A MUM who helped set up Ardrossan’s Touchbase hub will now chair a national disability charity.

Angela Clements, whose son Andrew attend’s Ardrossan’s Touchbase centre, officially took over the reins as Sense Scotland’s new chair earlier in the month as the charity celebrates its 35th anniversary.

She heads an organisation which supports thousands of disabled people and their families across Scotland in supported living, day services, respite and a host of specialist programmes.

She replaces Roy Cox OBE, one of the founding members of the charity, who is standing down after 27 years.

Mrs Clements became involved with Sense Scotland in 2011 when her son Andrew, who has profound and multiple complex needs, started attending the charity’s TouchBase service in Glasgow before she was instrumental in setting up the TouchBase Ayrshire hub in Ardrossan in 2017,

She said: “When Andrew was leaving school and transitioning to adult services, we went round various centres. I thought: ‘I would rather keep Andrew at home than leave him in one of these places, sitting in a chair.’

“Then we went to TouchBase and it was totally different – they recognise individuals and maximise the potential of what they can do. There was music, lights, a sensory room. Andrew even had a job watering the plants in the office.”

“We had the sense of family from day one. My predecessor Roy Cox has built up a successful charity which is run very professionally – but also in a way that we can’t lose sight of the reason we are here. When you live with a family member with complex needs, you don’t forget why we are here. We are all in this together.

“Communication has been key, combined with the positive relationship between our Trustees and the executive team. Our National Crisis Team held regular meetings and I reported to the Board every week too.

“We took decisions quickly, we had to focus on the delivery of our services. We managed to keep our TouchBase hubs open with a restricted service.

“Many of our families were shielding but we have tried to come up with creative ways to support them remotely at home, such as delivering activity packs. We were one of the first charities to reopen our shops - gradually - and benefitted in terms of receiving donations of stock.

“We held an urgent fundraising appeal. We have looked at the impact on our services and how they can be delivered

with social distancing, such as staggered arrival times for example. The priority now is adapting to the ‘new normal’.

“Things have changed so much, we must stay sustainable as a business going forward.

“The management team recognises we have to change - if we stand still, we will fall behind.

“The pandemic is not over yet, we are still in the middle of it, we have got the building blocks. There is still going to be a Sense Scotland, it will be different but it will be better than ever.”