Alison Summers – an appreciation

Alison Summers and Alf Gillham stepped down from the ISPS UK Committee at the November AGM. We would like to thank both of them for their work, dedication and passion over the years. Whilst they have left the Committee, we very much hope they will stay on within the broader ISPS UK ‘family’.

Here, Bill McGowan, ISPS UK Committee member, shares some thoughts about Alison:

‘I first met Alison when I joined the ISPS UK Committee in 2008. She was then acting chair as the group were in a transition period recovering from a series of set backs. This proved to be a prolonged and difficult period for the group and there was a palpable air of demoralisation around.

Alison kept the helm, contained the group and ensured that the business was done and a good standard of service provided to its members was maintained. When a further crisis hit the group, we looked to her and she graciously agreed to formally become chairperson. From that point on Alison worked progressively to encourage and strengthen the resolve of the group to move on and she worked assiduously to consult and find a way of harnessing the varied talents of the group members. Her intuitive and humanitarian impulses played a large part in enabling her to get the best out of the group particularly during the difficult periods.

Alison recruited new members to supplement the then existing expertise pool within the committee and facilitated the development of an appropriate organisational structure underpinned by a values framework, with aims and goals and work streams to match. These developments proved to be transformative and engendered a sense of optimism and a renewed sense of direction for the group. It moved us from the historical position of running a charity to being responsible for delivering a service dedicated to bringing about change in the field of psychosis.

When I was asked to write a few paragraphs about Alison’s contribution to the ISPS UK Committee, I baulked at the thought of trying to squeeze someone like Alison into such a tight space. If you are left feeling that there must be something more to be said, you are right, in which case, go to the Autumn  Edition of the ISPS International Newsletter 2018 and read Brian Martindale’s erudite account of his experience of working with Alison and Alf Gillham’s more personal account.

We are grateful to Alison for her steadfast commitment during her period with the ISPS UK Committee and for the legacy which she has left for Akiko to build upon. On behalf of the committee I wish to thank her most sincerely for her almost effortless inspirational leadership. We will miss you but wish you well with your next set of challenges!’

Bill McGowan

ISPS UK Committee Member