A day to say thanks to all our fantastic supporters

We’ve got a lot going on when it comes to supporting people. With over 20 different services, providing tailored support to people from many walks of life, we’re proud as punch about all that we do.

From specialist services for refugees and asylum seekers adjusting to their new life in the UK, support for women who’ve been in prison and need a hand getting their life back on track and whole-family services like Family Impact, to mental health services, day centres and community support for people with learning disabilities, and home-from-home care for people who don’t quite feel ready to live on their own… we do an awful lot to help. To make it all possible, we rely a lot on people willing to spare some of their time and energy for a very worthy cause.

PSS was built by volunteers. From the year dot (or 1919 when we first started, to be more precise) we’ve relied on the help of warm, generous people to walk side by side with us to plug the gaps and to pass on their infectious want to do things for all the right reasons. One of the most important values we promote here is big-heartedness; and what’s more big-hearted than giving up your time for the good of others? We’d like to give a big shout out to all the wonderful souls who have helped make PSS what it is today.

Here’s some of the people we want to say thanks to today (well, all days, but especially today).

Our wonderful Wellbeing Centre volunteers

 There are lots of people who offer their amazing talents, skills and life experiences to a diverse range of activities that our Wellbeing Centres provide. By working with these fantastic people, the timetable is busting with lots and lot of ways to manage mental health for lots of different people. People are able to manage their stress and anxiety through many varied methods and feel so appreciated because of their facilitators determination.

These sessions are ran by people who have themselves experienced poor mental health and who genuinely want to pass on their coping strategies to people facing similar battles. There’s a few of them too. So thanks to:

  • Alan for facilitating everyday mindfulness
  • Corinne for organising culture vultures
  • Elaine for the women’s support group
  • Corinne and John for the reading group
  • Michelle for the script writing group
  • Paul for the Strumbrellas ukulele group
  • Pete for co-faciliating anxiety management (Pete was the winner of our 2017 Supporter of The Year Award!)
  • Phil for the poetry group
  • Sue for art journaling
  • Elwyn for facilitating mindfulness

Towards the end of last year we were excited to receive a one-off grant from Liverpool City Council for a brand new wellbeing space at Dutch Farm where, lucky for us, the team over at our Making Days South have already established a beautiful green space, with allotments, flower beds galore, polytunnels and even a fairy garden. We thought it would be just the perfect leafy-green environment for a lovely new space for our Wellbeing Centres, where everyone can get closer to nature and feel those therapeutic benefits. And so, Dutch Barn was born.

We wanted the people who use our Wellbeing Centres service to drive this project and be there every step of the way, so we needed to get a team together. We advertised across our Wellbeing centres for people who would like to form a steering group of seven people and two staff.

Sure enough, people came forward to help and the very cleverly-named Cabin Crew was formed.

The Cabin Crew met very regularly, often once a week, to decide on the size, shape and style of the building, how many windows it should have and how it would fit best into the area of the Dutch Farm site we were to use. The group continued to review the work and fed back any concerns to the building company, decided on the interior décor and made sure the space was as uplifting as possible for everyone visiting.

Thanks to Anjam, Michelle, Paul, Gordon, Julie, Gill, Sal for all their hardwork.

 A special thank you goes to Marc, who after previously using our wellbeing services, felt a huge desire to make an impact there and support people like him to make positive changes to their outlook on life.

Not only does Marc run peer support sessions at the Wellbeing Centres, using his own experiences to make the lives of others better, but he’s also helped give a voice to people experiencing mental health problems through a blog called Wellpool (set-up in partnership with Kindred Minds). Marc’s a dab hand at video production, photography and writing. He’s used these talents to up-skill other people looking to express themselves creatively. Wellpool is a really useful online resource for people with mental health challenges and Marc helps to run regular blogging sessions for people who want to learn how to talk about their challenges without boundaries. He has given up a lot of his time to manage the channel and to also get to know each and every one of the people who he supports.

Thanks guys, you’re all truly helping to change so many people’s lives for the better, whilst growing yourself too.

Learn more about our Wellbeing services:

And Help Me Change the Way I Think

Catherine Campbell, volunteer at Making Days North

Cathy has used PSS support services since 2013. Her manager Nichola says ‘she has a vibrant personality and infectious laugh, and has always been eager to learn and develop herself’.

Earlier this year, Cathy became a volunteer at Making Days North, which is a centre where people with learning disabilities can go along and spend their days how they choose. It’s a way for people to enjoy life more, do the things they love most and make lots of friends as well. Cathy wanted to help out with the activities and offer her support. She got stuck in straight away, helping to facilitate the group activities, making people smile, making plenty of teas and coffees and helping prep lunches too. Pretty important stuff for everyone!

Cathy has now become a Making Days lead on our weekly infection control tasks, making sure the building is clean and tidy. She’s also accessed some training on this to make sure everything is as spick and span as possible! She’s a much-loved member of the team and has made such a difference to the lives of people we support. What’s even better is that her own confidence has come on leaps and bounds too and she’s even started accessing an external mindfulness course.

She’s a massive part of the team and everyone is so proud of how far she has come. Things can only get better for her, as she makes things better for so many others.

Learn more about our Making Days service:

At a day centre in my community

Maria Jones, Parent and Baby Wellness Service

Our Parent and Baby Wellness team have a massive case load and support so many different people to become happier, healthier and more prepared for life as a parent. Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in the day and Maria really is the legs paddling under the surface, keeping everything organised and maximising our fantastic team’s time!

Maria maintains a very important database and supports the staff with monitoring and other admin tasks. Jane, who manages the service, says that her attention to detail is second to none. The team can rely completely on her and know that the essentials are being looked after.

As well as this, she’s an extremely caring soul and an uplifting presence within the team. Where resources are tight, Maria makes things a lot more possible, she’s a part of turning so many people’s lives around and does this all from the goodness of her heart. She’s a truly treasured member of the team.

Hannah Sloan, Birth Trauma Group

Hannah’s team wanted her to be acknowledged for the tremendous impact she has on so many women’s lives. She’s a qualified doctor, who volunteers some of her time to work with our Birth Trauma group.

Hannah specialises in a private therapy service called ‘Renew’, where she offers rewind therapy to those who’ve experienced traumatic births. Her kindness and expertise are a fantastic asset to the team, who are really thankful for all that she does.

Our Parent and Baby Wellness service touches so many people’s lives and, with the support of big-hearted people like Hannah, it’s strengthened even more.

Learn more about our Parent and Baby Wellness service:

As a New or Expectant Parent

Karmen Dickinson, Shared Lives Wales

Karmen’s been volunteering her time to our Shared Lives Wales services for a number of years. She provides support on trips, gets involved with arranging parties and fun events for people using the service and really helps to make things sparkle!

She recently kept everyone entertained by choreographing a dance for the staff to perform for people who use the service and this year she’s working really hard to put together a Christmassy choir with the people who use the service. Karmen’s an absolute credit to the team and always thinks up new and exciting ways to celebrate our services.

Learn more about our Shared Lives service: 

Where I Live with My Carer

Christine* PSS Innovation Board

 Our Innovation Board meets throughout the year to make sure our work is forever improving and innovating for the good of people we support. Doing what we’ve always done is never good enough and certainly isn’t going to help us stay around for future generations, which is one of our key goals. We want to ensure we have the best representation possible on our Innovation Board, of experts in every field and –most of all- of people who’ve used our services in the past and experienced things which we need to understand better.

Christine* previously used our Women’s Turnaround service after serving a prison sentence. She now volunteers her time and her fascinating insights to the Innovation Board to help us be the best we can possibly be. She helps us better understand everything that the women we meet are going through and how best to turn their lives around. Christine* is a fantastic spokesperson for PSS and for women who’ve had traumatic experiences in prison. She’s joined our service manager, Sharon, at a variety of events and this year spoke at an international women’s event in Liverpool and a police event on criminal justice and mental health. She works with women using the Women’s Turnaround project, to make sure their voice is heard.

Christine’s* always keen to be get involved in all the creative projects with the women in Turnaround to help them to express themselves and talk about their experiences. ‘No Offence’ – a book created in collaboration with Writing on the Wall and the women using the Women’s Turnaround service –  is being launched next week. It takes a lot of guts for women to share these emotional journeys. Christine’s* been a fantastic rep for the service and these type of illuminating, thought-provoking pieces. Here’s a podcast interview with her, talking about what prison is really like:


Kathryn Whelan, who supports us on front of house at our head office

Kathryn is our big-hearted volunteer on front of house at Eleanor Rathbone House. She’s such a dedicated person and is incredibly loyal to PSS. She’s been volunteering with us for a long time now and come rain or shine, has shown up with a big smile on her face, ready to give her time for the good of other people. A much-appreciated colleague to Suzanne, Claire and Amy, Kathryn is a listening ear and a friendly face to the front of house team and is always there to help with post or handing out visitors’ badges when things get a bit busy.

Friendly and cheerful, Kathryn is great at making people feel at ease when they come into the building and has a way with the little ones, taking the time to make them laugh and smile when they’re waiting with their parents, which then puts them at ease, too. We’d be lost without her!

The PSS Board

 The PSS Board is made of our trustees, who are all volunteers. Our trustees are a fantastic group of eight hard-working, big-hearted people who give up their time to make sure PSS is doing the best job it possibly can. They keep a watchful eye over all that PSS does and use their vast knowledge and experience in their individual careers (and in life) to do a very important job. They make sure we’re doing the right things in the right way, that we’re doing what we say we will, that we’re heading in the right direction, that we’re living our values day-in-day-out and that we’re going to be around for future generations.

So, to round off our thank-yous, we’d like to say a huge one to Mark Rathbone, Geoffrey Manning, Hilary Berg, Sam Profitt, Julie Cooke, Veronica Jackson, Angela Jones and Andrew Kellaway for all that you do for us.