Strong Manchester Women – Transcript Episode 7 – Bernie Wood

Strong Manchester Women – Transcript Episode 7 – Bernie…

The transcripts are not an exact science, so expect a few spelling or grammatical errors. This transcript is also by no means intended to replace the audio. The podcast has some cracking music on it and the stuff you’d expect from a conversation, such as articulation, accents, pauses, intonation – basically all the stuff that makes us sound like proper human beings. So, if you can listen to the audio, please use the transcript as an accompaniment.

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A photo of women sat in a leather Chesterfield style chair. The image is from her knees up. She is holding a walking stick. She is white. she is looking directly at the camera. She is wearing dark clothes. She has short white hair.  The image has a green hue to it. to the left of her knees are the words 'strong manchester women' in grey lettering and a thick font in capital letters. In the same style font, next to her right ear are the words 'Bernie Wood'.

Transcript: Episode 7 – Bernie Wood

Vic T – host: 00:00 This is a strong Manchester Women podcast with me, your host Vic Elizabeth Turnbull. And in this series I speak to the change makers, activists, leaders, and trailblazers to make our city and beyond a better place to live, work and play.

Vic T – host: 00:33 Now before we get cracking, this episode comes with a trigger warning. We discuss some sensitive issues including suicide. So if you feel that this episode could affect your mental health, then please do skip it.

Vic T – host: 00:49 And in this episode you’ll hear from,

Bernie Wood: 00:53 My name is Bernie Wood.

Vic T – host: 00:55 And we talk about running, a unique and busy day centre,

Bernie Wood: 00:59 Parents come in here, fall in here, shivering messes of humanity and they go out sunflowers, cause we do everything. 7.

Vic T – host: 01:07 Life with a disabled child,

Bernie Wood: 01:10 Parent carers give up their whole life. They don’t start caring when they’re 50 or 60

Vic T – host: 01:16 and looking on the bright side of life,

Bernie Wood: 01:19 We have a life like that, and we do need to laugh just to realise that there’s life after disability.

Vic T – host: 01:25 I’m in North Manchester, I’m at Talbot House, the incredible centre that Bernie helps to run. And I sit down with her in the recreation room.

Bernie Wood: 01:36 I am a Mancunian. I was born in Manchester. I have five children and the youngest one happens to have down syndrome. And that’s the reason actually I’m in this room in Talbot House, sitting there because I’m the manager of this project. Well, it’s not a project, it’s a service to the parents of children and adults with severe learning disability. I’ll be 80 in June. Looking forward to it. Not Looking forward to getting any older. No Way. But looking forward to celebrating. Celebrating that I’ve reached eighty,and that I’m okay. Well, I’ve been around eighty years almost haven’t I, so I’ve seen a lot of people come and a lot of people go. So yeah. When you see a lot of people younger than yourself, not reaching old age and especially to be still working at eighty.

Vic T – host: 02:21 That’s fantastic. Is retirement on the horizon?

Bernie Wood: 02:24 No, I’ll die and standing up.

Bernie Wood: 02:28 My kids say that ‘she’ll die standing up her’. It’s my respite here, being with a families and helping them out when I go home, it’s like my family. And that’s what we all do, we come here, do what we can for others and then go home and see to our own. This is an amazing service. There’s not another one like it. Not only in the Manchester, in the country, there’s not another service like Talbot House. We’ve been established over 40 years this year and it’s used led, run by parents, for parents, all the people who work here, all my staff are parents of sons and daughters with severe learning disability and all the volunteers. Same. You could have an additional physical disability, but the criteria for support here is severe learning disability. We have a motto, get mom and dad okay and the kids will be okay. Simple.

Vic T – host: 03:18 Like you say, you’ve been involved for forty years. You were involved before it was even called Talbot House?

Bernie Wood: 03:25 Yes. It was called The Peter Pan Centre a long time ago. It started when, four parents looking for money for a play scheme from the council. They had kids with severe disabilities, no walking, no talking, doubly incontinent, the whole picture. They thought of running a play scheme because the kids went to a special school and in them days they picked him up at 11 o’clock in the morning, brought him back at two o’clock because they said our kids could not be educated in any shape or form. So asking for money for a play scheme, council’s said ‘Why? What can they do?’. However one good councillor gave them a couple of hundred quid. With the kids, going to a special school, you don’t get chance to meet all the parents. So there’s no coffee after school, at the school gate, pretty isolated.

Bernie Wood: 04:10 So these parents got the play scheme going. They it in their own home?.That was in 1976 and they got this small grant and they would go onto parks and stuff like that. But what they found was while they were together, they were saying, ‘Where’d you get that wheelchair? Where’d you get that? What’s that benefit? What’s that?’ They found that the most important thing was their share, how they were, how they felt, how they could get on with their lives and consequently help the rest of their families. And in particular their disabled son or daughter. So the did that and then they got premises and they got the old rectory that was in Ancoats and they called it The Peter Pan Centre. Now them was the days when we thought kids didn’t grow . Well they don’t, but we lived with that myth. It was kind of nice.

Bernie Wood: 05:00 And in 1978 my son was born. Now Geoffrey was the youngest of five. So when my others were born it was, you’ve got a boy, you’ve got a girl, you’ve got twins. Congratulations. Geoffrey was born and it went <gasp>. and nobody said congratulations. That’s going to be the name in my book. No congratulations. I knew nothing about down syndrome. It’s was called Mongole then. Mongole retarded idiots. The only thing I knew about that was a girl in my park when I was a child who used to knock us all off the swings and I thought, ‘Have I got one of them?’ I didn’t think child. I didn’t think person. I thought them, have I got one of them and I don’t want one of them. I can’t cope with one of them. I can’t mother one of them. It all went down hill from there. I rejected him. Didn’t want to bring him home. However his dad was totally different.

Bernie Wood: 05:56 He said ‘ I wanted a son, I’ve got a son. Let’s go.’ So we came home, and it was really hard times. Really hard time. We had a lot of health problems that went with it. And so consequently, I’d reached what I call, rock bottom. I had a cat net over his pram. I didn’t want anybody to look at him. And I was in Booth Hall Hospital one day, which at the time was a children’s hospital, with one of my other children and I saw this notice and a leaflet with a drawing of Peter Pan on it and it said, ‘Are you the parent of a mentally handicapped child’ and that’s what it was called then. ‘and is the world winning?’ Well it was everything I wanted to hear. So I made me mind up to find this Peter Pan centre. So one rainy night and they were opened two nights a week then, I set out to find it, but I had my train fair in my pocket cause I wasn’t gonna come back if I hadn’t. Times had got really bad, really bad. I didn’t think I could mother this child. So what kind of a failure was I? I didn’t even dream that I was leaving four other children behind, but that’s exactly what I was going to do. However, my God must have had his finger on my head because I did find it. And then from there I went in and shared all of these obscene thoughts. Saw all these parents laughing and joking and I thought, ‘oh, they’ve not got my problem. Too much fun in here.’ One parent, sadly she’s died now, I shared the obscene thoughts, and they were obscene thoughts, what I was thinking about my kid. Really obscene. Not what a mother should think. And she sat me down and shared with her and she said, ‘Ooh, is that all, I thought that bleeding years ago.’

Bernie Wood: 07:44 It was like a monkey off my back. I did go home, obviously. But it doesn’t mean to say I went home and said, ‘Oh yeah!’ No, no, no, no, no, no. It took time. It took a day at a time. It took an hour at a time. It took a minute. From then on, I was at Manchester University during the portis system with him and the pendulum swung right the other way, wasn’t he going to be the only kid with down syndrome, who went to Oxford. The whole world changed. Then the kids had to change. I had to change because I focused so much on Geoffrey, the others got left out. I didn’t realise, but I’ve got the kind of kids that were able to tell me and they said, ‘Excuse me, do you know we’re here.’ I had to do something about that.

Bernie Wood: 08:32 It meant letting go of Geoffrey for respite, which I didn’t want to do, but I did so that when he was in respite care, then I devoted my time to the other children. From then on, I took over from the Peter Pan Centre and got different premises. Time’s moved on and now here we are in brand new premises. We’ve been here for nine years and this was built for us by a benefactor who really believed in the work that we do. And so I manage it and managed it for a lot years. Now, like I say, it’s the only… it’s unique. Parents come in here, fall in here, shivering masses of humanity. They go out sunflowers, cause we do everything.

Bernie Wood: 09:25 Education, social services, every kind of benefits. DLA’s, pips, universal credit, housing tribunals, one page profiles, person centred plans, assessments, CHC plans. We work in partnership with social services. There’s nothing we don’t do, nothing. So if a family comes here and they don’t come back for another three years, the only thing we say is ‘do you want tea or coffee?’ Your life, your consequences. They come in here, like I said, shivering masses of humanity Lonely and frustrated. So once they’ve found us they can never go out that front door and say that they’re lonely or frustrated again because the choice is there once again, they’ve got the support if they need it. Whatever family walks in here today, they’ll get their need met. Without a doubt.

Bernie Wood: 10:13 You can get parents saying, ‘Oh, I feel awful because my son’s not as bad as this.’ Stop it. Stop it. If you’ve had tooth ache and I’ve had my leg off, we’re both in pain. I have a special service now that started off as a project four years ago. The oddest thing you can ask a parent carer is ‘who’s going to do it when you’re not there?’ So if you ask somebody, ‘oh I don’t have to look at that now he’s at school…’ Don’t have to look it…Deny, deny, deny, deny. Well, I keep a diary on Geoffrey and one of my diaries I I happened to read, ‘I want to watch him thrive while I’m alive.’ So we put a bid in and got the money for a project for three years, for a coordinator and volunteers for older parent carers to make their decisions while they’re alive and it’s called Thrive. It’s so successful at the moment, we’ve got 450 older parents on it. That’s without the thousand families have gotten the database anyway, but this special service now, they’re doing the power of attorney, doing the wills, doing the funerals. They’re doing the whole lot and they’re getting relief, they’re making the decisions today. A couple of weeks ago, one of our elderly parents died and adult daughter with severe learning disabilities, slept with her and she woke up and her mum was dead at the side of her. She didn’t know mom was dead, so she used to help her mum. She carried on changing her mum, changing the clothes on the dead body. So who did they ring? They rang us. Waiting for the doctor to come and do the death certificate. So we went round and sat with the daughter, and with the dead body. From then on sorted out all the needs of that young woman, because she had an account with her mom in her name. So once mom died, all the benefits stopped. All everything stopped. So where was that young woman going to go? She had a great social worker and with the church where the young lady goes. We’ve all worked in partnership and she’s okay. She’s grieving okay.

Vic T – host: 12:16 It’s like you’re saying, it’s such a unique service…

Vic T – host: 12:17 What an incredible service that Talbot House provides. I’m interested to hear from Bernie what it’s like to work here, especially through all those challenging situations that they find themselves in on an ongoing, daily basis,

Bernie Wood: 12:34 I want them to come in here, respect me, don’t pull a sickie when you’re not sick and the job’s yours. I don’t stand over them. I get 150% from my staff. I don’t have to say ‘what you doing, are you doing?’ I appreciate them and I show it. So they’ve got a good manager. I’ve got one worker, who’s a trained social worker, she should be out there earning double the money she’s on here. She says she’s torn her CV up. She loves it here. I’m really lucky there. Oh I’ve got great workers. Oh, they’re amazing. Strong women? You need to spend a day here and you’d see strong women. Working with a disabled kid? Strong women? I’ve got them coming out my bloody ears round here.

Vic T – host: 13:20 Sound like an inspiring place to come to work every day.

Bernie Wood: 13:23 Everybody wants to work here.

Bernie Wood: 13:24 I mean, we’d be put on child protection list they heard us in here, the way we talk, however, I don’t care. Cause we joke about kids in the wheelchair, say ‘right, they’re going nowhere unless you push them, mine he’s running up the street at two o’clock in the morning!’ and they’d say, ‘I don’t want a runner!’. We have a laugh like that, and we do need to laugh just to realise there’s life after disability and there is. and that’s once they come here, they open up.

Vic T – host: 13:53 We’re all human aren’t we? It’s not clinical and it’s not…

Bernie Wood: 13:56 The human element is recognising that our kids are human. It’s like the homeless people, you walk past them, although they’re not human. I didn’t recognise Geoffrey as a person. No way on this God’s earth. He was an an it, it was a thing. It was one of them. But now I say I’ve got a son, Geoffrey, who happens to have down syndrome. Or I say to the parents, you’ve got a child who happens to have one head, two arms, two legs, a person, a human, who happens to have whatever.

Bernie Wood: 14:29 Very human, oh so human. But we have a laugh anyway cause Geoffrey’s liar. But when he went for an diabetic eye screening, and this girl was really, really nice. Don’t get me wrong. What’s your name? Clark Kent. And I said, you do know that’s Superman don’t you love? Right, Do you work? Yeah, I work. Oh do you work? Yeah. Yeah I get 10,000 quid a week. Well you’d think the bell might have hit her then, but it didn’t cause the next question was ‘do you drive?’ I said, well I’ll tell you what love, you’ve done great, but when Stevie Wonder gets a driving license he can have one. So things like that. If you lose him you’ll find him in a travel agents booking a holiday and people are really nice nowadays. You know they listen to him, and I have to go in and say he’s going nowhere, he’s on income support. He’s not married. He taking his wife?!. You know, we have a lot laughs. A lot of laughs. I’m not saying there aren’t days when I could kill him when he’s a bugger and you’re doing the same thing over and over, it’s like bloody groundhog day everyday.

Bernie Wood: 15:38 But what people don’t realise about parent carers is funding. Now you can get the funding for dementia, cancer, show them all that and all the stars are in on it and everything. Parent carers, cause you’re gonna look at me and say what does she want money for? and I’ll say right, what parent carers do, get up of a morning, hoist them out of bed, hoist them in the bath, change their shitty nappy, tube feed them, make sure everything… get them at the door, for either school or a day service and say ‘there they are all ready, I’ve that. Before you open your eyes I’ven done that. And there’s going to be three of you doing that today and you’re going to bring him home and I’m going to do all again.

Bernie Wood: 16:16 So if I’m doing an induction with social workers or nurses, I will say when Geoffrey’s at respite, I have a relationship with the front door and they look at me and say what the bloody hell does she mean? Well, I can look at the front door and say I can go through you or not. When he’s here I can’t. Some of the things that you get out of our kids that when they can’t talk or anything, it’s amazing what the parents get out of them. What they know about them, their eyebrow raises up, they might have stomach ache, or their toe gets itchy at three o’clock in the afternoon. Oh my goodness. Where would the doctors and nurses and everybody be without us? Cause they can’t understand our kids, they need us. The doctors will say, what’s wrong? One doctor said to Geoffrey, how intense is the pain? I said, what’s that word, intense? What does that mean?

Bernie Wood: 17:08 Parent carers give up their whole life. They don’t start caring when they’re 50 or 60 you start caring with the first breath and with the first breath of our kids, 99.9 it says income support. It says, no work, no engaged, no falling in love. No getting married. In some cases, yes it does, but on the whole, no, it doesn’t. Then you get the bright sparks, if I’m doing again an induction with whatever, training, doctors, nurses, the whole picture, and then they say ‘we believe people with learning disabilities, were all absolutely equal.’ Well my question to that is, would you marry one? Would you marry a woman who regurgitated her food every half an hour? No, you wouldn’t. So don’t be telling me you’re equal. Don’t ever, ever, ever tell me you’re equal, you’re not. But what you could do is befriend and care for somebody like my son and people like him. I’ll be your friend and do you know what? I’m going to be a really good friend to you. So let’s have the the honesty out there as well. So that’s the kind of things you learn as well. You learn all the time.

Vic T – host: 18:23 From when you helped to kick all this off, to now – are you still trying to fight misconceptions about people with special needs or severe learning disabilities. Are you still fighting that fight?

Bernie Wood: 18:36 Yes. Yes. We have come a long way. People with learning disabilities. It’s great getting recognised. Yeah. If you hear somebody shouting out in a weird way in the supermarket, ou don’t stare as much now as you used to do, cause our kids got locked away, you didn’t see them. Sadly, yeah, you’re still fighting. You’ve got all the new benefits system coming out. Now my job as well as doing here, my job is to write to the government which I do and our councillor Sir Richard Leese. We have quite good relationship. I am his favourite pain in the side and I will write to Richard if need help. I won’t email him and I won’t call, because I will write to him and I won’t write to him because somebody has been up all night with tooth ache, I will write to Richard Leese if a can’t get over it and I can’t get round and it becomes a fact and I need this guy to help me with this fact and help me he does.

Vic T – host: 19:34 You’d be surprised how easy it is to get an appointment and sit down with your local Councillor or MP and talk through your issues, ideas, concerns. I ask Bernie if she’d recommend you putting pen to paper to instigate the change you want to see.

Bernie Wood: 19:52 Yeah, but face to face is better. But while, as you know, I’ve got the gift of the gab anyway. We will advise but they don’t need it. We’re so good. Like I’ve said, we get what they need. If we do need to get a Councillor in on it, we will do. But you know, quite honestly, I mean Andy Burnham’s our patron for Thrive, but Andy knows, I don’t mither him and I don’t need him. I leave him to get on with his own projects, you know what I mean? And he’s working hard enough, raising money for the homeless anyways, so. I would like to mither him, but I won’t.

Vic T – host: 20:28 I absolutely love Bernie sass She’s so passionate about what she does and strive for the right results. I think we could all be a little bit more Bernie. But as we’ve heard, things don’t always happen smoothly. I want to know how Bernie picks herself up when times get tough,

Bernie Wood: 20:48 I think things have gone wrong health-wise. I had a stroke, so I picked myself up from that. Just last year I had a car accident with a drunk driver. I had to be cut out of the car. The stick, you can see the side of me now, I didn’t need a stick last year. I do need one now because my ankles was broke and the way I got over that and you might think, ‘oh I don’t know when people have a big traumatic crush like that’, cause I was in hospital six weeks then, rehabilitation, on crutches, a wheelchair and all that. And then a lot of people say, well ‘you’ll have all this trauma, these flashbacks and being counselling for two years to get over it….’ Well the way I go over that and I have got over it, right. The way I got over that was this young man and he wasn’t insured by the way, was a drunk driver at half past 9 in the morning.

Bernie Wood: 21:39 I was going to work. The way I’ve risen again from that is, by praying and hoping that that was his last drink and that my crash changed his life and if he’s got kids and a family, changed their lives, that their dad, won’t be drink driving anymore and that’s helped me. The way I work is getting my head okay. That’s what I work on and I only work on a daily basis. If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans for tomorrow. I don’t even think about tomorrow. I made the most of today and enjoy today if I can. If I come in here and I’m a bit off, the girls, the staff, they rally around and we all help each and we really have a good laugh. Over the years I’ve learned how to pick myself up. I am so independent, maybe sometimes to me own detriment.

Bernie Wood: 22:34 I’ve got a lot of faith, faith, not religion. I am a Christian. If can’t get round a load of stuff I’ll hand it over. I’m strong because my kids have helped me to be strong, and they’re strong. All my kids are strong because I didn’t… none of this… “If I’m up, you’re up, if I’m at work, you’re at work.’ No chance, no chance are my kids staying in bed and for today, they’re all okay.

Vic T – host: 22:59 I love that one of your things, big things is about looking after yourself, looking after your own head. People that are leading fantastic organisations forget look after themselves.

Bernie Wood: 23:08 Big mistake, big mistake. Cause if you don’t, you can’t do it with your heart properly. You can’t feel it. You can’t have the passion and the commitment, if you’re not feeling good about yourself. Now recently, here’s another example, I’d been to the doctors and she said, “you’ve got to have two new knees.”

Bernie Wood: 23:31 Not one, two. Forget it. Forget it! There’s no way I’m spending a load of time in hospital. A load of time rehabilitating, a load of time thinking that it might go wrong. So I thought, right not having it. One of my daughters, who lives here, I’ve got two living in America, one lives in Australia, one lives here. So I said our Lou, right, I’ve got to have two new knees and I’m not having them Lou. She said, ‘Right, let’s do some research mum, to help you.’ So instead of me coming in and saying, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to have two knees. What I’m going to do about it?’, I thought right ‘What am I going to do about it? ‘I’m going to find a bloody reason to help me! The biggest thing I’m going to do is lose weight, so that will give some relief from me knees, so that’s the first goal. Losing weight.

Vic T – host: 24:15 How are you getting on?

Bernie Wood: 24:15 Alright.

Vic T – host: 24:15 Good. How do you look after yourself?

Bernie Wood: 24:18 I look after myself by eating okay and sleeping okay. Two things, right? I have my smoothie every morning. I have vegetables and blueberries and all that in my neutra blaster, that’s three glasses of that first thing of the morning. I only drink water all day. I never drink tea. I will have one coffee a day, but I like water or anyway. And I’ll eat healthy anyway. I have a failing for chocolate. Easter was a mortal sin. I gave nothing up. Especially chocolate! But other than that, I am going to do it because my knees are going to get relief from weight. Abso-bloody-lutly.

Vic T – host: 25:06 I love this, it’s like the Bernie way of life. And it’s bloody paid off, look at you, you’re fantastic.

Vic T – host: 25:06 I’m going to talk about stuff that happened pre-Geoffery. What were you doing?

Bernie Wood: 25:13 Having a great time! (laughs)

Bernie Wood: 25:13 I was the secretary. That was my job before had the kids and stuff like that. When I had the kids I just did anything, part-time stuff. And the mother bit, that’s great. I’m geared to that, to be a mother. My kids give me a surprise party when I was sixty and I was just looking at the speech that the did, I had a copy of it in the office. It’s really good because my eldest daughter said, ‘we all talked about mom last night and said what we’re going to say in this speech tomorrow?’, And she said, ‘well, when people say what’s Bernie Wood about?’, She said, ‘we’re just going to say, her kids.’.

Vic T – host: 25:48 That’s lovely.

Vic T – host: 25:50 Bernie’s not only revered and celebrated by her children. She’s also received lots of accolades for her work. I’m really interested to hear what Bernie thinks of these awards. Like for example, getting the strong Manchester Women accolade.

Bernie Wood: 26:06 I’ve got to be perfectly honest with you, right, we’ve been to Buckingham Palace, we’ve done it all. In this centre now, in the hall, there’s a cabinet full of awards for Bernie Wood and not one bloody penny went with it. The only reason I accept anything that they do in the way of strong women awards or whatever, is for one reason only, to create awareness for parent carers. No of that reason at all. They are amazing. They are the most wonderful people on this God’s earth. So when we see parents reach… And we have, we’ve stopped suicide. We know there’s parents, who can say, ‘I’ve had enough, I’m popping my clocks and I’m taking him with me.’ Right? And they do it and that’s the way I looked at it, because to do. I don’t know how on a daily basis they get through their lives with all the problems that come.

Bernie Wood: 27:05 You think about it, people with physical handicap are really helpful to us because they can speak up. So I could say to somebody who’s got a physical handicap in a wheelchair, what’s it like in that wheelchair? Because my daughter here’s is in one and she can’t tell me. So you know, you can get really good help from that. These are good lessons to learn. Cause with our kids, if they’ve got no verbal communication and they’re screaming, what’d you do? You have to go from the top, have they got headache, ear ache, bum ache, periods? What’s causing this pain? Because this kid can’t tell ya. So parents, they have just got a multitude of stuff to do on a daily basis. But to look at ’em and when they come in here, you wouldn’t think it. Now here in Talbot House as well as doing all the statutory stuff, every thing the parents get here is free. No charge for anything. We have a pamper service, nail service, carers lunches, weekends away. And they get all that free. Now I know if there’s a parent that if there’s a parent sat having her nails done, she’s not thinking about the kid. So Talbot House for that minute, for that time, has relieved that carer.. So that’s the name of the game with Talbot House.

Vic T – host: 28:21 So with all those awards, you’ve got, I’ll have a look when I go out, those awards you’ve got in the cupboard and this, what’s been your biggest achievement?

Bernie Wood: 28:29 Buying the frock to go to Buckingham Palace! (laughs)

Bernie Wood: 28:42 Six hundred quid! For a frock!

Vic T – host: 28:44 Do you still wear it?

Bernie Wood: 28:47 No it’s wrapped up somewhere, but it was well worth it!

Bernie Wood: 28:54 The biggest achievement is still being here. That’s it, in a nutshell. Today is my biggest achievement. Getting out of bed, seeing to my lad, seeing him to the day service. Coming here and being available from all my staff and volunteers. That’s it.

Vic T – host: 29:12 Has Manchester helped. Could you see yourself being anywhere else?

Bernie Wood: 29:14 No, and I’m always proud to say I was born within the bells of the Town Hall! You know, like they say in London! Born and bred in Manchester, right. Rough Times. My mom and my family, really, really poor. But opportunities came along and I believe Manchester brought those opportunities and people were strong in Manchester. If you look at our history, it’s amazing. Rising up from…there was a place called Angel Meadow. It was the poorest place on earth, place where kids were shoved up chimneys and my mom was in the workhouse when she was only five years of age. So I came from a Mancunian born family that was strong. My mom was like… she was only little, but so was the atom bomb. Amazing woman. And my brothers and sisters have gone on to make good lives for themselves through Manchester’s opportunities. It’s a great city. Manchester,

Vic T – host: 30:13 I actually don’t want this interview to end. I could talk to Bernie for another hour, but we’re both incredibly busy women. You’ve heard all about the incredible things that Talbot House does. I asked Bernie how you can get involved and support the work that they’re doing here.

Bernie Wood: 30:30 Well, first of all, if you’re the parent of a son or a daughter with a severe learning disability, get down here, right? Because there isn’t nothing that we can’t help you with, absolutely anything we can help you with. The other thing is, if you want to do some volunteering. It’s a nice resource centre, but I need to keep it clean and painted and all that and I need people to meet and greet parents when they come in and give them a cuppa. So if you want to get involved, there’s loads of places, there’s day centres, schools or knock on the door. Do you need a volunteer? Just do it. Just do it! (laughs).

Vic T – host: 31:08 I’m going to leave it on that amazing note – with your slogans – I love them Bernie!

Vic T – host: 31:35 This podcast is inspired by the annual strong Manchester Women Campaign, which celebrates incredible women doing brilliant things. The 14 women profiled in this series were selected for the 2019 campaign. To find out more about all of the women featured in this podcast and the Strong Manchester Women Campaign. Visit the Pankhurst trust’s website, Pankhurst trust.org.

Vic T – host: 32:02 If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this episode, please see the show notes for links to helpful services including Talbot House. There’s also loads more about the podcast series and a full transcript over on our our website, MIC Media dot co dot uk forward slash strong Manchester Women podcast. Now, the love we’ve had so far for this series has been incredible. So if you’re enjoying the series or you have your own strong women’s stories to tell, we look, hear from you. You can tweet us, using the Hashtag strong mcr women. Or drop us a line through the contact form on the MIC media website. A big thanks to Manchester city council and the Pankhurst trust for supporting this podcast series. And a big thanks to Bernie.

Vic T – host: 33:07 The strong Manchester Women podcast is MIC Media Production, and is presented, produced and edited by me, Vic Elizabeth Turnbull. The series has been made possible through the Centenary City’s Legacy Fund.

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