Meet the Team
Here’s the hard-working and camera-friendly Shropshire PCAS advocacy team: Simon, Glenda, Jackie, Wendy, Ann and Maura.
Take a scroll down to hear a little more about the staff and management support team, and find out why they are so passionate about their work.
Hello everyone, my name is Simon Arthur, I’m the manager of PCAS I have been with PCAS for nearly 25 years now. I started out as a volunteer, then moved into the manager role.
I’m passionate about the work we do helping the most vulnerable people have a better life. The last year has been a challenge for PCAS, more people than ever before are needing our help and support, many of these people have complex needs and multiple disabilities, and need long term help (which we offer). The last 12 months we have seen a huge increase in referrals for people with a Learning Difficulty who are going through the Child Protection processes and procedures and needing someone to be with them at meetings, explaining what is being asked of them, ensuring they understand.
My job is to ensure PCAS is run properly - I support the staff, work with clients, complete reports for our funders, arrange staff training, keep all the policies up to date, pay invoices and raise the funds to keep PCAS open - in fact, I do pretty well anything the charity needs doing! I do have some very good help from Alli my administrator and partner as she’s a whizz at doing the database and graphs and all evaluation for our funders. I’m passionate about helping people to have a better quality of life with our support. And hope PCAS is here helping the community we serve for another 25 years.
I started working for PCAS back in 2009, having previously worked for Wrexham County Borough Council, Adult Social Care, as a project worker working with young adults with an early diagnosis of dementia. It was an ambition of mine to become an advocate, and it was absolutely the right choice for me. I feel comfortable in my role, having gained a lot of knowledge over the years working with vulnerable people, leading to my gaining a City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Independent Advocacy. I’ve such a passion for supporting and speaking up for disabled people, and nothing pleases me more than seeing someone I’ve supported moving on with their life. It can sometimes be a very challenging role, but with the support of everyone involved with our small charity, we support our clients through some very difficult times in their lives.
As the Assistant Manager, I hope to take some of the pressure off my Manager, when needed. We have a wonderful team at PCAS and are all so committed to our roles, and believe that this shows through in our results. There is no doubt that the need for Independent Advocates is rising steeply and this certainly shows in the length of our waiting list unfortunately. There has been an increase in the more complex cases recently too.
As Advocates we are not afraid to challenge decisions if desired and directed by our clients, sometimes it is daunting to do this alone, but if you have someone by your side, on your side, it suddenly becomes easier. We are those people who stand by you.
I joined PCAS in October 2018 following a varied career history. I worked for the Department for Work and Pensions as a Benefit Administrator for 23 years. Following redundancy, I worked as a Care Support Worker for Mencap. This was a complete change of job role that gave me practical experience and my first insight into the challenges and vulnerability faced by young people with learning or physical disabilities. Most recently I`ve supported vulnerable pupils within the SEN department of a local secondary school as a Teaching Assistant.
Whilst looking for a new challenge, I saw the interesting role of Advocate advertised within Shropshire PCAS. After reading about the Charity’s purpose and the job description, I felt I could bring my skills and previous experience to this role. This was relevant experience when I recently had to source help for a family member.
I’m pleased to have been asked to join this hardworking, dedicated team and I’m relishing the opportunity to help and support people in the Shropshire area. The work is varied, interesting, sometimes frustrating, but also extremely rewarding.
I’m enjoying meeting and finding ways to help my clients. I’ve already extended my own knowledge and I have great support from my colleagues. It’s a great feeling when a client achieves an outcome that means their life is positively enhanced and they can retain their dignity and independence.
Away from work my life revolves around my family and our puppy. My interests are cricket, travelling, live music and reading. I like to relax with a bit of yoga now and again!
I joined PCAS three years ago after retiring from West Mercia Police. In that role, I’d become aware that anyone living with a disability may face issues maintaining their independence. I was pleased to be given the opportunity with PCAS to help a number of people improve their lives by accessing the services they require and by helping them to carry out simple everyday tasks such as filing post and making phone calls to utility providers.
Each of our clients is different. Many live alone with carers calling each day. They may never have any visitors except for PCAS Advocates. We provide that essential social interaction that is required.
I love my work as an advocate - I find it fulfilling and rewarding. I know our clients appreciate all we do for them.
I joined the PCAS team in February 2017 having recently retired from a long and rewarding career with the NHS as a Nurse and Midwife. I find it immensely rewarding working with clients and helping them to overcome issues that are holding them back from leading a more independent and fulfilling life. I’ve found that almost without exception, the clients are incredibly grateful for an advocate’s support, telling me things like: ‘I have waited so long for someone like you’ and on more than one occasion: ‘Thank you, what would I have done without you?’
This has made me reflect that most of us take our ability to self-advocate for granted and that I feel very privileged to be working in such a trusted position. The challenge though is to empower and encourage self-advocacy wherever possible, and not reliance or dependency in the long term.
Though I have brought with me many transferable skills from my previous role, I have much to learn and I’m enjoying doing so alongside my clients. No one expects me to be the font of all knowledge, but that’s all part of the role, if I don’t know, I will find the answer!
Our monthly team meetings are invaluable, enabling us to share experiences and knowledge in order to support our clients. I enjoy the autonomy of my role but feel reassured by the support of an experienced Manager and other team members.
I joined PCAS as an Independent Advocate (March 2017) supporting people within Telford & Wrekin. My previous employment spanned over 22 years working within Social Care for Telford & Wrekin Council - initially as a Finance Officer, then a Social Care Officer, and more recently as a Reviewing Officer. I’ve gained a wealth of experience working with vulnerable people.
I decided I quite liked the idea of taking life a little easier and ended my employment with the council, however, after three months I realised being a ‘lady of leisure’ wasn’t for me as I missed working and supporting people! I was very excited to be offered a position as an advocate with PCAS.
My interests are spending time with family and enjoying high days and holidays.
I joined PCAS in March 2020 after working for 20 years as an Independent Living /Direct Payments Advisor. This involved supporting people with a wide range of disabilities and also the elderly, who were eligible to receive funding for care from Shropshire Council and who wanted to arrange their care themselves by having a Direct Payment. This meant that they could choose who provided their care and how and when it was provided. Before this, I worked for 10 years for Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council helping to run an agency to provide both minor and major adaptations to the homes of disabled people through a Disabled Facilities Grant. I was able to provide support to the people I worked with to liaise with Social Workers and Occupational Therapists to ensure that they were informed of all their options to enable them to make informed choices in how their care packages/adaptations were delivered. Through this work, I had the opportunity to meet some of the PCAS advocates who were providing support to the same clients I was working with and I saw what a difference they made to these people by supporting them to make sure they understood what was being said and making sure their opinions were taken into account.
For many years, whenever anyone asked me what my perfect job would be I have always said “an advocate” as it would give me the opportunity to support people with a much wider range of support than I have been able to up to now and hopefully make a positive difference. I am looking forward to learning from my manager and colleagues at PCAS and making a difference to people’s lives by helping them to become more independent and empowered by providing the right level of support for them as individuals. I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity.
I’ve been with PCAS since 2007. I originally came from Exeter in Devon, moving to Shropshire in 1988. I have a daughter, son-in-law and an eight-year-old grandson with Autism, Learning Disabilities and PDA (pathological demand avoidance) who I look after most weekends.
I totally enjoy the challenges brought by our small charity, there is always something new to aim for such as the need to encapsulate statistics in a new way for our funders. I love the variety and “free hand” of organising my own workload.
We’re a “Team” at PCAS, which includes the Manager, all the Advocates and the support from our invaluable Trustees. As a small team, we’re all dedicated and enthusiastic.
I’m a bit of a data nerd! I do all the evaluation encapsulation, from building bespoke databases, financial sheets and building graphs from feedback forms. I provide all the statistics for reporting to our funders, each requiring information in a different format. I also deal with all the Advocates paperwork, inputting data, timesheets etc.
As a small Charity, we struggle for funding all the time, however no matter how hard we keep going, as we know that we help the most vulnerable people as well as those that are unable to get help elsewhere. I am proud when someone writes or phones to say how thankful they are to one of our Advocates. I know our Advocates go over and above what is required of them in order to do the best for their clients.
I’ve been working as a volunteer with PCAS for almost a year now, having wanted to help a local charity with a few spare hours of my time each week. When I first met the PCAS team I was amazed at their dedication and passion for their work; and I had no hesitation in offering a bit of my time to help where I could.
Facing increasing demand in the area due to cut backs in local services, the PCAS team desperately need help from funders and volunteers to continue their valuable work. The case studies page typifies the massive impact PCAS have on the everyday lives of the people they help. It would be hard to find a more open, accommodating and ‘can-do’ charity in Shropshire.
I try and help the team with some improved use of I.T. to help save a bit of their precious time. I also help them with their website and with development plans to secure further funding.
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