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The PALS Committee

We're always looking for new people to join the committee.

The committee meets once every 4 to 6 weeks to oversee the charity's work, make sure we're still on track and offer suggestions and ideas to the coordinators, who report back to the committee on their work.

If you have any questions about the role of the committee or what it entails, or would like more information about joining then please contact us, and we'll put you in touch with the Chair of the committee.

The Chair - Paula Elsley

Paula Paula joined the PALS committee in 2012. She’s previously held the role of Vice Chair and has been Chair for the last four years.

Paula’s done voluntary work for many years and has previously been on a primary school PTA, Co-Chair on a secondary school PTA and has been a volunteer with the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) for almost 10 years. In January 2018 Paula co-founded and has co-run an OU Carer’s Facebook group to help and support carers studying with the Open University.

Paula’s son Ben has been in PALS since 2012. His favourite activities are sports, especially football. He’s also taken part in cooking activities and residential trips.

Paula’s background is in management having previously worked for the Business and Professional Research Organisation as a Conference Manager. Her role involved scheduling seminars all over the UK and in Australia. She was responsible for budgeting, negotiating rates with hotels and conference centres and booking speakers and travel.

In her spare time Paula’s training to run a 5k, regularly does spin cycling classes, enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction and has a special interest in the environment and animal conservation.

Paula graduated from the Open University with a BSc (Honours) Open degree in December 2017.

Vice-Chair - Jane West

Jane has been on the committee for over six years, during this time she has held the role of Secretary before becoming Vice Chair.

Jane’s eldest son, Rufus, has been a member of PALS since the age of five and is now a member of the PYC group.

Jane currently works at Newbury College as Admissions and Information Services Manager, she has a background in the hospitality industry working at Gleneagles, The Dorchester, Andersen and Deloitte.  Her passion outside work is gardening and she is Show Secretary for the Bucklebury and Marlston Horticultural Society.

Trustee - Vicky Blackett

Vicky Blackett

Vicky has been an active member of the PALS committee for four years and has taken on various roles.

She's passionate about the charity, and her own daughter, Iona (now 11) has been a a PALS member since the age of five.

Vicky enjoys reading, musical theatre and playing golf in her spare time.

Secretary - Henry Bankes

Henry has been involved with PALS since moving with his family to live near Newbury in 2015. His daughter, Ottilie aged 12, is a keen PAL.

Henry is also the Chairman of Snowhounds, an adaptive skiing club based at Bracknell dry ski slope.

Treasurer - Helen Picken

Helen PickenAs the daughter of a former member of the West Berkshire PCT community care team, Helen has been aware that the support network for clients of this team has been on the receiving end of budget cuts and felt that joining the PALS team could help them fulfil their goals. She is a volunteer for a national military charity in her spare time and hopes that her perspective from a different scale of charity will help bring new ideas to the table.

Committee Member - Gill Waite

Gill WaiteGill is married to Alan and Mum to Ben, Matt and Issy. She enjoys going to the theatre, gardening and reading.

Gill first became involved with PALS when her son Matt joined 11 years ago.  PALS enabled him to take part in many activities and gave him confidence.  Ben, her eldest son, became a volunteer and Issy is hoping to when she is old enough!