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About us

The Ark is committed to improve the quality of life and provide opportunities for people with disabilities, the disadvantaged and those that support them by encouraging their active participation in their community.

Aims

  • To support people through information, advice and advocacy. Advocacy means people are able to have their voice heard and their views are listened to about their lives.
  • To provide activities in a relaxed atmosphere to stop people being lonely and encourage people to better themselves, such as their improve health and well-being.
  • Support people to do things in the wider community.
  • To support social and financial independence through education, employment and training.
  • To develop a strong, lasting organisation.

History

The Ark Trust based in Bracknell Forest began over 30 years ago. It has developed from being an arts based disability charity to providing a wider range of services; mainly for people aged 16 years and over.

Our Vision

  • Respect for the principles of tolerance, honesty, integrity, trust and decency.
  • Promote equal rights and opportunities for all people.
  • Encourage our community to recognise the contributions all people can make to the community.
  • Provide good, suitable services for people.
  • Working with others and build good skills to meet peoples needs.

Our Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries means the people that use or could use our services. We have used people in this document instead of beneficiaries.

We work with and help people with disabilities and/or long term health conditions, carers and young people not in education, employment or training in the South East of England; with a focus on the East Berkshire area.

Staff

Andrea McCombie
Andrea McCombieChief Executive
Coming from a background of finance and then moving into the community and voluntary sector, Andrea has been the Chief Executive since 2003 and has managed the organisation through a period of great change. Social responsibility and justice are core values. As well as financial qualifications Andrea has a BSc (Hons) in Combined Social Sciences: Social Policy and is currently studying for a MSc in Development Management with a focus on innovative practice in health and social care. She also has a level 4 qualification in teaching in adult education and takes responsibility for education and training for the organisation.
Mark Sanders
Mark SandersAssociate Chief Executive
Mark has worked in health and social care for 30 years including 8 years with the local authority as the Development Manager for Learning Disabilities; implementing transformation and change management within the council and externally. He left this role to take up his position within The Ark Trust and is the operational lead on Healthwatch and the organisation’s care and support services. Mark is currently studying for a Level 4 qualification in Managing Information, Advice & Guidance services. He also has a level 7 qualification in Business Management.
Chris Taylor
Chris TaylorCommunications and Systems Manager
Chris has a contract management, finance and ICT background. He has been with the organisation since the beginning of the Healthwatch contract. He is responsible for the organisation’s ICT and communication systems and processes. Chris is currently studying for a BSc (Hons) in Computing and IT. Chris also has a Level 3 award in Education and Training.
We also have one full time Community Engagement Worker, two part-time Administrators, a full time Support and Activities Coordinator, Freelance Tutors and Volunteers.
Volunteers are vital to our organisation

Our funders

Money has come from; Local Authorities, European Funding, Town and Parish Councils, Trusts and Foundations, Business fundraising, Health agencies and organisations.

Current Activities


  • Local Healthwatch in Bracknell Forest and The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Local Healthwatch collects people’s views about health and social care services and tells commissioners and providers what people think and directs people relating to health and social care.
  • Signal for Carers helps unpaid carer’s with support, information and advice.
  • Term-time informal education sessions with a focus on creative arts and one off training.
  • Festival Green Machine provides supported volunteering at music festivals.
  • The Umbrella providing relationship education.
  • Supported volunteering with our organisation.
  • Small individualised day service.
  • EbE a peer led group who review health and care services.
  • Friday Night Project, a weekly social club.
  • Project 73 peer led support and activities group for people with autism.
  • Holidays and days out.
Visit activities in the menu to find our more.