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New Lord Mayor to raise money for Inclusive Exeter

Published: 19 May 2021

Inclusive Exeter Inclusive Exeter

Cllr Trish Oliver will use her term in office as the new Lord Mayor of Exeter to raise money for Inclusive Exeter, a small community interest company which works with people from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

The organisation runs a range of projects supporting people from Black and ethnic minority communities, aiming to improve relationships between communities, reducing isolation and fostering better integration with the wider community.

Cllr Oliver said: “Our fine city has a proud history of welcoming people, and Inclusive Exeter are continuing this tradition, most recently with their support for ethnically diverse families who have been particularly badly affected by Covid-19.

Lord Mayor and Charity

“I first came across Inclusive Exeter through my work on the grants panel. What struck me about them was how very carefully each penny was accounted for, and how much they achieved with so little. As Covid struck, I was grateful they were there to reach people in Exeter who might otherwise have gone to bed hungry - Inclusive Exeter delivered food parcels for to the city’s ethnic minority families and also to the wider community.

“As Lockdown led to loss of job and income, Inclusive Exeter saw some people from our ethnic minority communities really struggling to get support, due to a lack of internet access, lack of familiarity with our culture, and language difficulties, leaving them vulnerable and destitute. They set up a Drop-In Support Service to help.  This is a group that will do whatever it takes to help our diverse communities live well in Exeter and that is why I am delighted to be working with them,” she added.

Trish was born in Solihull but moved to Hereford when she was just a toddler. The family moved to the Isle of Man when she was seven and her last visit there was five years ago at the height of the Syrian crisis, when she and Syrian refugee Baraa Kouja, went over to raise awareness of the plight of the Syrian people.

At 18, Trish left the Isle of Man to study in Sheffield, gaining an honours degree in Communication Studies. As a student she met and married her husband Rob and last year they celebrated their Ruby Anniversary. They have three grown up sons, Joseph, Aaron and Luke.

After graduating, Trish worked in some of the old asylums for people with mental health issues and the new acute psychiatric wards in general hospitals, becoming, and working as, a registered nurse. This experience has stayed with her, and fuelled her long term interest in mental health.

Whilst in Sheffield, Trish and Rob were part of Oxfam’s “Hungry for Change” campaign. Both retain their interest and Trish is now on the Exeter Fairtrade Steering Group.

In 1988 Trish went on maternity leave for 6 months, ended up having 3 children in five years and moved to Cornwall, taking six years off from paid work. Those times she describes as the happiest and hardest of her life. She returned to work as a ward assistant on the children’s ward at Treliske hospital, working around her husband’s shifts.

A move to Exeter in 1997 gave Trish the chance to gain a PGCE teaching qualification at St Luke’s Campus, Exeter University. She then taught at Pinhoe School, with her young sons assisting with her lesson plans.

She has also worked in a variety of settings providing support for families with children with special needs, and has a keen interest in autism.

Trish loves live music, the thing she has missed most in lockdown, and reading and writing. To keep active last year, she did a Nordic Walking course, and is now a keen Nordic walker, which she finds a great way to enjoy nature, whilst protecting her arthritic knees.

Trish first became interested in politics when her Dad gave her a ten shilling note to celebrate TedHeath winning an election. She never expected to become a councillor but is glad to be part of Exeter City Council - where she represents the Pinhoe ward -  and is surprised and proud to find herself Lord Mayor.

She is pleased to be working with Councillor Ian Quance as Deputy Lord Mayor, and is excited to be going to meet Exeter people from all walks of life over the next year.

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