Paul steps down from charity role
AWEST Lancashire man has retired from Barnardo’s after spending 26 years with the children’s charity.
Paul Wilcox, 60, who lives in Bickerstaffe with his wife Arlene, hopes to continue providing opportunities for young people in the area by developing a cycle charity scheme that will offer apprenticeships by recycling bikes and giving them to people in Africa.
Paul started his career as a residential social worker in Preston at the age of 18, before moving to Leeds, where he went on to work with vulnerable families.
He then managed a youth justice team in London for several years, before seeing an advert for Barnardo’s to work with vulnerable children in Liverpool.
After making the move back up north to work with Barnardo’s, Paul has never looked back, and moved up through the charity to become a children’s services manager, working in various services to support children from offending behaviour and working with family support.
Paul spent the last 16 years of his career at Barnardo’s as an assistant director, responsible for managing the charity’s children’s services in Lancashire, which include several supported accommodation projects for young people at risk of homelessness in Preston and Morecambe, support services for young carers, providing short breaks for children with additional needs/disabilities and participation work to give a voice to young people with disabilities and those who are in care.
During his time at Barnardo’s, in addition to managing services supporting children and families, Paul has been involved with numerous high profile fundraising initiatives.
As a keen cyclist, Paul took part in a 362-mile sponsored bike ride from Anglesey to London over five days in 2016 and has previously cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats.
To celebrate the charity’s 150th anniversary, Paul set up an initiative alongside Cotton Court business centre in Preston, in which more than 350 pledges were made by local businesses, offering their time, skills or providing opportunities within their work for young people supported by Barnardo’s across Lancashire.
Most recently, Paul was involved in a joint initiative this summer with Barnardo’s retail stores which saw more than £57,000 fundraised by the charity’s stores in only four weeks, all of which will go directly to supporting Barnardo’s children’s services in Lancashire and surrounding regions.
Paul said: “I came into the profession to try to make a difference in children’s lives, and seeing young people realise their dreams, have a brighter future and succeed in some way has given me such a huge sense of doing something positive.
“I will truly miss working at Barnardo’s as there are some great people doing great work behind the scenes.
“I have also had the privilege of working with lots of amazing organisations over the years, including UCLAN and Cotton Court, who are big supporters of Barnardo’s and willing to go to great lengths to aid the charity in its work.
“However, I am also looking forward to being able to travel and see more of the world with my wonderful wife, Arlene, and to my new project developing a charity scheme to provide apprenticeships for young people in partnership with the Velo Café in Croston.”
In his retirement, Paul also plans to carry on working as a director for Bickerstaffe Lodge, a not for profit nursery, go riding with his local cycle club, Middleton Cycle Club, and most importantly wants to spend more time with his wife and their daughter, Abigail.
Paul also plans to commit to doing three things a week to focus on his health and wellbeing, family and friends, and self-improvement, including trying things he has never done before, such as learning to bake, ballroom dancing and learning to play table tennis.
Paul will be greatly missed by all staff and young people that have worked with him at Barnardo’s and he is wished every happiness in his retirement.