Meet the PIP staff and students

Staff | Trustees | Student reps

PIP Staff

We decided to pose the staff team at PIP a few questions to help you get to know them a bit better- read on to find out what they had to say:

Bill Feeney, PIP Director

Bill Feeney, PIP Director

Q. What is your favourite thing about PIP?
A. The energy which students bring-every single day

Q. What is your favourite song?
A. Constantly changing, but at the moment it’s ‘Seven Sons of Bjorn’, by GOGO Penguin

Q. What is your favourite film?
A. Original Star Wars-I’m old enough to have gone to the cinema to watch it more than 15 times!

Q. Tell us something interesting about yourself.
A. I spent years as a child in Brasil.

Q. What do you like to do in your free time?
A. Family, kids, and MOUNTAIN BIKING!

Q. Describe yourself in no more than three words- then ask a colleague to do the same! Write down the results!
A. It’s my prerogative to ask a few colleagues to fill in this section:
-Animated
-Attentive
-Ancient
-Calm, collected
-Funny
-Perfectionist

Q. What do you most enjoy about your role at PIP?
A. The impact we have on our students can be seen each day. We make a real difference to their lives. And observing how much staff get out of that experience.

 
Katherine Gale, PIP Business Development Manager

Katherine Gale, PIP Business Development Manager

Q. What are your best things in life?
A. Fresh coffee first thing in the morning; London parks in summer; Talking to good friends for hours; Tea and toast, together, at any time of the day; PIP (sorry, had to!)

Q. What is your favourite film?
A. I’m a bit of an Audrey Hepburn fan, so probably either Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Roman Holiday- I can’t decide!

Q. Tell us a story from your time at PIP.
A. I went to Cardiff University and picked up a bit of a Welsh accent that I can’t get rid of- even though I actually grew up in England! Shortly after I started working at PIP I was on the phone to somebody who suddenly asked where I came from in Wales- and I lied and told him I was from Cardiff to save face!

Q. What is your favourite thing about PIP?
A. The moments when you really see the difference we have made to one of our students; for example, how proud our travel training students are when they complete a journey independently for the first time.

Q. Describe yourself in three words, then ask a colleague to do the same.
A. My three words would probably be: Addicted/ To/ Coffee!
I asked Development Worker Sandy to describe me in three words and she said: Likes/ Good/ Beer! I’m not too sure what those descriptions say about me…. she did also say ‘professional’ at one point however!

 
Jessica Swainson, PIP Accreditation Worker

Jessica Swainson, PIP Accreditation Worker

Q. What are your best things in life?
A. Friends, family, fun, food, painting, drawing, laughing and sleeping

Q. What is your favourite thing about PIP?
A. Working with lovely people all day

Q. Share a story from your time at PIP.
A. We were sharing stories in the park about silly things we had done in the past and someone said they had tried to boil an egg in a kettle. Ingenious!

Q. Tell me something interesting that we might not know about you.
A. I lived in Tokyo for a year teaching English.

 
Adam Pearson, PIP Development Worker

Adam Pearson, PIP Development Worker

Q. What is your favourite session at PIP and why?
A. I know I’m biased but I’m going with my music sessions! Many of our students are affected by barriers to communication, so music can be enormously liberating. It also teaches important skills such as respecting and listening to one another, working together as a team and developing creativity. Not only that but our students really know how to jam!

Q. Share a story from your time at PIP:
A. For one of my multimedia sessions we went to a nearby shopping centre to find examples of multimedia in the community. We noticed a film crew so went over for a closer look. It turned out to be David Walliams of Little Britain and Britain’s Got Talent fame doing some publicity. Spotting us and sensing a photo opportunity he beckoned us over. However, being the hard working students that they are, my group stuck to the task, completely ignored him and instead fussed all over the film crew, having a go on their cameras and microphones!

Q. What do you like to do in your free time?

A. Outside of PIP I like to write and record music and I play guitar and piano in a band called White Heath (you should definitely check us out). I also like going to exhibitions, remembering utterly useless and banal facts and trivia, and despairing over Everton FC (although to say I ‘like’ doing that isn’t exactly truthful).


Q. Tell us something interesting about yourself that we might not know.
A. I used to work in national emergency planning at the Scottish Government and once attended a meeting in their super-top-secret-nuclear-war-operations-bunker buried under a hill in Edinburgh. The meeting was about minor rural flooding. Not the end of the world. (All the other rooms were booked).

 
Sandy Whelan, PIP Development Worker

Sandy Whelan, PIP Development Worker

Q. Best things in life?
A. Well I’m often teased by friends for saying something is ‘the best thing ever’ so this should be easy. Frogs, Snails and lady birds (I was an enthusiastic collector between ages 6 – 10), forests, backgammon and sisters.

Q. Best thing about PIP?
A. Everyone is unique.

Q. Share a story from your time at PIP.
A. Each year at PIP during the summer we take a trip to Brighton. This is something that I did every year as a child. My favourite thing would be to skate down the seafront to an old fashioned arcade – where you would use old pennies to play the machines. I organised to take the students to visit this arcade last year and they were overjoyed at the idea. Helping the students to use their old pennies to play, for me, was a special moment shared with very special people.

Q. Ask a colleague to describe you in three words:
A. Playful, Caring and Kind.

 
Joanne Diab, PIP Administration Assistant

Joanne Diab, PIP Administration Assistant

Q. Tell us something interesting about you that we may not know.
A. My long term career goal is to be a florist.

Q. What is your favourite thing about PIP?
A. My favourite thing about PIP is that it is an amazing place for people with learning disabilities and a safe environment to work in.

Q. What is your favourite song?
A. ‘We Are Family’ by Sister Sledge

Q. What is your favourite film?
A. My favourite movie is ‘Police Academy’- it’s really funny!

Q What do you like to do in your free time?
A. I volunteer at Caxton Youth Organisation (for people with learning disabilities)- I also volunteer on the bus run on Mondays and Wednesdays which I really enjoy.

 
Richard Sinclair, PIP Development Worker

Richard Sinclair, PIP Development Worker

Q. What is your favourite thing about PIP?
A. My favourite thing about PIP is the students. The students’ humour, endeavour and enthusiasm feeds through our organisation and makes PIP a great place to work. Second to this is the variety in the nature of our work be it facilitating sessions from numeracy to healthy cooking, key working, and fundraising.

Q. What is your favourite session at PIP?
A. My favourite session at PIP is Healthy Living. This session puts across the great importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, touching on really important issues for people with learning disabilities, whilst also involving lots of fun activities.

Q. How would the students at PIP describe you?
A. I asked the students at PIP to describe me- Brave, Sporty and Scottish.

 
Camilla McCready-Pay, PIP Development Worker

Camilla McCready-Pay, PIP Development Worker

Q. What are the best things in life?
A. Camping! Getting outdoors!; Laughing with good friends; Long walks with my dog; Cooking for 100 people in a field and knowing they’re all satisfied; Beaches

Q. What is your favourite session at PIP?
A. My favourite session has to be Transition Group, working with some of our most capable students on self-directed projects. Anything from first aid courses and volunteering to researching and creating presentations on human rights. The students really engage and broaden their horizons. Our next project will be looking at the upcoming general election.

Q. Tell us a story from your time at PIP.
A. When I initially considered how I could fundraise for PIP, I wanted to do something that both engaged the students and played to my strengths.
So the ‘PIP Woodcraft Hike Challenge’ was born. An overnight hike through Harpenden countryside, camping in a scout hall. The walk is about 4 miles each way, through commons, fields and country lanes. Bringing together the young people I volunteer with and the PIP students was a great experience all round! The PIP students amazed me by getting really involved and completely out of their comfort zones!
We have now done the challenge 2 years running and it’s become an established part of the PIP calendar.

 
Rosie Mathers, PIP Development Worker

Rosie Mathers, PIP Development Worker

Q. What is your favourite song?
A. I Cover the Waterfront by John Lee Hooker, closely followed by PIP’s Somerset Anthem

Q. What do you like to do in your free time?
A. I love drawing and printing and spending as much time as possible with my cat

Q. What is your favourite session at PIP and why?
A. Creative Arts- I love supporting the students to explore their creativity and seeing the diverse work produced by the group. This year we are planning several PIP exhibitions which will provide the students with a great way to get their work out there and appreciated.

Q.What do you most enjoy about your role at PIP?
A. Meeting new and inspiring people and getting to know and support them!

 
Aysha Reid-Brown, PIP Sessional Worker

Aysha Reid-Brown, PIP Sessional Worker

Q. Tell us something interesting that we might not know about you.
A. I am known as the type who lives out of a backpack, and if I’m not at PIP then it’s possible that I may be on a desert island.

Q. Tell us a story from your time at PIP.
A. My favourite day at PIP was the day I put up the first Christmas tree with the students. The result was horrendous and it’s clear that people were not happy with the result – we had some serious complaints!

Q What are your best things in life?
A. Sleep, sun and food!

Q. Describe yourself in three words, then ask a colleague to do the same.
A. Three words to describe myself: Tired, chocolate, coffee. Three words a colleague used to describe me: Urban, cool, traveller

 
Olayinka Popoola, PIP Sessional Worker

Olayinka Popoola, PIP Sessional Worker

Q. Tell us something about yourself that we might not know.
A. Let me be honest with you- I don’t really like cooking!

Q. Describe yourself in three words- then ask staff and students at PIP to do the same!
A. I would describe myself as organised, focused and (very) funny. The students and staff at PIP described me as mysterious, hilarious and trouble!

Q. What is your favourite PIP session and why?
A. News group, because it is the session that is planned and organised by the sessional workers at PIP.

Q. What do you most enjoy about your role?
A. Supporting the students to do what they enjoy most.

 
Steve McCracken, PIP Sessional Worker

Steve McCracken, PIP Sessional Worker

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role at PIP?
A. I get to spend my time with the students having fun!

Q. Tell us something interesting about yourself that we might not know.
A. I lived in a tin shed in Australia for a month while I worked in a wallaby sanctuary.

Q. What do you like to do in your free time?
A. Painting pictures, writing music, surfing.

Q. Describe yourself in three words, then ask staff and students to do the same.
A. My three words would be quirky, arty and (a little bit) crazy. Staff and students described me as fabulous, creative and ‘Steve’!

 
Daniella Meekings, PIP Service Coordinator

Daniella Meekings, PIP Service Coordinator

Q. What is your favourite session at PIP?
A. PIP facilitates some amazing sessions focused around academic and life skills. My favourite would be Social Wellbeing where students get to learn social skills and topics that help prepare them for independence.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your role at PIP?
A. The best part of my role here at PIP is engaging with students and listening to their stories! There is never a boring day here at PIP and the students will always make sure that you leave with a smile on your face!

Q. Tell us something interesting that we might not know about you:
A. I have a half Staf/ half Chihuahua dog!

Q. What is your favourite song?
A. ‘My Girl’ by the Temptations!

 
Jonny Pryn, PIP Development Worker

Jonny Pryn, PIP Development Worker

Q: Share a story from your time at PIP.
A: All of my favourite PIP stories come from the Woodcraft Hike, a fundraising walk which several students and staff took part in. The best moment was watching everybody trying to navigate a particularly treacherous hill- it was so muddy one of the students actually lost a walking boot which necessitated a pretty daring rescue attempt…

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I spend a lot of time reading and writing, preferably holed up in a café somewhere. I also enjoy playing guitar and going running.

Q: What do you most enjoy about your role at PIP?
A: I really enjoy my job because of the variety that each day brings. A lot of that comes from all the different places I’ve visited in my time at PIP. So far, the list includes the V&A Museum, the local library, Covent Garden, the laundrette and a very cold scout hut in a field in Harpenden.

Q: What is your favourite song?
A: Strictly speaking, my favourite song would be something by James Taylor. Unfortunately, most of the students and staff seem to think it’s Nigerian pop sensation ‘Where’s my Jonny?’ which invariably gets sung to me a few times a week.

Q: What is your favourite PIP session and why?
A: My favourite session is Numeracy which I teach on a Tuesday morning. We always make a lot of progress and still have the time to play some games. It can be pretty tiring though, particularly when we finish every session with a rousing rendition of the ‘Days of the Week’ song.

 

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