One-page profiles and the OPAAL and Macmillan Cancer Older People and Advocacy project

29 June 2015

Hi! I’m Pat, the manager of Knowsley Pensioners Advocacy and Information Services (KPAIS)

As an independent advocacy provider, we’re part of the OPAAL and Macmillan Cancer Older People and Advocacy project. and it’s through the project that I was introduced to one-page Profiles. It was completely new to me and I was interested to hear what it was all about.

I listened to the concept and took part in some group work and started to see how the one-page profile model can be used in organisations for a variety of different reasons from enhancing your recruitment process for both staff and volunteers to matching staff with clients to get the best outcome for all. But how would it work for us?

In April, all staff and volunteers from KPAIS had a great opportunity to take part in a full one-page profile session with Emily from Helen Sanderson associates. What a lovely day!


There were four staff and four volunteers and everyone took part with enthusiasm. Having the opportunity to really talk about our selves and to listen to each other was enlightening. Finding out what people would choose as their perfect day or what they would like to change about the world helps to give you an insight into the kind of person they are, so it’s easy to see why this technique can be used in volunteer recruitment.

For people who are lacking in confidence it is a gentle and open way of getting to know each other and rather than saying ‘so, tell me about yourself!’ (which is terrifying!) this model asks specific but non-invasive questions which gets people talking about themselves in a much safer environment.

It gives everyone time to talk as well as listen and makes sure all contributions are both valid and valuable.

I knew how much everyone would enjoy the day because I had already taken part in previous workshops, so I got great pleasure from watching the others engaging with each other and having fun with it.

For most people it’s quite hard to identify what’s good about us so at one point we all texted some family and friends to ask what they appreciate about us – there was certainly laughter and even some genuine tears from people who just didn’t expect the lovely replies they received.

Emily was a fabulous facilitator; she brought out the best in everyone but kept us all on track and made sure that we all had some written responses that we can keep to work on later when we continue with our one-page profile creation.



It was such a positive day and every person who attended toldme individually and specifically that they had enjoyed it. All could see the benefits of using this technique for themselves as it gave them a clear way of being open about their expectations in the ‘how I want to be supported’ section.

In this way, they can feel confident in how their experience of working or volunteering for this organisation will be valued and it is a tool for them to refer back to if the organisation is not sticking to it.   It gives people a strong sense of their value and also gives them a mechanism to constructively challenge if things aren’t going well.

My intention now is to hold a follow up day for these attendees so that we can go forward to complete a one-page profile each. We’ve already covered each of the main areas and so need to add in the appreciations as well as focusing on the how each person would like to be supported.

We have stuck our appreciation sheets up in the office to remind ourselves how great we are!


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