Strong Manchester Women
7: Bernie Wood
Sep 3, 2019 · 34 min
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In 1978, this Strong Manchester Woman’s life changed forever. It was the year her youngest son Geoffrey was born. Geoffrey has Down’s syndrome and Bernie struggled to cope. That was until she came across a unique support service, designed for especially for mums like her.

In this episode, your host Vic Elizabeth Turnbull speaks to Bernie Wood, the general manager of Talbot House, a brilliant, user-led support service for parents carers of children with severe learning disabilities. The service is based in North Manchester and is ran by Bernie, who’s 80 years old and has been doing this for 40 years - and shows no sign of slowing down!

Trigger Warning - in this episode we discuss some sensitive issues, including suicide. So, if you think that this episode could affect your mental health, then please do skip it.

Bernie talks passionately about,

  • the reality of giving birth to a disabled child in the 1970’s
  • what life’s really like as a parent carer
  • using humour as a way to keep going
  • the importance of staying healthy in order to be able to help others
  • writing to the government to instigate change
  • the human-side of caring for a disabled child
  • hitting rock bottom and picking herself back up
  • visiting Buckingham Palace and what winning awards really mean to her

“Get Mam and Dad’s heads ok and the kids will be ok”.  Bernie Wood

Links and information

  • The amazing service that Bernie runs is Talbot House, they support families of people with learning disabilities. Visit their website here for more info, including how to visit, donate or support. 

  • If you’re not around the Greater Manchester area, there’s links to other services here

  • Write to your local councillor, MP or MEP - this helpful website will tell you who they are and send the message for you

Read the full transcript of this episode here 

Listen to other Strong Manchester Manchester Women podcast episodes visit,

Strong Manchester Women 

The podcast is inspired by the annual Strong Women campaign. The 14 women profiled in this podcast were selected for the 2019 campaign. For more information about the women visit The Pankhurst Trust’s website.

Produced, edited and artwork by MIC Media

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Released 11th September

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