In recent months, we have been delighted to welcome two new staff to our team. Judith Conners filled our vacant Trust Fundraising Officer role in December 2022 and then Debbie Kinsey started in the brand new Health Information Officer role at the beginning of February 2023. We are excited to see our team grow, enabling us to further improve the services we provide. We asked Judith and Debbie to briefly introduce themselves:
Judith Conners – Trust Fundraising Officer
“My first jobs as a medical secretary in NHS and private hospitals were my way of working in the health sector and became my inspiration to pursue further education. That qualification, coupled with working for a medical research charity, brought the opportunity to step into raising funds from trusts and foundations. It is my good fortune to have thrived in that environment and now, with around 20 years of experience in raising funds for medical research, and charities providing services (including education, health support, and mental health support), I am delighted to have joined LUPUS UK. My aim is to use all my experience to grow and develop the charity’s trust and foundations portfolio and the income it can generate.
Raising funds to support all LUPUS UK’s activities in helping people with lupus, their families, and the medical research teams, is an exciting and challenging prospect. The team here has made me feel like one of the family.
The Trust Fundraising Officer post has been vacant for nine months, so an initial task has been catching up with reporting to our wonderful donors. The trust and company records have just been switched into a new database and I am starting to tailor the system to best effect – this is definitely a once-in-a-career opportunity and interesting and enjoyable all at the same time. With the mechanisms for my job in place, I must bring creativity and imagination to my writing. My best powers of persuasion are required, and I know the rewards are out there. “
Debbie Kinsey – Health Information Officer
“I started at the beginning of February in the newly created role of Health Information Officer. As I write this I’ve only been in post 8 days (!) so I’m still very new, but I’ve been enjoying every minute.
The role is broadly about providing evidence-based health information, but in practice it is an extremely varied job. I will be writing articles for the website about current research, reviewing and updating the information we already have, working with people with lupus to create new resources, editing the magazine, hopping on the forum to answer questions, and lots more. For such a small team, LUPUS UK do so much, and I’m excited to work on and expand what’s already here.
My first couple of months will mainly be about learning as much as I can, writing articles, and working on the forum and magazine. As we move through the year, I’ll get our health information certified by PIF Tick, which is a quality mark for health information so that people know it’s been through a robust production process, and start developing new resources, like more information for young people or creating audio formats. We’ll also eventually add a research section to the website so it’s easier to find the latest research news or trials to participate in. If anyone ever has any ideas of things they’d like to see, please do get in touch any time, I’m always open to conversations and figuring out what’s possible.
About 15 years ago I worked in the NHS as a clinical psychologist, but, unfortunately, not too long after qualifying I developed a chronic illness and was unable to work for a few years. As I became more well and was able to gradually transition back into work, I became a researcher at a university. I was involved in a lot of different projects, mainly investigating experiences of different health conditions like dementia, overactive bladder, and recovery from surgery. While I was there I also did some disability advocacy work, helping disabled and chronically ill staff and students find connection and share experiences, and meeting with university management to try and improve our working/studying lives there.
This new role at LUPUS UK feels like a perfect fit for my passion for supporting people with chronic conditions in general, and for making research/health information more accessible to people. The team have been extremely welcoming and friendly, and it’s been an absolute pleasure getting settled in. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!”
We hope you will join us in giving Judith and Debbie a warm welcome to LUPUS UK and wish them the best of luck with their new roles!