Lesley McLaren

How did you first hear about/get involved with PAMIS?
I first saw an advert in my local press looking for a Development Worker for a new project PAMIS had been granted funding for. The Healthy Lifestyles Project sounded like a something I would really enjoy so I applied, was interviewed and to my amazement was offered the job, working 3 days per week in the PAMIS South Lanarkshire office.

What inspired you to work with PAMIS?
Initially I was drawn to PAMIS because of the very specific focus the organisation had. I loved the fact it was a small national organisation that seemed to do so much within the field of PMLD. I had worked with people with learning disabilities for over 10 years and wanted to get involved in a more challenging role that stretched my abilities.

What is your role?
I am a family support director, I cover the whole of South Lanarkshire, I share the role with Michelle Morrison. I work 3.5 days per week from the Hamilton office. 3 days I focus on family support with a half day per week developing our carers health project.

What are your areas of expertise?
I don’t have a particular area of expertise, however I love spending time with our amazing families and supporting our carers and they people they care for to get out and about and be active in their community.

What does working at PAMIS mean to you?
I have worked for PAMIS for around 12 years now and in that time I have been given so many new opportunities and gained so much experience in so many different areas. PMLD covers so much and within PAMIS I have always felt that I would be supported to explore topics/issues/interests further that would be of benefit to my personal development and our PAMIS families.

What is a typical day for you? Day to day functions?
My days varies so much throughout my working week, I can be supporting families at social work meetings, supporting families to be filmed for a digital passport, attending meetings at Scottish Government or spending time with families on a canal boat ride. There are so many things going on from one day to the next that no day is the same in our office. However the main focus and what should always come first is supporting families and making sure their needs are met within our service.

Why do you think it’s important for people to know about PAMIS and the services they provide?
It’s so important for people caring for a person with PMLD to know that there is a service totally designed to support them. We have over 110 people on the South Lanarkshire database. Some I’ll see regularly if they attend workshops, events, visit the office or request a home visit, others I have never met as they seem happy enough to only receive the information that we email & post. Then there is everyone in between who use or service sporadically when they need us, they contact us, ask for support and then when their issue is settled probably won’t contact us again until another issue crops up. Our service welcomes as much or as little contact from our carers as is comfortable for them. As long as they know we are here to help whenever they feel they want us whether that be daily or once every 5 years then that’s the kind of welcoming service I want to provide.