A last word with Paul

A last word with Paul

ELCAP Chief Executive Paul White left our charity on Friday 7 October to join the Kingdom Group as Executive Director of Support and Care.

Before Paul moved on, our team at Woodbine asked him a few questions about life at ELCAP.

Q: What made you join ELCAP?

A: I was working with a social care charity called LinkLiving when I saw the Chief Executive opportunity at ELCAP. I did my homework on the organisation, liked what I heard and put my hat in the ring.  I feel very fortunate that our Board of Trustees gave me the opportunity to join such a brilliant charity

Q: Have you achieved all the goals you set out to achieve at ELCAP?

A: No, not by a long way. An organisation like ELCAP never stands still and there remains much for us to do.

If we were able to grow our staff team, I’d like us to be making a difference to the lives of more individuals across East Lothian and Midlothian.  I am always disappointed when resources mean we can’t provide care and support to people in need.

Q: What do you feel has been the biggest change in ELCAP since you started?

A: The Scottish Government’s commitment to a National Care Service has been described as the biggest public service reform since the National Health Service was born in 1948.

I’m optimistic about what it can deliver, including greater recognition of the value of social care and a better understanding of what our work is really about.   We need to get beyond thinking of social care as a safety net and instead see it as a springboard to better lives.

But there’s a risk that the ambitions of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland get lost in debates about control and structure, rather than behaviours and values.

Q: The COVID-19 pandemic brought difficult times for everyone. How well did ELCAP manage the challenges it presented?

A: We asked the families of the individuals we support and their families a very similar question.

Eighty-six per cent of families thought we managed their relative’s support well or very well during the pandemic.  When it came to staff, the same percentage said ELCAP had supported them well.

While this feedback is positive, it was always a cause for concern when someone we support or works for us became ill with COVID-19.  The virus is still very much out there and we don’t know how it might mutate going forward.  We cannot be complacent about the risks it presents.

Q: Why did you become a Dunfermline Athletic supporter and who has been your favourite player over the years?

A: Although I spent my early years in Lanarkshire, when I was 12 my family moved to Fife. I didn’t know many people to begin with, so going to the football was a big thing for me. After flirting with other local teams, I became a lifelong Pars fan.

Like many of our supporters, my favourite player has to be the late Norrie McCathie.  He made the most of his abilities, was never beaten and was an outstanding leader.  My runner-up has to be Scott Campbell – colleagues in Woodbine Cottage will understand why!

Q: What is the best advice anyone has given you in your role as Chief Executive of ELCAP?

A: I benefit from the experience and knowledge of others every day of the week – the individuals we support, the members of our Board, our partner organisations and our staff all have something to teach me.

Listening to understand – rather than listening to respond – is just one of piece of good advice I’ve benefitted from.

Q: What tips would you give to ELCAP’s next Chief Executive?

A: I’m not sure that the successful candidate will need my advice. But if pressed, I’d say be kind, be yourself and value others.

Q: What have you brought to ELCAP that you are leaving with us?

A: Our best results are always achieved through teamwork, so I’m proud of the new values which were developed by the individuals we support, their families and our staff. The values can make us better as individuals, as an organisation, and as a community.

Q: What do you think your colleagues will miss most about you?

A: I offer everyone in Woodbine Cottage a tea of coffee, even if they don’t drink it!

Everyone at ELCAP wishes Paul every success with the next phase of his career.