BIG is run by a Team where 100% of our Board Members and Staff have a lived experience of mental health issues. This is one of the core philosophies of BIG; a mental health service run by mental health consumers for mental health consumers.
David has been a foundational member of Bayside Initiatives Group Inc. (BIG) since its inception in the late 90s and has played an instrumental role in our Peer Support Community for many years. On a strategic level, David has not only served on our Board of Management in just about every position, but has been a financial member of BIG, a regular attendee of our Annual General Meetings and has participated in numerous strategic planning sessions throughout BIG’s history - helping to not only shape the organisation on business level, but the culture of the community itself.
But on a deeper level, David has played an incredibly special role of friend, mentor and Peer Supporter for countless Community Members throughout the years. Offering both fellowship and support, as well as the wisdom and unique perspective of someone with deep insight into a lived experience of mental ill health and a recovery-oriented approach to mental health care. With a diverse professional career including work with QLD Health on the Home-based Acute Care Team as well as a deep involvement in the day-to-day running and operations of BIG - Dave offers the Board an incredible range of skills and knowledge as we move forward as an organisation into the future
Secretary: Kay Ellis
Kay signed on as Secretary of Bayside Initiatives Group in April 2019. Prior to joining BIG, initially as a consumer and member, Kay provided support to the legal profession as a paralegal for many years. She brings to the organisation a lived experience and a keen interest in supporting the members in an empathetic and caring manner.
Treasurer: Ken Meldrum
Ken has been involved in the health arena for the last 40 + years across a range of environments, 30+ years with mental health. He has also been a volunteer President for the Boards of a local Non Government not-for-profit Human Services Network and a Mental Health Support Service, so is aware of many of the issues that impact on organisations such as BIG. Ken is currently also the Volunteer Treasurer for the Australian Men’s Health Forum, the Lead National Agency for men’s health and wellbeing issues.
Harley is 21 years old and has served as a General Board Member on BIG’s Board of Management since December of 2017. As a young person experiencing mental illness, Harley has volunteered with BIG and other mental health services and is an active member of Headspace Woolloongabba’s Youth Reference Group. He brings with him his unique perspective as a Youth Advisor on BIG’s Board as well as a rich and diverse lived experience which informs everything that we do at BIG.
The lived experience and wisdom of all people who come to BIG is invaluable. We promote a culture of wellbeing based on acknowledgement, acceptance and understanding of all people who come through our door. It is that ethos that drove me to become a member of the Board of Management after a few years of volunteering. I believe in what BIG is all about, it is a community of people who understand mental health that support one another. BIG has been crucial in my recovery journey and provides an essential service like nothing else. What sets us apart from other organisations is that we are a peer led and peer run service, meaning that we understand mental health and mental health recovery in a way that clinical services cannot.
Susan is a Life Member of Bayside Initiatives Group and played an instrumental role the in the inception and development of the service. Since our humble beginnings meeting on people’s verandahs, to becoming an Incorporated Association in 2001, to where we are today as Redland City’s only fully peer-operated mental health service. Susan spent the last 7 years of her career as a Carer Consultant at QLD Health Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services and has been the forefront leader of carer’s support in the Redlands. She's been an incredibly strong advocate for our peer support community and has played a significant role in our growth and development over the last 20 years. Susan has been a mental health carer herself for over 20 years and brings a lived experience of great wisdom and “big picture” perspective to BIG's Board of Management. She has been a driving force behind the Bayside Consumer and Carer Advisory Group, the longest running independent CAG in Queensland, ensuring that the voices of both consumers and carers are heard in the development and delivery of mental health services in the Bayside.
Coordinaator: Samuel Walker
Samuel Walker is a lived experience practitioner and the Coordinator of BIG. Samuel stepped into the lead role at BIG in late 2017 and has undertaken significant reforms of the service, revitalised BIG’s programming and developed a culture of peer support and recovery. Prior to his role as Coordinator, Samuel was employed as a Peer Worker at BIG, walking alongside people who experience mental ill-health and supporting them on their journey of recovery.
Lived-experience practice is Samuel’s focus area and he’s a strong advocate for the growth and development of the peer workforce. He is a recent graduate of the Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship where he and his project group were awarded the Jackie Crowe Memorial Prize for their work on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Intergenerational Trauma. Samuel also facilitates the Belong LGBTIQA+ Group at BIG - the Redlands only queer support space. He is also serving his second term on the Board of the Redlands Community Centre, the lead agency in Redland City for homelessness and emergency relief for some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens.
Deeply committed to the Peer Movement, he is excited to bring his unique perspective to the BIG Community and develop his own leadership skills to support better mental health outcomes for the Redlands community as a whole.