Mike on being part of the Member Review Panel
Mike Bieber is 70, retired and has always lived in London. He was diagnosed with coeliac disease about nine years ago and in 2015 decided to get involved in the Coeliac UK Member Review Panel.
Most of my working life was in the voluntary and public sectors.
Setting up and managing housing aid and law centres; as a social services senior manager; as director of a cancer charity; and as an investigator for the Local Government Ombudsman. I’ve also been a research fellow, looking at the best ways to train staff working in the area of public housing. I’ve been involved in deciding on grant applications with several organisations, including two of the major national lottery distributors; I have also applied for grants on behalf of most of the organisations for whom I’ve worked.
I was interested in helping with Coeliac UK’s grant review process because I have coeliac disease, and also because I’ve been part of grant giving committees, and have had experience of working with people affected by cancer.
It was a fascinating experience - the research applications covered many aspects of the disease and the practicalities of living with it. It was exciting to see how much understanding and concern many of the researchers showed, and to realise what effects their research might bring. We needed to read the summaries of 14 applications, comment on these, and then rank them, all within quite a short period. Coeliac UK made it as clear and straightforward as possible, so that it was interesting and enjoyable. We’ve just heard the outcome, and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to seeing how the selected projects go.
I’m hoping to work on this again in the coming year.