Shelley’s roots go deep in IHC
Former IHC Vice President Shelley Payne was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s Honours, for services to people with intellectual disabilities.
It was recognition of the 23 years during which Shelley used her energy, business acumen, courage and warm good humour at every level of IHC.
The Tauranga hotel owner joined IHC in 1995 and she became involved because of her son Ryan. Ryan had multiple disabilities and Shelley was determined that he would have the best life he could have.
But Shelley’s roots with the organisation go deeper than that. Her uncle Guy Ivil had Down syndrome and his father – Shelley’s grandfather Lawrence Ivil – became the first president of the New Plymouth branch of IHC in the 1950s.
When Lawrence and Shelley’s father Kerrin died within a short time of each other, her uncle Guy and her mother Nola came to live in Tauranga with Shelley and her husband Geoff. Guy then moved into IHC residential services in Mt Maunganui.
It was Nola who first joined the local branch of IHC and encouraged Shelley to get involved. The rest is history. By 1997 Shelley was President of IHC Mid-Bay of Plenty Branch. By 2002, she was working at a national level on the IHC New Zealand Board of Governance.
Self-advocacy was Shelley’s passion and her experiences with Guy and Ryan helped her to connect with the self-advocates – individuals with intellectual disabilities who wanted a greater say over how they lived their lives. This was the time when people with intellectual disabilities were moving out of institutions and living life in communities.
Shelley’s role as a director of IDEA Services Ltd was to present Shelley with one of the toughest challenges of her time with IHC. In 2010 IDEA Services went into voluntary statutory management as it could not afford to pay workers court-ordered backpay for sleepover shifts. As a director of a company facing substantial personal risk, Shelley nevertheless supported the statutory management process.
“That statutory management period was a moment in time when much could have been lost, or we were going to move forward into something much stronger.” Shelley says the development of the IHC property portfolio – building on the hard work of many families over many years – has given IHC the financial stability it needs. “The property portfolio will ensure that IHC will be there for as long as parents want it to be there.”
While Ryan’s multiple disabilities meant he was never able to live independently, Shelley wanted her son to have options. Ryan moved to an IHC residence when he was 21 and shared accommodation with four young men and loved it. She says he became “an absolutely different Ryan”.
“They actually find that little sense of independence. I was over-mothering and over-protecting and making all his choices. But here was this whole other person tucked away.”
Shelley chaired the Self-Advocacy Advisory Committee of the IHC Board for 12 years and she was determined that the voices of those with disabilities would come through to Board as an authentic source of advice about the community services IHC provided.
Shelley was also working hard in the Bay of Plenty. She committed to a new organisation – the Arohanui Art and Education Trust. The Trust was a community vocational service delivering individually tailored programmes to people with disabilities. Shelley was a Trustee from the time it started in 1999 and Chair from 2003 until the present time. Ryan attended the Arohanui studio in Te Puke for nine years until his death in 2011.
Shelley retains her connection with IHC as a Trustee of the IHC Foundation.
Above: Shelley Payne has devoted her life to making sure people with intellectual disabilities can live the best lives they can.
This story was published in Strong Voices. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members.
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