Focus: Finance and Governance - Trustee talk - Tracey Ford, Adfam

I came into this because of my work - I'm a family and friends development worker at Sheffield Primary Care Trust, where I co-ordinate agencies and support groups for families of drug users.

Sheffield has formed both regional and national alliances with the National Treatment Agency to help influence and inform policy around family support.

I initially got involved with Adfam in 2003, when it was conducting a national consultation project with carers affected by a loved one's drug use. Its chief executive approached me and asked me to become a trustee, something I'd never done before.

I have had personal experience of drug use and living with substance misuse. I also lost a parent to alcoholism earlier this year. I feel I bring a grass-roots and honest opinion to Adfam's board - and to its business.

Although I cannot represent families and carers, I can be a champion on their behalf and give guidance on what might work regionally and locally.

Other things I advise on include contributions to Adfam's newsletter and how to develop partnership working.

I like the fact that I am influencing policy and that it is families that drive and inform Adfam's good work and practice.

I am mostly interested in Adfam's proposals and the potential influence these might have regionally and locally. I'm also interested in developing my own role. The bigger the role, the bigger the impact.

I enjoy being a trustee, but I do find it hard to get to the meetings in London. However, I am updated regularly and I'm glad that I'm helping to make a difference to a national organisation with such a high profile as Adfam.

As a trustee, I have the utmost confidence in the chief executive's capacity to manage the service effectively.

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