As I began setting up the Tree House and laying its foundations, I invited two other old school friends to join me and they both happily agreed. Robin McMeekin, bless his soul, voluntarily left after he realised his actions could have been quite damaging onto himself and the TH. He is very much a free spirit, doing as he pleases whilst being very outspoken with his views – some of which, other people thought were a bit extreme even though he was entitled to his own opinions. So the three of us became the two of us. Robin and his sense of humour are missed, by more than he realises.
The TH then continued to bloom and grow with all the nurturing each and every one put into it.
One day, when most of the admin team did not get their way and walked out like spoilt brats – one of whom went as far as to mimick her house mate’s tendancy to put themselves into hospital. Kirsty Vessey (nee McMullan) then stepped in and tried to make me think we could not do without them. This was the first warning sign I had that things were not going to be plain sailing any more.
Of course, we could do without them, especially if they were going to be so self-centred / absorbed / power mad – so let them go and make way for other team members instead who might do even better (who knows?) To their demands they had made via Kirsty, I made my own of which soon transpired were not relayed but swept under the rug to appease them, just so they would come back. This was the first mistake she made.
Therefore, it was inevitable that there would be a next time that they wanted their own way once again, except I would not let anyone manipulate me this time around. They could not understand my position as the legal founder and owner, that I had the last say in how I wanted to protect the TH and see it performing. I wrote a blog called “Stop Online Abuse” to speak out as it had been going on for far too long in the deaf world across social media, far too many others also behave in this manipulative way in order to achieve what they want. By trying to provide a platform to try to bridge the gaps between and unite both the deaf and hearing worlds, the last thing I would tolerate was people from within my own community turning on their own.
They took over another group belonging to the Tree House and renamed it. Only then to set up their own when people realised what they had done. I was not going to take this second or third attempted takeover bid laying down – I reported them with hard evidence to make them stop harassing, bullying and manipulating me, also via my friends. They predictably went around mutual friends in a bid to get them to leave the TH, to abandon and to turn them against me. I had several witnesses who could vouch what was happening and these witnesses made me feel slightly vindicated. They were telling everyone (confirmed by Michelle Hedley) that I was doing all this and that when I had not – I had learnt a very, very, long time ago not to allow anyone to use anything against me… Yet still, I was wronged and being wronged. For what? Doing the right things as the legal owner. Even when I publicly thanked everyone for their time, patience and contributions which made the TH what it is, I was still being given grief.
One of them, Richard Turner, had the nerve to turn it all against me by using the famous animal farm quote when he was potentially the engineer behind it all as the team was more or less made up of who he wanted on the team and what events he wanted or did not want to do which was also under his influence. And because of that, I decided it was no longer necessary to have a dedicated events team as the members themselves could be encouraged and empowered to create and do events as they wished.
My mother saw this very quote he posted that was directed at me so she relatively slammed him right back down, accusing him of bullying me and clarified that the animal farm quote, was actually who “they” were being.
I am going to attach some of the evidence which will speak for itself, how they behaved so you can see for yourself just how despicable they were being as I am tired and have had quite enough, of being browbeaten. Tired of seeing my friends suffering too at the hands of their unreasoning and logic(!).
My friends were being unfriended / blocked for not taking his/their sides and for quite simply, being friends with me. Their rightful choice?
Even stooped as low to go down the route, using a form of monstering to make me look like the “baddie”.
The last straw was when the Ward-McLaughlans involved my daughter.
Everyone that knows me knows I will say it like it is – which is nothing but the truth….. Shame on those who run around destroying people, (and those who condoned their actions) it makes them out to be a psycho or perhaps more appropriately sociopaths.
Around the same time as reporting some of the unsavoury behaviour by “others”, “friends” (from the same circle) took it upon themselves to involve my daughter by deciding that we were no longer welcome as part of an organised group outing, an event via the Tree House – that we could not watch “Peter Pan” by Chickenshed, with them when I had already paid for our tickets.
The point at the time was that two of these “friends” who are well-known to Chickenshed therefore they were bringing Chickenshed into disrepute by deciding themselves that I and my daughter could not come to watch a show by Chickenshed. Lizzie Ward-McLaughlan (also known as Elizabeth Ward) and her husband, Daniel Ward-McLaughlan, did not even give me a chance or the choice, to ask whether I wanted the tickets myself to sell on at face value so I could get my money back or if I/we still wanted to go… They simply decided for us and that, we were no longer welcome. Just like that?! All due to their personal bias and manipulation / influence from others – they all, also went around spreading lies to deter people from using the Tree House and to destroy me by defaming my character.
They wanted particular details to send me, my refund but I was suspicious that they would use my private details for other reasons and so I refused to share that and requested the refund be donated to a charity instead with proof of receipt for my records. This made losing the money for the tickets I bought, that bit less painful.
Of course, I decided to report them to Chickenshed because this was wrong and extremely unfair, especially on my daughter who was looking forwards to going out on a wintry night to watch a Christmas pantomime amidst the christmas cheer. Stuff like this, for children, is what memories are made of but then again “they” all didn’t have any children so “they” would never understand the disappointment, responsibilities and priorities I had.
I sent Chickenshed all the hard evidence and correspondence I had experienced, asking Chickenshed to make “them” stop in their tracks and to make them think of the consequences their actions were having, on Chickenshed too.
Chickenshed very kindly took it all on board and offered me two tickets out of goodwill, for another performance instead. Which was very much appreciated at the time and we were extremely grateful for. Result!
A drop of kindness goes a long way and it does not do any harm…
If you experience any kind of manipulation, oppression or bullying in any sense at all – always report them especially with hard evidence. I have had qualms in the past about reporting people but it is the only way to get them to reflect upon their behaviour by exposing them. And sometimes reporting them will actually make them stop misbehaving and improvements being made to their code of conduct and policies – one example (of several) follows;
“Dear Sara Jae,
RE: Complaint of Harassment and Bullying Behaviour (Reference number: withheld for privacy)
Thank you for bringing to our attention your concerns with regard to our recently elected Trustee and long term volunteer Mr Richard Turner and a new volunteer with Action on Hearing Loss, Eloise Garland.
I have investigated your complaint in depth in accordance with our complaints policy and I have examined the relevant documents supplied and these have been discussed and reviewed with Richard and Eloise as part of my investigation.
My investigation considered two specific areas:-
- The actions of Richard and Eloise as volunteers of Action on Hearing Loss including that of Trustee in Richard’s case.
- Whether or not it is appropriate for Action on Hearing Loss to comment on discussions within a social media context over which we have no authority and where people comment within a personal capacity.
Before advising of the outcome of my investigation it is appropriate to provide information regarding our Trustee Board.
Our Trustee Board comprises nominated and elected Trustees. An elected Trustee is a person who puts forward their name, is then nominated by a member and is then subject to election by our membership. The election is overseen by the Electoral Reform Service and the person with a majority of votes is duly elected to the vacant position. Provided the person meets standards outlined by the Charity Commission and Companies House they are appointed. Action on Hearing Loss and the Board of Trustees have no right of veto over an elected Trustee. One of our strengths as a charity is having a mix of nominated professionals and elected supporters as Trustees. Richard is one of our newly elected Trustees.
With regard to both points therefore I have concluded the following:-
- Action on Hearing Loss has noted with concern the distress caused by various comments made by RT. However these comments were not made in a capacity as a volunteer for Action on Hearing Loss they were the comments of RT and EG as private individuals. Therefore we do not consider it is appropriate to take any formal action at this stage. RT has not breached any rules as a trustee (which is also a volunteer role in Action on Hearing Loss). However it is apparent that the language used at times in these communications could be seen as inflammatory and misleading. We therefore recognise the need to emphasise to RT and EG along with all our volunteers the requirement to separate any personal comments and any indication that these are the views of Action on Hearing Loss. I shall also follow up with advice to RT and EG and all volunteers the need to be aware that language used in Social Media should be constructed in a way that demonstrates respect to people at all times. To this end we will review and update the following documents and policies:-
– Our Volunteer Handbook
– Our Induction Training for Trustees
– Our Social Media Policy
– Our Bullying and Harassment Policy
- As a national charity with over 1400 volunteers, on this occasion we do not consider it appropriate to comment on whether inappropriate behaviour has taken place on an independent forum. For example people do sometimes use social networking sites and forums and other forms of social media to air their grievances which appears to have been the case on both sides in these instances. People also see social media as a channel for free speech and there can be confusion over what is acceptable behaviour in the use of social media. Both parties have had disagreements about things relating to the Tree House site and related activities and have aired these disagreements publicly on this site and forum which has caused further disagreement and distress between parties.
I know from your correspondence with me that you have been upset and distressed and I very much appreciate you having raised your concerns with us and will take the actions identified above to safeguard against a repetition of this nature. We are also pleased to note that you will continue to support the Charity and the work of Action on Hearing Loss. Finally I would like to reassure you that we will continue to deal with complaints with the utmost seriousness and investigate fully in accordance with our policies.
(name kept anonymous for privacy)
Action on Hearing Loss (Formerly RNID)”
As for NADP?? Well, I am not going to hold my breath for sure since they elected themselves in and ran it to the ground. Any bets on when I will hear from them? 😛