Paul White joined Kingdom Support & Care (KSC) as Executive Director in October 2022.
Before starting with us, Paul was Chief Executive of ELCAP, a charity based in East Lothian that provides care and support to individuals who are affected by learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health problems.
As he’s only been with us for a few weeks, we wanted to give you a chance to get to know him a little better so we caught up with him recently to ask a few questions:
Q. What’s your reason for getting up in the morning?
I’ve always been motivated by a commitment to social justice. The principles of social justice – access to resources, diversity, equity, human rights and participation – are so important in the context of social care.
The individuals KSC supports work incredibly hard to manage or overcome challenges such as addiction, disability, homelessness, mental health problems and poverty. I am proud to be part of an organisation which is dedicated to supporting them on their journeys.
It’s not difficult to get out of bed when the purpose of my job is aligned with a personal passion.
Q. Why did you want to join Kingdom Support & Care?
Joining an organisation is a bit like deciding whether to accept an invitation to a party. You want to know if you’ll like the people who are there – and vice versa – and if you’ll enjoy the experience when you arrive.
I was lucky to know my predecessor, Norah Smith, from some work we did a few years ago. I knew that with Norah leading the organisation, KSC must be a good place to be.
I also wanted to test myself in a new environment. The wider work of Kingdom Group appealed to me – access to housing which is affordable, of high quality and secure is a hugely important dimension of social justice.
Q. What are you looking forward to most about your new job?
I’m looking forward to playing my part in improving the lives of the individuals KSC supports and of our staff. Small steps can matter as much as giant leaps.
I would also like to extend our reach, making a difference to more people who might benefit from our life-changing support and care.
Q. What are some of the challenges you think you’ll need to overcome?
Recruitment and retention are long-standing issues for social care organisations. With 1.2 million job vacancies in the UK and the lowest unemployment rates since the 1970s, those challenges won’t be easy to overcome. We need to make KSC the employer of choice for people with a passion for social care, enabling us to attract fresh talent and ensuring our best and most dedicated staff stick with us.
It will also take me a bit of time to get to know KSC and the Kingdom Group. Fortunately, my colleagues have been consistently helpful, patient and understanding as they show me the ropes.
Q. What makes Kingdom Support & Care different?
It’s maybe a little early for me to attempt a definitive answer, but our commitment to working in partnership – with our commissioners, the individuals we support and their families, and our staff – jumps out for me.
While individuals and organisations can achieve much on their own, our best outcomes are usually achieved through teamwork.
Q. What’s the best thing about your job?
I get my biggest kicks from seeing people improve their lives. The job satisfaction can be tremendous, whether it comes from an individual with a learning disability gaining independent living skills, a person affected by homelessness securing and sustaining a tenancy, or a member of our team growing in confidence and influence.
Q. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m fortunate to have a great family, so I spend a lot of my time with them.
I also enjoy going to the football, checking out new music and reading. I’m also a member of a pipe band, which keeps me busy in the summer months.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I’m going to cheat a bit and share two pieces of advice. A fairly recent one was “listen to understand, not to respond”, while my long-standing advice to myself is to follow my heart.