In memory of Mike Leighton …

Mike joined People Matter in July 2009 as volunteer Data Input Officer, a role which suited him down to the ground and eventually lead to him being ‘promoted’ to Data Manager.

Very much a ‘systems and process’ man, Mike was instrumental in the planning and introduction of processes to support the movement and recording of paper records and client data.  Although he dealt with many hundreds of files each year, his filing systems were second to none and meant his colleagues were always able to find what they needed.

Being methodical and organised gave Mike great satisfaction, something he mentioned several times during annual reviews, that, and the pleasure he gained in checking the monthly reconciliations with a fine-toothed comb!

The work wasn’t without its challenges though – mainly caused by having to adapt to changes to systems outside of the charity’s control – but Mike persevered, and it paid off.

Mike will also be remembered for his labelling of our pigeon holes – it must have felt like painting the Forth Road bridge, since almost immediately Mike had re-applied the labels alphabetically to the trays, someone would leave or join and mess up the system. Of course he also tried to cater for those of short stature in making sure their pigeon hole wasn’t at the very top!

A quiet and very private man, Mike nonetheless loved to be included in office lunches and social events.  He enjoyed being part of a Christian organisation and always attended morning prayer meetings and lunches, often assisting with food prep (his other great passion) and clearing away.

Mike had significant health issues during his 10 years of service, but he rarely complained and, remained steadfast in his faith throughout.









Remembering Joyce Ford …

… a much loved and respected former volunteer adviser at People Matter, sadly Joyce died in January 2021. Here are a few facts about and quotes, either about or from Joyce, compiled by Ann (our CEO) and reflecting on Joyce’s time with us at People Matter.

Joyce joined People Matter on the 6th of September 2001 as a Receptionist and typist, typing CVs for clients drafted by the advisers.

From Joyce at her first annual appraisal, “I am happy to help with anything”.

On the 1st of April 2004 she wrote “I would like to learn more about client advising, interview skills and helping with application forms” ….so, she did just that.  She started writing a regular newsletter for colleagues entitled “Joyce’s Jottings” (her idea) about some of the interesting or challenging clients she’d seen and how she had helped them.  At that point she was seeing a minimum of 3 clients a day, whilst training new advisers and helping the management team prepare for accreditation of the service.

A comment from Peter Moore in 2007 “Joyce has given a consistently high standard of IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) services to over 300 clients to date.  All feedback forms have been positive and affirming of the excellent service given.”.

Never one to stand still and with a keenly enquiring mind, in 2010 Joyce completed Level 3 and Level 4 awards in Advice and Guidance, at the conclusion of which she received a Lifetime Achiever’s Award from the Head of training company who described Joyce as a prime example of someone who had wholeheartedly engaged in ‘later in life’ learning.  That wasn’t her only award though.  She was recognised for her contribution to the community with an Eastbourne Achiever’s Award.  She didn’t let it go to her head though!

During 2010 Joyce helped over 400 clients by writing their CVs and helping them with their job…a fairly average year since she’d started doing advice work in 2007.

During her appraisal in 2012 Peter asked Joyce whether she had any skills, abilities, or interests that she wasn’t already using but would like to use at People Matter.  Joyce’s reply “Not that I’ve yet discovered!”.  He wrote, “Joyce is an excellent and key member of the team.  Her hard work, consistency, reliability and dedication set the standard to everyone else”.

Like many of us, Joyce was sometimes frustrated by malfunctioning IT, bureaucratic paperwork and clients failing to attend pre-arranged appointments….but she was a problem solver and didn’t let anything stand in the way of her being able to help people, supported by tea and ginger biscuits, her quick wit and sense of humour.

Joyce continued volunteering with People Matter until her stroke.

She was a diminutive lady, always neatly turned out (as ladies of a certain age often are) with her hair permed and wearing her pearls.  Her appearance was deceptive though and sometimes gave clients, especially those in their 20s, the idea that she either didn’t have a clue or that she would be a complete pushover.  They very quickly discovered that neither was true!  I vividly remember one occasion (which actually became part of People Matter folklore) standing in Reception in Gildredge Road where 3 clients were waiting to be collected by advisers.  Joyce came into the room and spoke the client’s name. A young woman, duly followed Joyce out of the room, looking her up and down from behind and rolling her eyes in a condescending way as if to say, how on earth can ‘that old lady’ help me?  I remember thinking, just you wait until Joyce has finished with you, and was fortunate to be in Reception again when the session finished to hear the woman effusively thanking Joyce for her help.

Unusually, Joyce directly touched the lives of literally thousands of Eastbourne people – a remarkable legacy for a remarkable woman.

She is and will be fondly remembered by all of us at People Matter.

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