South Shields man joins board of new respite centre

Alan Pockley has joined the board of Grace House.
Alan Pockley has joined the board of Grace House.
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South Shields man Alan Pockley has joined the board of the North East’s new respite centre for young people.

The 30-year-old has been fundraising for Grace House for years and has now accepted an invitation from chairman David Cook to join the board at the centre, which will be a respite facility for children and young people with complex care needs.

I know how places like Grace House work and the difference they can make in people’s lives.

Alan Hockley

Alan, who has muscle-wasting disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy, said: “I suppose I’ve been involved since it first started.

“My mum and dad were among the first fundraisers and I would go along with them and help where I could.”

Alan, who has already attended his first board meeting, said: “I think I can offer so much first-hand experience of what life is like when you’re suffering from a disability.

“I know how places like Grace House work and the difference they can make in people’s lives.

“I also know what people need because I’ve been there and done that,” said Alan, who lost the use of his legs aged five and now uses a specially-adapted wheelchair.

“I’m really looking forward to getting more involved in what I know will be an important facility.

“It’s a really exciting time to be joining the board, with Grace House just about to open.

“Everyone at Grace House has been so helpful and I know how dedicated they are, and how hard they work.

“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do more for them, because I could see how dedicated they are and how much they care.”

Grace House is ready to open once Ofsted has inspected and registered the service.