In Inspiring Buckinghamshire

The Heart of Bucks ‘Inspiring Buckinghamshire’ series gives local people from a range of sectors a chance to share their knowledge and insights to help inspire others.

Here we are speaking with Katharine Weston, Chair of Trustees at Mission EmployAble.

Tell us about yourself and your connection to Buckinghamshire.

I am currently Chair of Trustees of Mission EmployAble which is a charity I set up with the other trustees. We run supported internships for young adults with learning disability aged 19-25 to help them gain skills to get into paid employment. We are in our third year of training and have seen 16 young people graduate and 15 of those are in part time paid employment or education and we are still helping the 16th. Previously I worked in the NHS for over 20 years as a consultant Dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon. My main area of interest and research was in skin cancer and melanoma. I worked at South Bucks NHS Trust and also was clinical lead for melanoma at St Thomas hospital.

I have lived in Buckinghamshire near Chalfont St Giles for around 24 years.

What personal achievements are you most proud of?

I am most proud of setting up the charity to help young adults with learning disabilities in the local area (Bucks and Herts) to get into paid employment so that they can be as independent as possible and lead fulfilled lives in their local communities.

What are some of the challenges you have faced, and how have you overcome them?

We needed to get planning permission to build our café in Chorleywood Cricket club which is our main training centre. This was a challenge as it is on Common Land, in an area of outstanding natural beauty, a conservation area and Green Belt! There were many hoops to jump through and people to convince. Believing passionately in the project, being persistent and having a great deal of help from many people made it possible and then possible to raise the £2.2 million to build the pavilion and café.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Don’t stop trying and take every opportunity.

What is your greatest hope for the future for Buckinghamshire?

To see fairness and diversity across the county and country.

Follow Mission EmployAble on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Read more of our Inspiring Buckinghamshire interviews here.