A charity worker who has a 42-year history of working with vulnerable children has retired.Advertisement
Paul Wilcox, 60, has retired from Barnardo’s after 26 years with the children’s charity.
Paul spent the last 16 years of his career at Barnardo’s in Preston as an Assistant Director, responsible for managing the charity’s children’s services in Lancashire.
His work has included 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 and disabilities and participation work to give a voice to young people with disabilities and in care.
Paul, who lives in Bickerstaffe with his wife Arlene, hopes to continue providing opportunities for young people by developing a cycle charity scheme that will offer apprenticeships by recycling bikes and giving them to people in Africa.
Paul Wilcox 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 to help children. 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.”
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Paul started his career as a residential social worker in Preston at 18, before moving to Leeds to work with vulnerable families.
He then managed a Youth Justice Team in London for several years, before starting at Barnardo’s working with vulnerable children in Liverpool.
Paul moved up through the charity to become a Children’s Services Manager, before becoming an Assistant Director.
At Barnardo’s, Paul has been involved with numerous high profile fundraising initiatives including a 362-mile sponsored bike ride from Anglesey to London over five days in 2016.
For Barnado’s 150th anniversary, he set up an initiative alongside Cotton Court business centre in Preston, with over 350 pledges made by local businesses, providing opportunities for young people supported by Barnardo’s.
Most recently, Paul was involved in a joint initiative with Barnardo’s retail stores, raising £57,000 in only four weeks to support Barnardo’s children’s services in Lancashire and surrounding regions.
In his retirement, Paul will carry on working as a director for the not-for-profit nursery, Bickerstaffe Lodge, and will ride more with his local cycle club, Middleton Cycle Club.
He most importantly wants to spend more time with his wife and their daughter, Abigail.
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Paul also plans to commit to doing three things a week to focus on his health and well-being, 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.
A spokesperson for Barnado’s said: “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.”
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