same. As we come to terms with the impact of the pandemic, with rising living costs and with challenges across the world I would say that there are more threats to our mental health than ever. I am proud to be part of Cygnus and the role it plays in supporting those who need us.