Katy Etherington, founder of the not-for-profit website for disabled people and personal care assistants, PA Pool, has won the London & South East England Prestige Awards – Private Care Specialists of the Year 2020/21.
The PA Pool website, www.papool.co.uk, is for disabled or elderly people looking to employ a Personal Care Assistant (PA) or carer, and for PAs (carers) looking for work, allowing members to interactively manage their own recruitment or employment.
The site’s founder and director, graphic designer Katy Etherington, understands the problems that individuals face with recruitment all too well. Katy has Spinal Muscular Atrophy and is a full-time wheelchair user who requires 24-hour assistance. She came up with the idea when she discovered just how costly and time-consuming recruiting PAs could be.
Katy Etherington, founder of PA Pool, said: ‘The problems I had recruiting the right PAs often prevented me from living my life on the most basic of levels, let alone allowing me to do the things I wanted to do.
‘From the simple desire to make the process of recruitment easier and more effective for both myself and other people like me, the idea of PA Pool was born.’
During the Covid-19 pandemic, PA Pool has enabled relatives of elderly people in particular to remotely recruit assistance to replace support they were suddenly unable to provide themselves due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The Corporate Livewire London & South East Prestige Awards 2020/21 has recognised small and medium-sized businesses that have proven to be the best in their market over the past 12 months, in this instance making it through the worst of the current pandemic.
Daniel Jones from the Awards Team commented: ‘Katy and her team have dedicated a lot of time and effort to build the brand and our award for Private Care Specialists of the Year 2020/2021 recognises this. Congratulations!’
Each nominee is required to submit supporting information for their chosen category and once the allocation of nominations is met, all businesses within that particular category are then passed onto the panel of industry expert judges who ultimately pick a winner.
Alongside the submission, publicly sourced information is used such as reviews, testimonials and information provided on the company’s website and social media platforms.
The judging panel base their decisions upon areas such as service excellence, quality of the product/ service provided, innovative practices, value, ethical or sustainable methods of working, as well as consistency in performance. The winners selected are those who can best demonstrate their strengths in these areas.
PA Pool offers a UK-wide database of over 18,000 PAs and PA Users which can be browsed or searched using specific criteria. Members complete a profile about themselves detailing the support or job they’re looking for, their needs or relevant experience. All the required information is instantly accessible, showing if a client or job is suitable without the need to waste time on unnecessary phone calls or e-mails. Initial contact is made securely through the website messaging system. Whether the need is for emergency cover or a long-term position PA Pool makes the process quick, easy and focused.
Of the award, Katy said: ‘I’m thrilled to have won the award for Private Care Specialists of the Year in this year’s London & South East England Prestige series. PA Pool provides a service which is helping thousands of people across the UK find the work and support they need. My small team and I are delighted and proud to have received this recognition.’