Meet The Team
Meet the people behind BIG.
Our Board Members
I had a successful career in teaching for twenty years until 2000 when I had a mental breakdown, developed epilepsy and also had an alcohol addiction. Since then I have experienced a range of psychiatric services as an inpatient and outpatient. I still see a consultant psychiatrist and take medication for my mood disorder, depression, anxiety and epilepsy. I stopped drinking alcohol in May 2003 and haven’t drank at all since then. I set up BIG as there was a gap in services; there was a need for peer support and an independent voice in mental health. I am passionate about making a positive difference, providing hope to others in gratitude for my own recovery. It is a privilege to be part of a team of dedicated volunteers and the Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Bury Woman of the Year 2011
Hero Award for Contribution to the Community 2016 (Tower FM)
I am a former nurse, had first become unwell in 2000 with depression. It wasn’t until 2008 when I had an episode of severe depression that I became involved in services.
I first became involved with BIG following a recommendation from my psychiatrist. I started off as a service user attending the Recovery Group then became a volunteer and finally a trustee.
I have always attended the Tuesday night group as I find the subjects fascinating. I have probably learned the most from that group not just the speakers but the service users as well.
Since becoming a Trustee I have become more involved in the running of BIG , its role within the mental health community and the community as a whole. Promoting BIG and challenging the misconceptions of people with mental health problems is what I enjoy.
Hi, I’m Keeley Bell and I’m delighted that you are taking the time to read about BIG and our Board members.
I was recommended by my then psychologist to go along to BIG as I was struggling with anxiety and depression. When I eventually came along to BIG I found a friendly and supportive environment where people openly talked with each other about their own experiences. I joined as a volunteer not long after as I had come to understand just how vital BIG is for people in the local community and how important it was for myself. I was enthusiastic to join the team of volunteers to help keep BIG going, so people who are looking to connect with others, and improve their mental health and quality of life, still have a place to turn.
I ended up being appointed as BIG’s first paid employee as the Chief Officer of the charity in 2018. I coordinate the operational management of the charity, provide leadership and work to develop and implement BIG’s strategic and business plans, whilst focusing on building up partnerships in the community, and being an effective advocate for the organisation.
When I’m not doing that I enjoy reading and playing with my cat.
You can reach me at email@example.com
We have over 30 volunteers who carry out various roles at our groups, our events in the community and also helping in our office. We are very fortunate to have a team of caring, dedicated people who have a wide range of skills and experience. Our volunteers are passionate about what they do and work diligently to ensure we continue to provide the best possible service for people in our local community.
Joining BIG as a volunteer helped me to get back my confidence. I was at a low point in my life and feeling isolated after I was made redundant. Connecting with others not only made me feel accepted and valued, but sharing my skills and experience as an arts practitioner helped me feel less alone. Now I feel that I am part of an even greater and very creative wider community which continues to both inspire and motivate me.
I was studying a psychology degree at university and was looking for a volunteer position. I looked online and BIG stood out due to the values and ethos it promotes. Volunteering has enhanced me as a person. Highlights of volunteering with BIG include: being involved in people’s recovery; being a listening ear at their time of need; the great people I have met and the laughs along the way (which have been many). There are people within society who have a distorted view of mental health; it is important to me to break the stigma that individuals face within society. By volunteering with BIG I can challenge attitudes, and in turn, change lives. I have learnt by volunteering that without BIG, service users would be very lonely and isolated. Although it is a small amount of time out of my life, volunteering makes a huge difference to other lives. Volunteering at BIG will enhance your knowledge, views and future opportunities. You will be known and seen as a valuable member of the team. BIG is an amazing charity that has changed service users’ lives as well as enriching mine.
I was recommended to attend BIG by my psychiatrist Dr Sadiq and eventually after attending for some time I decided to try volunteering. Through volunteering I have gained listening skills, patience and learning not to judge people. Highlights of volunteering with BIG include watching people come out of themselves and seeing that they feel they are being heard. Volunteering helps me feel useful and needed. BIG is a really good organisation with kind and generous hearted people.