We were very sad and shocked to learn of the death of Breakthrough volunteer, client and women’s peer group member, Jane Annis, earlier this month. Jane has been a big part of Breakthrough for several years, working closely with so many of us on different projects.
Jane was a massive part of the Women’s Side by Side Peer Group, promoting it whenever she could – our You Tube channel includes a video she made earlier this year about the group. During lockdown, the women’s group grew very close, supporting each other through the very strange situation we all became part of, and that members were going through together. She was always there for others in the group – giving support, sharing information and making everyone laugh.
Most recently, Jane had been volunteering on our Pathway courses, balancing this with other voluntary work in a school, and with her self-employment.
An additional area where she contributed greatly was within our influencing work. Jane was a great advocate for disabled people’s rights. She would often get in touch with suggestions of causes to get involved in – as well as sharing information and opportunities that might be useful for other disabled people.
She was especially keen to make sure that voices were raised about unfair treatment in the benefits system. Just last month, she contributed to our response to the DWP’s health and disability consultation. Jane has been involved in several policy projects here over the years, including a ministerial meeting. Jane would often check out and give feedback to local venues about their access too, making suggestions on what they could change.
Another thing about Jane which really shone was her humour. She could make a joke about any situation. You could always tell when she was around because there would be so much laughter.
Recently, Jane had been working with Jess on our new Health Connecting Project. Jess said:
“Jane was a bundle of joy to work with. Although we only met a handful of times, we had calls almost every week which would last up to an hour. She would have me laughing telling me the stories about her mischievous cats, and of course her contagious giggle. The progress I saw from Jane through our conversations as well as the times we went out together was huge, she never gave herself enough credit for what she was able to accomplish. An example of this was when she joined an online confidence building course, LAB, for 2 weeks which was a massive commitment, other clients from Breakthrough were also on this and fed back about how much positive energy to brought to the group.
I am honoured to have worked with Jane. She was one of the first clients I spoke to and I have the utmost admiration for her.”
Vicky, who supports the women’s peer group, added;
“An absolute honour to work with and will be extremely missed by us all – especially that laugh. And there’s going to be a massive hole in Breakthrough. I feel like not only have we lost a client, we have lost a good friend as well”.
Jane will be missed, so very much, by all of us