Helping disabled or older people to lead fuller lives and stay independent can be hugely enjoyable and fulfilling, but financial pressures mean many of us can’t always afford to take on this role voluntarily. That’s why becoming a paid Personal Assistant (PA) can open up a whole range of possibilities, for helpers and employers alike.
With the demand for PAs in Brighton and surrounding areas constantly growing, local charity Possability People is now keen to boost awareness of its one-stop ‘PA Noticeboard‘ service, so that people looking for these roles can find potential employers more easily.
It’s easy to use, and what’s more it’s free for PAs. All you need to do, both as a PA looking for work and as an employer* seeking help, is to register online. You can then view lists of vacancies and available PAs.
The role of a PA isn’t limited to providing personal care – shopping and cinema trips are often part of the package too, along with driving to GP surgeries and hospitals, or even helping with paperwork, gardening or help around the house. One current vacancy on the PA Noticeboard entails accompanying an employer to weekly community choir evenings.
And the social benefits can work both ways – imagine you’re new to Brighton and looking to meet people, for example, just think how working as a PA might benefit you too. Then there’s the appeal of flexible working hours, so you can arrange your work commitments to fit in with the rest of your life.
One of the first people to come on board Possibility People’s PA programme was Gina**, who has now worked for the same employer – Brighton resident Jean**, who has learning disabilities and is naturally quite reserved – for nearly five years.
Spending all that time with Jean and seeing her gain enough confidence to venture out with friends, volunteer in the office of a local charity and even fly out to Italy to visit her family, has been an enriching experience for both parties.
“Having Gina here has been an enormous help in my life,” says Jean, while Gina admits being a PA has changed her life too. “It really has,” she explains. “It’s been very nice to learn and to help somebody. And my cooking’s probably got better, certainly! We always have a good natter as well, and sometimes even a bit of a sing-song.”
If the idea of becoming a PA appeals but you’re not sure what qualities might be needed, Support With Confidence training courses may help you decide if it’s the right thing for you.
To find out more about being a PA, visit https://panoticeboard.org.uk/ or phone Possability People on 01273 894040.
**These names have been changed to protect the individuals’ identities.