NAC word cloudHow To Join The NAC

If you'd like to join the National Advisory Council (NAC) and represent the views of thalidomide survivors, you can find out what's involved in the election process and how to apply here.

What are the criteria to stand for election?

The NAC is made up of 11 beneficiaries who are all elected by the beneficiary community. You have to be a Thalidomide Trust beneficiary to stand as a candidate for an NAC election as it is important that it represents the views of thalidomide survivors. You also have to be a beneficiary to vote.

The election process

NAC Elections are held on an annual basis at the beginning of the year. The NAC Chair will write to beneficiaries (who have opted in to communications about elections) and ask them to consider standing for the upcoming election. This is your opportunity to express an interest in becoming a member. The amount of people who are elected onto the NAC will vary year on year depending on which current members have come to the end of their term. Once you've decided to stand you will be required to write a manifesto and complete a Declaration of Interest. Then it is up to your fellow beneficiaries to vote you in!

How do the terms work?

Terms currently last for 4 years once a member is elected onto the NAC. A member can re-stand once their 4 years is up, although at this point they will need to be voted back in by the beneficiaries.

A member can only serve 3 terms in a row. They will then have to stand down from the NAC for at least 1 year before re-standing.

beneficiaries at a thalidomide trust open day event to meet others and share information
NAC members Simone and Carolyn at a Trust Open Day event

Should I stand?

The NAC is always looking for new members to join them.

It is important that it is as representative and diverse as possible. If you have skills (technical, admin, voluntary, organisational just to name a few) that you think you could bring to the Trust and are passionate about being the voice for beneficiaries, then standing for the NAC is a great idea.

If you’re unsure we can always put you in touch with a current NAC member. They can talk to you about what it’s like to serve on the NAC and what is involved.

To help you decide whether to stand for the NAC, here's some direct feedback and advice from members:

Why stand for the NAC?

"....I wanted to use my skills to enhance the committee's range of skills in the particular area of emotional support for beneficiaries"

"I feel quite a strong bond with other disabled people, and particularly thalidomide affected people because we've got so much common history, and we face so many similar challenges in our lives......also getting to find out more about the Trust initiatives that were happening, which I thought were so positive that it made me interested in getting more involved.  The obvious way to do that was by being on the NAC."

What has been the most rewarding experience of being a NAC member so far?

"....getting to know another NAC members and their range of abilities and qualities"

"......getting a better understanding of what people in our thalidomide community have achieved, and what challenges they face today"

What are some of the most challenging aspects of being a NAC member?

"It has been challenging to basically “take it all in”! It takes a while to get the grasp of the working guidelines, understand the different aspects of the work the NAC does, both ongoing and new work planned for the future."

"The complexity of some issues can be challenging......This is because we have to agree the NAC position on some difficult issues, and there is such wide variation in the life circumstances across our 460 or so beneficiaries. For example we recently discussed Safeguarding policy, and we discussed Major Advances policy. You really have to concentrate hard to get your head around the implications of these things for people with all sorts of very different life circumstances."

What have been the main learning points?

"........there is a considerable workload. My learning has been around the range of work from meetings, calls, requests to be part of research steering groups, being interviewed/videoed etc. It would have been useful to have a quick summary of current ongoing work, and who was involved in what, so that I could get up to speed more quickly."

"There has been a lot to learn!  There is so much history to many of the issues we are dealing with.......I've learned not to make judgements too quickly, but instead ask questions before making my mind up.  Even if something appears to be wrong, it is best to first need to ask how it came about.  Very often you end up realising that although it seemed illogical at first glance, there were solid reasons for it being that way.  These reasons often relate to the wide variety of life circumstances across our beneficiary community.  Something that may make no sense to me, might be just right for another beneficiary."

Advice for beneficiaries wishing to stand for NAC roles

Ask the Trust if they can put you in touch with a current NAC member so that you can find out what's involved in detail, before you apply.

Use support from the NAC members to help prepare your manifesto, in particular the candidate statement.

Think carefully about what your skills and experiences are how these can be used to represent the interests of the beneficiary community.

I'd like to apply

If you’d like to stand for the NAC email Charlotte Black for details, or call on 01480 474074.

Charlotte Black