About Jo Pyrah…


Jo Pyrah is…

the Co-founder & Managing Director of Green Light PBS Ltd., a Cornwall-based service provider for adults with autism, learning disability and challenging behaviour.  Established in 2010, the company now employs over 250 staff, supporting 35 people, across 14 care homes.  Green Light provides support tailored to need from family-style homes for up to four people, single-occupancy apartments in a small cluster, or single-occupancy homes for just one person.  A Board Certified Behaviour Analyst and Assistant Behaviour Analyst supports the company-wide implementation of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) and Organisational Behaviour Management (OBM).    

Jo lives in Penzance with his wife, daughter, two sons and whippet.  Jo enjoys reading, art, beach walks and trying to teach himself how to paint in oils.  

Here is part of this story:

My sister Sarah and I have always been around people with disabilities.  As children we’d go to summer fetes, bonfire nights and other events at a long stay Hospital in Leeds, where mum was an RNMH ‘learning disability nurse’.  It was there she’d met my art-school-dropout father, who was teaching art on the children’s ward.  

When we moved to Newquay Sarah and I would go swimming and hiking with adults with autism Dad supported at a campus-style home near Truro.  Occasionally residents would join us for our family Sunday roast.  Sarah and I would marvel at skills and abilities we now know as ‘stereotypical’ or ‘stimming’ behaviours.  Later, I was at art school and Dad introduced me to an art therapist teaching adults with autism.  I volunteered to help and loved seeing what amazing things people could create when given time and the right materials. I dropped out of art college too, starting my career as a Support Worker.  Sarah wasn’t far behind me.  

Our careers followed a range of people, many of whom were considered ‘the most challenging’ people, with extreme behaviours.  However, Sarah and I always found it was these people, who many avoided being around, who actually had the most to teach us.  We enjoyed figuring out what it was that people were saying, what they needed in their lives that caused them to behave in such weird and wonderful ways.  

We were fortunate to have parents and mentors who steered us towards ‘outcome focused’, ‘values-led’, ‘person-centred’ approaches, including what is now known as Applied Behaviour Analysis and Positive Behaviour Support.  We were encouraged towards Mansell, Felce, McBrien, Toogood, O'Brien, McGill and the widely misrepresented Skinner.  Later, I studied Positive Approaches to Challenging Behaviour at the Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities, when the course was set up by Kathy Lowe.

In 2009, with the backing of family, friends and long-standing colleagues and local investors we set up Green Light to apply our experience to a new mission; ‘empowering people to lead a lifestyle they’re proud of’.  Now, I cannot imagine doing anything else more fulfilling with my life.  

You can follow Jo on twitter here and find out more about Green Light here