Brenda Garrard

How did you first hear about/get involved with PAMIS?
I first heard of PAMIS when I saw an advert for a project worker who would be involved in supporting families who have a son or daughter with profound and multiple learning disabilities.(PMLD). This was in 2001 and up until this point I had not heard of PAMIS.

What inspired you to work with PAMIS?
My interview for the job went well and I felt that I had something to contribute as I could share and use some of my personal caring experience to enable family carers to become more empowered in their role as carers.

What is your role?
I have been involved in a number of projects and I am presently the manager of the Self-Directed Support (SDS) project. People who have been assessed as eligible for community services are now able to access these services in a way that promotes more control, choice and flexibility. The PAMIS SDS project workers support family carers through these recent changes and importantly, through project work, increase family carers’ ability to access an appropriate package of care that meets their son’s/daughter’s/relative’s needs.

What are your areas of expertise?
Although I don't consider myself an expert, I am interested in policy and legislation that effect those with PMLD and their family carers. I am also interested in how we all cope with bereavement and loss .

What does working at PAMIS mean to you?
I have worked for PAMIS for 16 years. I enjoy working with families and the professionals that are involved in the lives of people with PMLD and their family carers. I gain a real sense of job satisfaction, especially when I feel I have made a positive difference to the person with PMLD and their family carers’ life experience. I also enjoy working with the PAMIS team that is made up of very special people.

What is a typical day for you? Day to day functions?
I arrive and check emails. This can be fairly quick unless an email triggers particular tasks or actions that must be prioritised. My role involves partnership working with others from other sectors and there may be a scheduled meeting in one of the four local authority areas that I cover. If there are SDS issues of concern in other local authority areas, meetings might involve travel and meeting up with other members of the SDS team. Tracking policies and legislation is also in my remit and can involve researching and documenting information that will be particularly helpful to people with PMLD and their family carers. Project initiatives and ongoing work is always part of my day.

Why do you think it’s important for people to know about PAMIS and the services they provide?
The more we know, understand and value about those most disadvantaged in society the better a society we will become.

What is your motto, or favourite quote?
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. -- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross