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March 2nd 2000

Thanet Adders Quits Alliance

Thanet ADDers, the on the ground support arm of last night quit from the Advisory Committee of the new UK Alliance of Support Groups.

As one of the founding groups, Thanet ADDers of Broadstairs, Kent, decided to split from the committee set up to steer the new body forward.

Caroline Hensby, co-founder of Thanet ADDers and its spokesperson on the Alliance Committee said, "It upsets me to think that Contact a Family, the charity, I, Kathy West and Ben Leete asked to help us set up this new Alliance in the UK 3 years ago has let us down so badly. They have railroaded the whole process and taken all control out of the hands of the very people who should be benefiting from it."

"We approached CaF to help us and initially everything seemed to be going fine. They were a great help in obtaining a grant of over 97,000 from the Dept., of Health for a Project Worker to help co-ordinate all the groups up and down the country. Meetings were held and it was decided a steering group made up of representatives from each area of the country would have a say in the appointment. Without notice CaF went ahead with employing someone who did not have a great in depth knowledge of AD/HD."

"We weren't particularly happy but decided to give the new worker, Mr. Jim Hedgeland a chance. After all, the support groups themselves don't have access to a penny of the 97,000 grant, CaF have total control."

"However, we in Thanet saw very little evidence of what this new Project Worker was actually doing and further problems followed including the banning from the CaF offices of a very hard working protagonist for AD/HD, Bob Breen, for apparently being rude to a CaF member of staff. We don't believe Bob was rude but what worries me is that this is supposed to be an Alliance of groups dealing with ADHD and many members are quite likely going to be adult sufferers, who are impulsive, often outspoken, blurting things out without thinking. Who else will be barred from membership? If they take on the handling of a group say for sufferers of Epilepsy are they going to ban people who have an epileptic fit?"

"The last straw for us was the new Project Worker, taking it upon himself to write to a BBC researcher, and apparently claiming to be the national spokesperson for all groups around the country signing himself the "ADHD National Co-ordinator" on paper headed "The National ADHD Alliance".

Bob Breen, chairman and founder of ADDept Yorkshire ADHD & Learning Ability Support Group was outraged at the fact that Mr. Hedgeland was talking to the media apparently on behalf of all AD/HD groups in the country, "he can't do that, the Alliance hasn't even been formed yet!" he said today. Commenting further on his expulsion from the CaF building on 10th February 2000, Bob said, "I refute the allegation, put my letter up and the one from Harry Marsh of CaF and let people decide". Click here for those letters and click here for Mr.Hedgeland's letter and our response.

Simon Hensby for

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