The support worker who stepped up to become a leader

Band 4 support worker Kay Parnell is not only a steward but she also leads the workforce trade unions at a large teaching hospital.

Kay Parnell

The CSP is encouraging support workers/Associate members to step up and become stewards. CSP organiser Iain Croker described Kay Parnell as 'an inspiration.'

She talks about her role as a steward and also staffside chair at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital: 'Being a workplace rep is the best thing I have done; it gives an extra challenge and it's really nice that you get to support staff when they really need it.

'I was a little nervous at first because I was an Associate member, would members come to me for advice but what I learnt very quickly is it doesn’t matter what role you are in, members see past that. You are fully trained and are given all the tools by the CSP to be able to do the role. 

'Once you become a rep you are exposed to a lot more than just your department, you get to sit on staffside and learn about what is happening in the wider trust and then are able to support not only your own members but all staff within the trust. 

'From being a work place rep, I then became a vice chair on staffside for 12 months and then I got elected as staffside chair. I have been in post for three years so being a rep gives you other opportunities you wouldn’t think you would have and develop new skills.'

Read more about Kay Parnell's journey in Frontline Busting the myth that support workers don’t lead

Find out more about the CSP's May recruitment drive for new stewards

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