Skip to main content

Paul - Assistant Team Manager

Written by: Paul Astley
Published on: 12 Jun 2024

Paul Astley – Assistant Team Manager for Access and Prevention, Commissioning, Performance and Complaints (Adults) at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Hello, I’m Paul. My job is amazing! 

I manage a service which supports adults with physical, sensory and and/or learning disabilities including visual and deaf support and I do this through a community “hub”. It’s a centre called Queens Cross Network the focal point of which is a hub that provides all sorts of activities.

Many people come through our doors thinking they are ‘just’ going to be a ‘service user’, then they spot an opportunity here and we train them to get involved in helping to run the hub, and before they know where they are, they are helping to manage the place!

Many people come to the Hub each week and we have various groups meeting here too. There’s a café here and the place is a hive of activity!

The Hub brings together the voice of people living with disabilities, here and in the three smaller centres we run in other parts of the borough, with around 40 people employed across the Hubs, including people working in vision and deaf support and overseeing catering.  

I’m part of Adult Social Care’s Access and Prevention team and it’s called that because we enable access to short term services - to prevent longer-term care dependency in the future. For me this job feels like a way of life, it’s a calling and a passion. I feel privileged to work in such a magical place.

What’s different about this service is how it’s provided; we work in partnership with the community through a concept we call ‘co-production’, meaning we produce something alongside and with people who are living with a disability in the borough. We do this through a charity called Disability in Action whose board of trustees’ shape what happens in the Hub and most people using our facilities are members of the charity. Disability in Action do their own fundraising, being separately financed and completely independent of council services. 

I started working as a volunteer in a day care centre for social services back in 1986! Now I’m 54 and I’ve worked for Dudley Council as a paid employee for 37 years in June. I’ve been supported by the council to do qualifications too and currently I’m in my final year of my master’s degree in senior health and social care leadership. My employers have always valued creativity and imagination and delivering services differently. That’s why I’ve found my niche here in Dudley. I have really felt ‘looked after’ by Dudley Council, throughout my time working for them. 

To find out more about Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and the roles that they currently have available, visit their recruiter page here.