I am excited to announce that in December I was offered and have subsequently accepted the position of UK Adult Services Coordinator with the Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA). This is a 3 year fixed term position based in Central London, but my role will be covering all corners of the UK ensuring that every adult born with a cleft can access support whether they’re residing in Waterloo or Wick. The role is an exciting and varied one researching the unique challenges faced by people with cleft in adulthood, and developing a programme to address those challenges. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first role of its type in the world dedicated to looking at the needs of adults, and I am optimistic that the knowledge gained will extend well beyond the UK. I am confident that my background both as a person born with cleft lip and palate and as a practicing Speech Language Therapist will serve me well in this role.
I think for those who know me well, it is probably not too difficult to see why this role appeals to me, although I’m sure you can appreciate that coming to this decision has not been an easy one. When I was offered the role, I was incredibly torn, particularly because I am incredibly content in my current roles and was not otherwise looking for a change. However, this is an incredible opportunity where I sincerely hope to make a tangible difference, an opportunity that I would not wish to pass up.
Whilst I am delighted to be able to see those of you who live in the UK & Europe much more often, I will be leaving New Zealand with the heaviest (and fullest) of hearts. I love New Zealand, I love the people here – my family, friends and others whom I have met here, the city I live in – over the last 17 and a half years New Zealand has become home (alongside the UK – I consider myself very lucky to have two countries I consider home). I am very fortunate that in this new role, I will have a leave entitlement which will allow me to return to New Zealand each year for Christmas and to soak up some of the January sun. Of course, the world is also an increasingly smaller place, and so I fully expect to be hosting visitors from NZ to London on a regular basis!
I will also be leaving my roles at The TalkLink Trust and Plains FM, two roles and organisations which I love and care a great deal about – in both cases made so incredible by the people I have the privilege of working with everyday – in many cases, people who I now consider to be good friends.
I will start my new role in March. Thank you to those of you here in NZ who have supported me in this journey, I have greatly appreciated your advice and overwhelming sense of support for the decision which I have made.