PCU sent a statement of support to colleagues at PACE which was appreciated as "bearing witness" to the situation. A letter was also sent to the trustees. The union's offer of practical help in contacting clients was not needed at this time. Organisations such as Galop, and The Metro Centre have offered space, and in some cases taken on contracts and caseloads. A union supporter at PACE said that there has been a huge response from the LGBT counselling community.
Going forward, PACE colleagues have requested that the union look into procedures for charities offering counselling services. They suggest that such organisations have at least one trustee with experience as a practitioner, as standard practice, in order to inform the provision of adequate emergency procedures in the event of insolvency, etc. They said that trustees did not seem aware of the impact that the sudden closure of PACE would have on clients.
It's also a problem that, once the charity has shut its doors, there is no-one accountable to talk to. The only people left to negotiate with are the liquidators. PACE colleagues would like the union to explore the possibility of acting as an intermediary in the setting up of services between charities/trusts/accrediting bodies/service providers and regulatory bodies.
They are going to stay in touch as necessary.
It has been very much the case that colleagues have taken the lead in their own place, have asked for back up, and received it. This in itself has been perceived as empowering in a confusing and chaotic time.
"It feels very good to know that, even with our very limited resources, we can make a contribution and people can feel helped. That seems to be our consistent experience so far, and as we become more solid as an organisation it should get even better! " Nick Totton