For me that sums up having to rely on finding the right person to help with the most everyday of tasks! Being a PA User has not only given me some of the most liberating experiences of my life, but also some of the most stressful!
My name is Katy Etherington, I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy and have employed my own PA's since 1999. Recruitment back in those days used to be the bane of my life, proving a hit and miss affair which too often was both costly and time consuming. If you have a full-time job and a busy social life like I do, the last thing you want to be doing is wasting valuable time!
Being a graphic designer I'm a professional problem solver, so I decided to put my mind to making the lives of PA Users and PA's easier by eliminating some of the hassles of the recruitment process! From that simple desire PA Pool was born!
I launched PA Pool in 2006 and since then it has been helping thousands of PA's find work and PA Users recruit all over the UK. PA Pool now has over 8,000 members, combining both PAs and PA Users.
“My friend joined the other day, and she got a job yesterday. She is overjoyed and it is because of your hard work to approve people's profiles on the spot, and they are ready to go. Once again, I thank you ever so much for the hard work you put into this project.” Marthe22, PA MEMBER, AUGUST 2022
So, what does PA Pool offer its members? Whether you are a PA looking for work or a PA User looking for support, its free to register as a member, complete a profile about yourself and what you are looking for, search for available people based on your specific requirements and make a shortlist of suitable candidates. A subscription is needed if you want to contact a member. This is conducted via the website email facility which negates the need to disclose private contact details until you are ready. There are varying lengths of subscription designed to suit the individual and subscriptions are not automatically renewed so if you’re not recruiting or looking for work you can remain on the platform for free.
“I want to thank you for the work you do and protecting us from bad PAs. All the best for Christmas and the New Year Katy and keep up the good work!” IanJG, PA USER MEMBER, DECEMBER 2022
PA Pool won’t be suitable for everyone; I don’t have the resources to check and interview members before allowing them to join the platform. This is the responsibility of employer or employee. But actually, I feel that this method is more reliable if done diligently – at least you know when the person was last checked and how thoroughly! Interviewing person-to-person is essential to ensure compatibility between PA and PA User. However, for those PA User members that feel a little less confident about doing their own checks, PA Pool has partnered with Curam Care who do the necessary checks before allowing PAs to join their platform. PAs on PA Pool who have also been approved on Curam Care have a badge on their profile and ‘Curam Approved’ PAs can be specified in searches.
“PA Pool is the biggest and most powerful platform in the UK for those people with disabilities who are looking for personal/health care assistants or even for personal assistants/health carers who are looking for clients.” Arni, PA MEMBER, MARCH 2023
Some people might assume PA Pool is a big company. It’s not. I have a few helpers, but most of the time it’s just me. At the core of PA Pool's ethos is the desire to provide support and make a difference in people's lives, it was never created to be a vanilla profit-making venture. The fact that I am at the forefront of everything, including the day-to-day admin, allows me to build personal relationships with members. I can be responsive, proactive and share my knowledge and experience. It’s this personal 1-2-1 approach which I believe makes a real difference to people and makes PA Pool stand out from competition.
Unlike other recruitment platforms, PA Pool does not charge PAs a percentage of their wage, (which I personally feel is unfair, especially as most PAs don’t earn as much as they deserve, although can I clarify, this is not the fault of the PA Users but Local Authorities who control the amount of funding each PA User gets). Revenue to fund PA Pool comes from member subscriptions (which are kept as low as possible), donations, and advertising (although the latter is rare!). All income raised goes back into the running and development of the website, there are no shareholders to pay and much of my working time is on a voluntary basis. My ‘day job’ is as a freelance graphic designer, which comes in very useful when PA Pool needs something designed so at least I can save on costs outsourcing that!!
“I think PA Pool and what you do are truly amazing by the way and a lifeline in what really is a care crisis. Seriously don't know what I'd do without it. Credit to you.” Carlyscare, PA USER MEMBER, MAY 2022
In conclusion, PA Pool's history and ethos are rooted in compassion, empowerment, and a relentless drive to make a positive difference.
If you would like to know more about PA Pool or how it works, then please do not hesitate to contact me email@example.com and I will be happy to answer any questions you have. If you would like to become a member or know someone who would benefit from the platform, please visit www.papool.co.uk to register.
“I can say PA pool is a wonderful well-established place for clients & PAs to find what they are looking for and that this site is professional and safe and run to high quality services…. I have run care agencies and highly recommend this site 100 percent and I feel made even better by the fact that the owner is actually a PA User herself so has a good understanding of both sides of the coin.” Sueknox, PA MEMBER, JUNE 2023