The Better Living Project Co-ordinator is Maggie Gilbert, who has more than 40 years’ experience in practical, hands-on care for the very young, the elderly and the learning disabled.
She cared for her elderly parents in their latter years until her father died from cancer in August 2000, and her mother from Alzheimer’s disease in January 2004, but her core experience in the Care Sector comes from the youngest of her three children, Thea – being classified as a “Failed Cot Death” at the age of 9 weeks.
Thea, who is now in her forties, but with the developmental age of around 18 months, she has no speech, is semi-continent and needs 24 hour assistance with everything she does.
Driven by her experience and by a strong desire to do the utmost for her daughter, Maggie has been extremely active in the voluntary sector for over 30 years, creating, organising and managing services for children and young people with disabilities, providing support for their families – where support systems did not previously exist.
She was personally responsible for the registration and management of the following charities:
The Rainbow Club – 1983 (Reg. No. 286405)
Grasshoppers – 1990 (Reg. No. 803471)
Horsham Toy & Leisure Library – 1992 (Reg. No. 1036015)
The Springboard Project – 1994 (Reg. No. 1014270)
In July 1997 she merged three of the charities (Grasshoppers, The Springboard Project and Horsham Toy & Leisure Library) into The Springboard Project – a charitable company limited by guarantee – with a subsidiary trading company called Springboard Trading Ltd. – designed to generate income to support the charitable work.
Maggie has the support of a committed Board of Trustees who are all professionals in their diverse fields. She draws on a wealth of personal knowledge and experience in the sector, and also has the vision, tenacity and drive to carry this project forward. The implicit concept of Holistic Care within Better Living is hers, and the care definition which emerges will, for excellent personal reasons, be labelled: