Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) is a membership organisation run by and for disabled people.
We have 3500 members across Greater Glasgow - and counting!
A lot of guys my age might say that their favourite thing in the world is their bed, cause they like to lie around in it, playing games or watching TV. Me, I love my bed because I can get myself up and out of it. This bed changed my life!
"GDA understands the barriers. They provide transport and personal assistance - that's what allows me to be part of society, part of Scotland". Idrees (26) GDA member
GDA Purple Poncho Players: Telling it Like it is!
GDA supports members to speak out about disability issues every chance we get! Our Purple Poncho Players take it to the next level, using music, comedy and drama to depict their own real life experiences on stage, for audiences of policy makers, service managers, and government officials.
Their sketches show powerful personal stories of the barriers disabled people face - they show disabled people's experiences of welfare reform, isolation, hate crime and prejudice, as well as the difference it can make having the right support, social connections, choice and control in our lives.
One of GDA’s 7 founder members, Tressa has been our CEO since 2006, steering GDA from its fledgling vision of supporting disabled people’s voices, confidence, choice and control in 2001, to the multi-award-winning community of 3500+ we are today.
Passionate about equality and human rights, Tressa has dedicated her working life to supporting community voices and participation. She led a specialist Independent Living service within Glasgow Social Services – paving the way for self-directed support - then was manager of Gorbals Community Forum.
Tressa co-Chairs Glasgow Independent Living Strategy Board and represents GDA on Glasgow and Scotland wide working groups.
Senior Development Manager, Depute CEO
As depute CEO, Marianne's role involves strategic, policy and partnership work as well as direct delivery of programmes. She leads on our work with young disabled people and has particular expertise in training and accessible information.
Marianne has worked in the disability sector for over 25 years, and was a founder member of GDA before coming to work here in 2010. She is also on the board of Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL).
Marianne is passionate about social history and is currently researching the history of her street and local area. She loves Doc Martens, going to music gigs, Sci-fi and confesses to being a bit of an IT geek!
Finance Manager (part-time)
Linda has been keeping GDA's cogs turning since we first received funding in 2008. She has worked in the Third Sector for over 20 years: from a Recycling Project in Castlemilk to being a Manager of a Community Resource Centre with 17 staff. She first worked with Tressa Burke at the Gorbals Community Forum for 5 years before finally working at GDA.
Linda is a mother of 3 and a grandmother of 7 and loves Holidaying in Las Vegas, reading, knitting and dancing. She much prefers numbers to words - despite this she is currently learning to speak Italian!
Brian is GDA’s resident expert on employability: he has worked in this area in both the public and third sectors for over 30 years! He is passionate about offering training and coaching to support disabled people to achieve their goals of accessing employment, training and volunteering.
Working with GDA partners on a range of issues - from adult protection, poverty and hate crime - Brian supports GDA members to make sure the views and voices of disabled people inform policy and practice.
Brian loves spending time with his daughters and grandchildren but also likes to escape to the great outdoors for cycling and fishing.
Sandra joined team GDA in 2013, with around 30 years’ experience in the fields of social care, disability and mental health. She feels very much at home at GDA, with our focus on justice and equality using human rights based approaches.
Sandra leads on our work with older disabled people and those with long term conditions. She also works with many partner networks, making sure GDA members' voices are heard by decision makers at local and national levels, on key areas such as Human Rights, Self Directed Support, and the Equalities Act. In her spare time, Sandra likes running and going to Bootcamp, in all weathers, but especially when it snows!
Office Admin Manager / PA to Tressa Burke (p/t)
Alison joined GDA in 2011 having previously worked as Office Manager for an insurance broker and as school secretary for around 9 years. She became GDA's Office Manager in 2015, overseeing all admin duties. And with disabled people needing access and support to take part in programmes, there's a lot to be organised!
Alison particularly enjoys the challenge of working in such a diverse and ever changing environment. Outside of work, Alison really enjoys travelling, the further the better! She loves learning about new places, people, cultures, and foods.
Community Development Coordinator
Ruth joined the GDA team in 2015 as Marianne's PA and team admin officer. After a 4 month adventure away in Berlin, Ruth is now back with GDA as Community Development Coordinator - working with Isla to support our Drivers for Change network.
Ruth previously worked in France teaching English in secondary schools, and is involved with a number of grassroots campaigns fighting to make Scotland a fairer society.
Outside of work Ruth loves travelling, watching films, cooking incredibly spicy food, and building up her collections of battered second hand books and vintage dresses.
Community Development Manager
Joining the GDA team in July 2015, Isla supports our Drivers for Change network. She organises training and opportunities for GDA members to share their experiences, meet with powerholders like the Government or Council, and speak out to help tackle the barriers disabled people face. Isla's strategic focus is bringing lived experience into policy making and planning.
Isla previously worked for a disabled people-led organisation in England, and researched disability and human rights while studying for an MA in Community Development.
Isla is passionate about sports and creativity, and how these help with mental health and wellbeing.