Amy has been in Post since May 2015. Before working for PAMIS, she was Project Officer at Carers Scotland in Glasgow where she developed resources for carers for the National Carers Strategy. She first became involved with carers when she worked for Renfrewshire Carers Centre as an information worker and decided she wanted to develop her career working with families. Amy is also an experienced carer trainer and has worked with groups of carers and professionals all over Scotland. Amy is also currently a Non-Executive member of NHS Grampian with particular interest in patient and carer experience where she brings her knowledge of working with statutory services from a third sector perspective. She also has prior work experience in economic consultancy and as a workforce development research manager in the food and drink industry. Amy has also has taught creative writing to adults and is currently working on her 2nd poetry collection.
How did you first hear about/get involved with PAMIS?
I spoke to someone at PAMIS when I was attending the Scottish Government’s launch of the Autism Strategy back in 2010.
What inspired you to work with PAMIS?
I love working with family carers, they are the best and it’s a privilege to be part of their lives.
What is your role?
I co-ordinate the work of PAMIS in Grampian covering Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire. I have around 150 families 2.4 thousand Square Miles. I also try to influence policy decision making around learning disability and inclusion with the local statutory services, and of-course campaign for more Changing Place toilets in Grampian. I also work with education, from special schools to universities to highlight the needs of our group, and what others can learn from them!
What are your areas of expertise?
I have a background in carers advocacy and carers rights and worked for Carers Scotland to develop self-advocacy resources for Carers as part of the Government’s Carers Strategy. I am also an experienced trainer of carers and those working with them.
What does working at PAMIS mean to you?
I feel it’s so important to speak up for families who are not understood, excluded and sometimes not respected. When I’m at the end of my life, I’ll be able to look back and say, I used my time as best I could, and learned to be the best person I could. (This last bit is work in progress!)
What is a typical day for you? Day to day functions?
Every day is different. I attend strategic meetings if I feel this is useful, but I like to check in with families as much as possible, usually from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Casework can include attending review meetings, contacting professionals on the phone or by email to check out their situation and represent the family’s views. It can also include research on a piece of equipment or local accessible facilities. I am Lead Professional for one wee boy so that means preparing, arranging and chairing meetings as well as co-ordinating the work of the multi-agency team – including of course his family - around him. I also work on a specific project to support families around Self Directed Support and we arrange information sessions on aspects of SDS, such as Welfare Guardianship and around local SDS rules and regulations. If I’m not in meetings, I will be responding to emails from Head Office, filling in my reporting spreadsheets, responding to local consultations, or connecting with organisations that I feel we may share common ground with. I also check local planning applications regularly for any opportunities for Changing Places. I also line-manage our Digital Passports Development Worker and we talk regularly to reflect on how her project is going and share ideas and support. Planning journeys to families also takes a bit of time, if they are far away and I like to check out the roads and directions in advance. We also attend lots of local events which we report on in social media, uploading photos and writing copy. We are always on the lookout for funding so I regularly scan local bulletins and databases for any opportunities to hold fun events for our group, or for any individual funding.
Tell us something we wouldn’t guess about you?
I like to write poetry and am getting a book published soon.
Why do you think it’s important for people to know about PAMIS and the services they provide?
There are lots of learning disability organisations around and people think that if they understand the issues around ‘learning disability’ they understand the needs of our group. This is not the case. People at PAMIS understand the complex and intensive, and sometimes overwhelming needs of our group. They make it their business to let others know of these needs, to weaken the barriers to true inclusion and to celebrate what those with PMLD can - and do - contribute our society.
What is your motto, or favourite quote?
Always do your best, that is all you can do.