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Ethel Mendius, Development Officer, Voices and Connections Pillar

Ethel is the lead contact for our Third Sector Mapping project which sits within our Voice and Connect theme.

She’s working to create an invaluable resource for third-sector organisations in Perth and Kinross which will help people more easily identify the resources available to them and allow organisations to raise awareness of their work.

Read on to find out more about Ethel’s role, hobbies, and big hopes for the future of PKAVS’ mapping project.

Hi Ethel, can you tell us a little more about your role?

I mainly work on TSI Perth & Kinross’ Voice and Connect pillar, taking a bigger picture look at the third sector organisations across Perth and Kinross and helping them to connect with us and each other so that we can all work together more easily.
The mapping project that I’m working on aims to create a kind of directory and related database of all the third-sector organisations and community groups in the area. Currently, there are a lot of little maps but these are often incomplete or outdated so we’d love to create a platform where people can easily input and share information with each other rather than just another static list similar to what already exists.

What’s your background and how did you come to work with PKAVS?

I came over from the States to study in Scotland and I liked it so much that I decided to stay! I recently graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Glasgow and now I’m doing a Masters in International Development at the University of Edinburgh.
I’ve always known that I wanted to work in the charity sector, previously I was heavily involved with volunteering and decided that I wanted to gain a little further experience by working in community engagement more formally which is how I came to PKAVS.

What is something that you really love about your job?

I love the rest of the TSI team. You can always count on the willingness and the skills of the team to support each other through any challenge.
It’s a small team and everyone has their own set of individual skills and their own passion for the organisation. It’s a very supportive work environment and a great place to learn from and bounce ideas off each other.

What are the main challenges facing the third sector in Perth and Kinross at the moment?

First and foremost, I would say the main challenge is a lack of connectedness. There is a lot of great work happening but things aren’t so well communicated which leads to duplication of services and not the most efficient use of resources available.
It’s a broad region with very diverse needs. For instance, there many older people who aren’t so digitally literate and it can be hard to keep people informed about the kind of support that is available to them.
I would say that there are gaps to bridge in terms of awareness of services and bringing together all the good work that’s being done.

What’s your favourite way to have downtime away from work?

I like yoga and meditation and kind of mindfulness sort of practices because I feel like I spend so much time multitasking and looking at screens, it feels good to do something that forces me to switch off and reset my mind and energy.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

I’d tell myself: ‘Take it easy on yourself, don’t stress too much because you’ll end up where you need to be.’
I’m still pretty young so I try to give myself this advice periodically, which always helps!

What’s your favourite day of the week? Why?

This is a great question for me actually because I’m Jewish, and the Sabbath starts on Friday so it’s always a really meaningful day for me.
On a Friday, I love wrapping up after a great work day and then switching everything off and sitting down to a meal with my friends and family. It always makes me thankful for everything I have and gives me a chance to rest, reconnect and reset after a busy week.

What’s your favourite song or artist? Why?

I’ve been really into Dire Straits recently. Before I came to Scotland my mum decided to look up famous Scottish Jews and there aren’t many but Mark Knopfler is very tenuously Scottish and Jewish so I decided to give them a go!

What project or goal would you love to work towards with PKAVS in the next year – five years?

I’m excited to complete this incarnation of the mapping project and see how it helps people to connect better within the sector. And then to start working towards how we can improve on it and create a more interactive platform that could become a great best practice model for our TSI and others across the country.

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