Bob Twitchin Chair of AbilityNet ITCanHelp Retires

Abilitynet's ITCanHelp service provides IT support to disabled people in their homes and Bob Twitchen has been a central figure in its development for many years. It became part of AbilityNet last year but Bob and his colleagues have spent almost 20 years setting up and running this service completely voluntarily. Bob has now resigned as Chair of ITCanHelp, due to ill health, and asked that we publish this extract is from his resignation letter:

"For some time my own health and that of my wife has been deteriorating and, with great regret, I have decided that the time has come for me to step down from the Chair of the Steering Group and from taking an active part in the work of ITCanHelp.

It has been a great pleasure and privilege to have worked with so many committed and enthusiastic volunteers in all roles throughout ITCanHelp since the mid 1990s.  All of us who knew Ken Stoner were inspired by his vision, fuelled by his own experience, of the isolating effects of disability and the transforming effect that being able to use computers could have for severely disabled people. Ken was not just inspired, he also worked very hard at the detailed organisation of ITCanHelp and the processes and procedures to support and organise the work of enthusiastic volunteers. Over the years so many others have given and continue to give great dedication and commitment to the work.

Although ITCanHelp has been unusual in the amount of responsibility taken by volunteers, we have had great support from BCS and more recently from AbilityNet and am grateful to all those who have supported our work. Continued participation in planning and operations by volunteers with experience of organising and providing support to clients is vital for the future success of ITCanHelp.

To try to thank everyone by name now would be impossible, but I do want to mention particularly the members of the Management/Steering Group in the last three years, who have worked together with people in BCS and AbilityNet to set up ITCanHelp as a key part of AbilityNet Volunteering. Josie and Anne have been towers of strength, and it has been good to see relationships developing with other people in AbilityNet, for example on marketing, training, press office support and fundraising.

2014 will be the twentieth anniversary of the creation of ITCanHelp as a pilot project in three English Counties, and I do hope it may be possible to celebrate this milestone, perhaps with some event to commemorate the work done over the years and the effect this has had on the lives of our clients.

It is good to see that the work is continuing to grow and develop as ICT and the on-line world become ever more essential in people’s lives. I look forward to keeping in touch and hearing of continued success in the future."

With thanks and best wishes to everyone
Bob Twitchin BSc FBCS CITP