Meet The Team
After 12 months on secondment from North Somerset Council where he previously led on employment and skills for 4 years, Paul was appointed to the permanent position at VANS in June 2020.
As someone who has always had an interest in the third sector, Paul sat on the board of trustees at VANS for three years, before stepping down to become an employee at the charity. Paul has worked in various people focussed roles within the public sector in Cornwall, at a start-up community interest company and delivering careers and education programmes for The Springboard Charity.
Paul has always seen volunteering as a vital part of personal development and a way to give back to society. He has held voluntary roles as an Enterprise Adviser to Hans Price Academy in Weston-super-Mare, Chair of the North Somerset School Careers Network and he remains a committed Licensed Premises Assessor for the national Best Bar None Scheme.
In his spare time, Paul can generally be found out cycling, sea fishing and enjoying the outdoors (weather permitting) or attempting to play snooker in a nicely heated room on those cold winter evenings.
Claire has been with VANS since February 2014 following a 10-year career break to raise a family who came to North Somerset in 2008. Prior to this she had been working for an investment company in London, commuting daily from South Croydon.
Volunteering plays an important part in Claire’s life, having volunteered in various capacities from as young as 14. Her current volunteering roles are as a youth club supporter and as a helper at a local weekly coffee morning.
A keen board gamer, Claire will spend a lot spare time playing board games and attending board gaming events with her family and friends. Her other interests include live music, travel and supporting her school age children in their hobbies and activities.
Bernie joined VANS in September 2018. Prior to this she worked for the local authority in Human Resources, she has a strong public sector background in HR. She has also previously undertaken volunteering with Weston Hospicecare.
Bernie’s role with VANS is to lead on the volunteering programme across the BNSSG for Sirona care & health services, which is an integral part of the health and social care services that are provided and ensures the smooth running of the volunteering services and development of the programme through the recruitment and training of new volunteers. Bernie undertakes to seek opportunities within Sirona for volunteers that enables them to add value to the services and raise awareness of what Sirona does with local communities. In addition, she actively promotes the service through local events.
Bernie enjoys a number of social activities including theatre trips and eating out and also loves to spend time with her young grandson.
Janice has worked in marketing nearly all her life mainly for large corporates within the utility and legal sectors. More recently she had her own marketing agency and worked with a large utility service provider in Bristol and with SME’s across the South West supporting them in their marketing and business development activities.
In her current role with VANS, she is responsible for marketing communications and generating as much exposure to the VANS brand and their VCSE partners across North Somerset using a range of different marketing techniques. Janice has always been involved in volunteering and is currently County Junior Organiser of Gloucestershire Girls’ Golf.
Sue has worked in a variety of roles in the health service and private sector and her experience covers service improvement, data /business analysis, complaint management, patient and public involvement, training and project management.
Sue has been a volunteer with Healthwatch North Somerset where she trained to become a Volunteer Co-ordinator for ‘Enter and View’. She was a member of their Prioritisation Panel. She also helped at a local primary school with their library.
Michelle has worked in finance and local government and joined VANS in December 2018. Michelle has experience in producing accessible information and has recently organised some workshops to gather the views of disabled people in Weston-super-Mare.
In her current role with VANS, Michelle’s role is to maintain an efficient administrative and data support service for the CEO, Trustees and Staff Team. One of Michelle’s key responsibilities is to maintain the Online Volunteer Centre database and liaise with partnership organisations.
After a lengthy career in Local Government I’m now working in the voluntary sector, as Equalities Co-ordinator at VANS, helping to prevent marginalisation by promoting positive values and inclusive behaviour.
My role is to encourage others to celebrate diversity and to strengthen community links across existing networks and support groups, working to widen opportunities connect and to give local people a greater say in how everyday services that impact on our day-to-day lives are provided.
I’ve always had a keen interest supporting others and I have been a volunteer myself in the past, spending time abroad on environmental and community projects, being involved in youth work and as a governor at a local school. Each experience has been different, but all of them allowed me to grow as a person and to be actively involved in the things I cared about.
It’s the people I meet that are most interesting , alongside the variety and passion they show for the work that they do. A real positive of working for a charity is that you a get to use and develop a wide range of skills in support of a good cause and to help the lives of others. It’s largely this that motivates me.
Kirsty has nearly 30 years experience of working in the voluntary sector. She began in 1992 running an advocacy service for MIND before managing an advocacy and advice service for older people in Richmond upon Thames. She then became the manager of Well & Wise healthy living centre for older people in Camden before going on to advise Age UK on social care policy and service development models. She has been a freelance consultant and trainer since 2007 working with third sector organisations on redesigning services for and making them more sustainable.
In 2014 she founded AWOC (ageing without children) dedicated to campaigning for older people without children or family support. She has volunteered at We the Curious in Bristol since 2019 and joined Voluntary Action North Somerset in May 2021 to support the Volunteer Vaccination Programme.
Marc joined VANS in August 2021. Prior to this he worked for a London University heading up a data collection operation for their careers and employability service. He also has had experience within public and charitable sector recruitment sectors and tourism field. He moved to North Somerset in 2019 and dedicates his time to a local dog rescue charity as well as facilitating UK online meetings for SMART recovery.
Marc’s role with VANS is to lead on STEP FORWARD our Employability and Volunteering Programme and oversees the implementation of our Recovering from Addiction pilot. This is a 12-month pilot working in partnership with Opportunity North Somerset and aims to enable access to employment and skills-based opportunities for individuals recovering from addiction. He works very closely with local drug and alcohol services as well as working within advice hubs throughout the area and is developing a peer-to-peer support group to promote a self-empowered approach for those in recovery. He offers advocacy to employers and voluntary organisations on the wellbeing of their employees and volunteers. Working with individuals and supporting them to find their purpose and build their skills is key to this.
Marc enjoys running and is currently training for his first 10k race and half marathon, he enjoys hiking and spending time at the rescue kennels walking and caring for the dogs that are waiting to go to their new forever homes.