Employer of Choice

Here at SIL we have a passion for care and improving the quality of life for elderly and disabled people; and to do that we need great people!  

You will be aware that there is a great deal of discussion about social care recruitment, retention and pay rates in the national media at the moment, and we have taken the decision to try and do something about it.

We recognise that our greatest resource is our employees.

There are national and local initiatives to help encourage people to work in the sector being announced by the government but at SIL we’ve already started and our aim is to continue as an employer of choice in this sector locally. 

We have worked hard to improve the working environment for staff. This has included offering paid sick leave, enhanced maternity pay and free staff training opportunities well above the requirements of the Care Certificate. In line with this ongoing investment in our staff, the decision to significantly increase salaries was the next logical step.  This step has been taken to acknowledge the hard work of staff across the organisation and to help us increase recruitment so that we can grow further and provide care for more people who need it.

With the 10% increase, SIL becomes one of the market leaders for pay in Herefordshire’s social care sector and hopes that by increasing salaries well above the forthcoming increases in April to the national living wage, that we will attract new people into a rewarding and interesting career.  

Employees can expect not only a good hourly rate, but receive first class training and perks, while working in an organisation that values its staff and provides excellent terms and conditions.  We want to be an employer of choice to demonstrate we value the people who we employe and what they do. 

We will continue to ensure SIL is an employer of choice in this sector and make the best possible working conditions for our staff.

To see our full list of benefits go to: what we can offer you

News Release image - christmas come early for lucky sil staff

Christmas Comes Early for Lucky SIL Staff

News Release No 61/21

23rd November 2021

Not-for-profit care provider Services for Independent Living (SIL), has given their 130 staff a 10% pay increase starting in December. This unprecedented move has been taken to reward their employees for their hard work and commitment and to help increase the recruitment of new staff.

Euan McPherson, Chief Executive said: ‘We are seeking to expand and having just won a new contract for homecare provision in Herefordshire we are keen to recruit new staff.’

He went on to say, ‘Our aim is for  SIL to continue as an employer of choice in this sector locally and we have worked hard to improve the working environment for staff. This has included offering paid sick leave, maternity pay and free staff training opportunities well above the requirements of the Care Certificate. In line with this ongoing investment in our staff, the decision to significantly increase salaries was the next logical step”

Social care nationally is facing significant staff shortages and many providers are struggling to recruit staff. There are national and local initiatives to help encourage people to work in the sector, including new funding for training, recently announced by the government.

With the 10% increase, SIL becomes one of the market leaders for pay in Herefordshire’s social care sector and hopes that by increasing salaries well above the forthcoming increases in April to the national living wage, that they will attract new people into a rewarding and interesting career.  Employees can expect not only a good hourly rate, but receive first class training and perks, while working in an organisation that values its staff and provides excellent terms and conditions.

Now we’re talking – Acting together to prevent suicide

Launched in 2018 by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust the Now We’re Talking campaign set out to reduce stigma and encourage more local people to access the Healthy Minds Service to get the support if and when they need it!

Having conversations about mental health helps break down stereotypes, improves relationships, aids recovery and take the sigma out of something that affects us all.

There are lots of different ways to have the conversation about mental health and you don’t have to be an expert to talk.  Promotion of mental health awareness has many forms, and we are all about thinking outside the box! Mental Health problems affect one in four of us, yet people are still afraid to talk about it. Having conversations about mental health helps break down stereotypes, improves relationships, aid recovery and take the sigma out of something that affects us all.

If you would like further information about the Now We’re Talking campaign and how you could get involved please contact alice.linley@nhs.net

Talk

Someone you know will have a mental health problem right now – a family member, your friend, your workmate. He or she just might not know how to tell you.

Being open to mental health can break down any stigma surrounding it. You don’t have to be an expert to talk and to listen, and often it’s the little things that make a big difference.

Go to www.healthyminds./nowweretalking/ for more information on the campaign and how it can help you help yourself or someone else.

GB Paralympics team rewrite history books in Tokyo


The British team won medals across 18 sports and finished second behind China at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games .

ParalympicsGB  had a phenomenal medal haul and reached the podium in more sports than any other nation at a single Games.  226 athletes competed in the 12 day competition held in Tokyo after an extremely difficult 18 months as the COVID pandemic brought the world to a standstill.

Team GB won 124 medals overall, including 41 gold, 38 silver and 45 bronze.

ParalympicsGB’s traditionally strong sports, such as cycling, rowing and equestrian, once again proved to be the best in the world.  There were also outstanding performances from the wheelchair fencing, judo and table tennis squads.”

Every member of ParalympicsGB’s 20-strong cycling squad won medals in Tokyo, spearheaded by Dame Sarah Storey who became Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian of all time, winning three events to reach 17 golds in a stunning career.

In the dressage arena, Sir Lee Pearson moved to third on the all-time list of ParalympicsGB medallists with three golds in Tokyo.  This was his 14th medal across five Games. Joining the him on the podium was Georgia Wilson, one of 48 Games debutants in the ParalympicsGB team who return home with silverware.

Swimmer Reece Dunn won  five medals – three golds, a silver and a bronze – making him the most decorated athlete in the ParalympicsGB squad for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

There were medals too for British athletes in taekwondo and badminton, new additions to the Paralympic programme for Tokyo 2020.  Beth Munro, Amy Truesdale, Dan Bethell and Krysten Coombs all reached the podium.

ParalympicGB’s wheelchair rugby team struck gold for the first time at their sixth Games, beating three-time champions the USA 54-49 in a thrilling final. Kylie Grimes, the sole female in the British squad, also made history as she became the first woman to win wheelchair rugby gold.

Experience also paid off for table tennis player Sue Bailey who, after competing at six Paralympic Games, secured her first Paralympic medal alongside teammate Megan Shackleton. Para canoe’s Jeanette Chippington was ParalympicGB’s oldest medallist with bronze out on the water in the women’s VL2 event. The 51-year-old first pulled on the British vest at Seoul 1988 in a remarkable Paralympic career that has spanned five decades.

Meanwhile 17-year-old swimmer Ellie Challis, ParalympicGB’s youngest athlete in Tokyo, exemplified the star quality of the next generation of young athletes with silver in the women’s 50m backstroke (S3).

Summing up the performance of the team over the last 12 days, Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe OBE said:

“The performance of the athletes will live long in the memory and their impact will transcend these Games – inspiring the next generation, giving hope and happiness, and positively influencing change through what they have delivered on and off the field of play.

Have you been inspired?

If you are living with a disability and have been inspired to try out a new sport try these websites for clubs in your area:

parasport.org.uk/

getoutgetactive.co.uk/

disabilitysportwales.com/

rda.org.uk/ Riding for the Disabled

At the heart of our challenge is the importance of exercise on mental and physical health so even if you can’t become the next dressage olympian you will be boosting your health.

SIL 25k mile challenge update

As we head into September and the 6th month of the Challenge we have racked up over 5000 miles.  We have a very long way to go so please don’t forget to send in those miles.  You can let us know via the email sil25k@s4il.co.uk.

Don’t forget that we are also raising funds for Megan Baker House and you can donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sil-25k-challenge

Leominster Dementia Care


Leominster Meeting Centre and Dementia Friendly Leominster is about helping people and their families adjust to living with dementia.  They offer exercise, educational sessions, one-to-one meetings with support workers and advisers, as well as therapeutic activities and having FUN!

Leominster Dementia Awareness Week is Monday 23rd to Saturday 28th August.  Please check the flyers below to see what’s happening or check their website at https://www.leominstermeetingcentre.co.uk/

SIL celebrates 25 years of care in Herefordshire

SIL marks a significant milestone this year; 2021. 25 years of delivering care and support in Herefordshire.

SIL started way back in 1996 when a group of disabled people and carers decided that they wanted to be part of a pilot scheme that was being introduced by the government for Direct Payments (DP).  This new approach to social care would allow them to control their own care and support by allowing them a pot of money to buy in the services they want rather than being ‘prescribed’ a care package.

This group approached the council and, with a more than a little persuasion, gained approval for a Direct Payment Scheme in Herefordshire.  They then continued to lead the the way in growing the demand for DP and so SIL or Herefordshire Centre for Independent Living (HCIL), as it was known then, was born. The group recognised that whilst the ideal was there, they needed a little support to manage some aspects of the process.  HCIL, with it’s first CEO, Marion Tweed-Ryecroft on board  initially offered payroll, book keeping and employment advice to the first recipients of Direct Payments.

Roll forward 25 years and SIL has grown; we now also provide care and support in the home and community with our Independent Living at Home and Homecare Services.  That small group of disabled people, and the disabled persons or family carers, that form at least 50% of our board of  Trustees, that have followed have made SIL what it is.  They have provided direction and been instrumental in ensuring that SIL can enable people affected by disabilities to exercise choice and control, to live independent lives, and to actively participate in society.

To celebrate our 25 years our AGM this year will be true party and will feature more awards than ever. Keep reading for all the details… but next


History of SIL by Dave Hughes, Trustee and ILH Service User

Around 1990 Dad used to go to Gill meetings, at that time it was at Hereford County hospital. Dad said I can go, so I did and I met a lot of people. I met a lady called Barbara Milman, who said to me about a group I can go to. It was in Holmer Hall and the group talked about having support staff in your own home, this was where I first met Maggie O’Neill and the late David Price. In the beginning at the meetings there were about five people attending, this was direct payments and today there are a lot!

In the beginning there were 2 or 3 ladies called Marion and Caroline(Caroline is still working in direct payments today,) plus David Norsworthy who started in an office by The Tan Brook Centre in Hereford.  Before long there were a lot of people working there. We had monthly meetings to discuss things and I remember a new lady coming to one of the meetings and her name was Amy, after this she got a position working there. Amy helped me a lot when I was on Direct Payments. She was very good with me and spent a lot of time at my home sorting things out. Aimee still works with Direct payments today.

[toggle title_open=”Read more” title_closed=”Read More” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”yes”]In 2003 Ginnie started Independent Living @Home and the time pass had came for me to transfer onto Independent Living @ Home, this was in 2009.  At that time Ginny started three support workers and a coordinator to help the team leaders and the direct payment clients, when holiday or sickness cover was needed.  The only staff who transferred from Direct Payments with me was Myfanwy.  The coordinator became my team leader, it worked well to start with but the team leader was always stressed, he had only two clients!  When I wanted a change of team leader, I spoke to one of the managers and it came back to me via my team leader I had requested this, so Dad had to intervene to sort it out.

I did some training with Lindsey, Mandy and Anita also Kate, who was working in HR at the time. The training had to stop because Kate was too busy.

I went on holiday to Yorkshire with Myfanwy and Doug, we had a nice time and I also went to the Olympics with Myfanwy and Ben, and had a good time there as well.

SIL moved to Leominster and they were growing every day.

We didn’t have team leaders for a while we had Team Coordinators, they were based in the office. I thought it was not as good as the team leaders, as you only ever spoke to them on the phone. After a couple of years Ginny put it back to team leaders, and I had Elaine Powell, who I liked very much.

Marion said she was leaving so Kate filled in to replace her as the new Chief Executive for a while. Then after, Gemma Lewis got promoted to the head of HR.

After a while Ginny said she was leaving, and Elaine also said she was leaving, but only as my team leader, I missed her very much. Before she left I was ill for a while and I heard the office was having a lot of new people starting, Elaine took me to see what was going on. I met Euan at this time, he was about to be the new chief executive.  I had a chat with Euan and liked him very much.

My new team leader was Joyce Taylor, I liked her.

After a while a new post of manager started and John Roberts had this role, I liked him also. After a bit we had Val Javens as Deputy Manager. We had an AGM at Point4, Venns Lane, Hereford where Lisa and her team were there, from “Wish”.  Wish was based in Leominster at the SIL office, they went all over the county with information. I went to Dorestone Front Room, one day and Lisa was there with the Wish stand, I asked her what can I do regarding an activity, she was very helpful and informative.

I had a change of team leader and now I had Donna Tranter, I liked her.

John Roberts was leaving and Euan asked me would I like to be on the interview panel when replacing John, and I said yes. Val Javens got this role, as she stepped up from Deputy Manager. I was on the interview panel again. Two of them were Team Leaders, who I already knew. One of the Team Leaders got the position, but didn’t stay very long.

The council took Wish and based them elsewhere, at this time I saw Lisa, and she told me she’d got the position of Deputy Manager at SIL, I was very happy about this as I like Lisa very much.

I went to the Summer Garden Party, in the summer of 2017, Karen said to me Euan had mentioned would I like to be a trustee?  I thought I wasn’t that clever but I went to the Open Day for new Trustees, I liked the idea so I went and sat in on the trustee meeting on three occasions. I didn’t go to the next meeting as they were discussing me becoming a trustee. Later that year I became a trustee.

I have seen many changes over the years but I think SIL is run a bit more smoothly now, due to Euan’s open door policy and good communication with all staff.

In May 2019 Rob Simpkin started at SIL as the new team co-ordinator. Then in June Val Javens tendered her resignation, this position was advertised internally and Lisa got the position of Registered Manager. In turn her job was advertised internally also and Rob got the position of deputy Manager.

In August 2019 SIL expanded purchasing Abelia Home Care Services, it provides short calls around Leominster and north Hereford, bringing all the staff with them, it will be an asset to SIL.

Every year SIL has events throughout the year, these are for Easter, the summer garden party, McMillan coffee morning, the AGM and Christmas jumper day.  SIL publish a monthly bulletin, a quarterly newsletter and also a Year Book, this celebrates everything SIL has achieved throughout the year.

I have seen many changes over the years and I think SIL as got better and better.

When we had to lock down for Covid in March 2020 everyone work as one team to keep us safe. I think they all worked very good from the support workers, teem leaders, Managers. I know Paula and Chib kep the Office running, now we have got Milly.

Thank you to Dave for that brilliant retelling of the history of SIL.  Dave has Cerebral Palsy which affects his body movement and uses a electric wheelchair to get around.  Whilst at home and with his family and support team he is able to communicate and respond with head movements and slower speech.  To write this he used electronic Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device with simple head movements. [/toggle]

The Red Carpet AGM and extra special award ceremony

As this is a landmark year for SIL we are celebrating.  Our AGM will be an extra glamourous affair to be held at the Courtyard on Thursday 7th October with lunch, a celebration cake and prosecco… as well as the formal business we will have the launch of our new videos and extra special awards ceremony.

The invite is extended to Service Users, family and carers, SIL employees and interested persons who would like to know more about SIL. Please RSVP to reception@s4il.co.uk.

Awards

ILH & Homecare Awards

The Judy Phillips Memorial Award – Support Worker of the Year (nominated by Team Leaders)

Nominations are made for the person who shows positive regard for all; commitment & flexibility; accepting and supporting differences; warmth, humour & sensitivity; ability to listen and let the service user lead and a willingness to go the extra mile.  The award is named after Support Worker Judy Phillips who sadly passed away after car accident.  She embodied all of these qualities and thus an award was created in her name.

The Ian Jones Award (Service user nomination)

This award is given for enabling services users to achieve personal objectives by encouraging and motivating others; increasing service user confidence and working in partnership with others.  The Ian Jones award was added by the family of a Service User, they were so fond of Ian who supported their son, also Ian, they asked for an award to commemorate him.

The Adam Cove Award – Team Leader of the year (nominated by Service Users)

This award is given for the Team Leader who has: outstanding vision; dedication and commitment to excellence.  Adam was a popular member of the SIL team who used his photography skills to take photos for SIL, wrote a travel blog and personified the award characteristics.

ILH Team of the Year (Service user nomination)

The Team of the year award is given to the team which demonstrates these principles: working well together; support each other; good sense of humour; share tasks; talk through issues; accepting and supporting differences and a willingness to go the extra mile

HCS Award of the Year (Service user nomination)

This award  is presented to the Homecare Services support worker who shows positive regard for all; commitment & flexibility; accepting and supporting differences; warmth, humour & sensitivity; ability to listen and let the service user lead and a willingness to go the extra mile.

Extra Awards for 2021

Traditionally SIL awards have recognised excellence in our care providers as it receives so little acclaim elsewhere.  One of the positives to come from the Covid-19 pandemic is that the care sector is now receiving much more recognition for it’s value and we have proudly and diligently lived up to the keyworker title.

We continue to recognise excellence in our care teams but with this celebratory event wanted to acknowledge the outstanding people that are part of the wider SIL team and those that support and care for people outside of our workforce. To that end we have introduced 5 new awards:

Direct Payment Services Award

Outstanding PA of the year, nominated by DPSS SUs. Download the nomination form Nomination form.

Nominations are sought from our DPSS users and family members for their support staff or personal assistants; those that they feel are the best example of what an outstanding PA should be.

Services for Independent Living Awards

Team award for Outstanding achievement

Health & Safety Award for Managing Covid

Business Continuity Award

Keep Calm and Carry On Award

August – Olympic Inspiration

Olympic Inspiration


With Great Britain currently (as of 2nd August) 6th in the medal table and having won a fantastic 33 medals are you inspired to get sporty?  Do you suddenly feel like taking up Taekwondo or high diving, or even being part of a mixed relay team?  It seemed in the early days of the 2020 (but actually 2021) Olympics that if your name was Tom you were guaranteed a medal! If you like to keep up to date with all the medal winners you can find them all here:  https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/  It’s great to now see so many more medals being won in a huge variety of sports and the mixed sports helping to raise the profile and equality of women in sport.

Even if you aren’t up to Olympic standard, any kind of sport or activity is great for your physical wellbeing and whilst being enjoyed at a lower level it is great for your mental health.  Sadly, we’re seeing an increasing number of elite sports men and women that are suffering with mental ill health as a result of the pressure and responsibility of competing at that level.  That aside; starting a new sport, picking up an old sporting hobby, dusty tennis racket or long forgotten googles; or trying something out for the first time will no doubt be good fun and help to release those feel good endorphins whilst giving your heart a kickstart too.

Paralympics

As the Olympics closes later this week we don’t have to wait long for our next sporting fix!  The Paralympics kicks off on the 24th August with events in 22 different sporting activities.  The Paralympic Movement offers sport opportunities for athletes with physical, vision and/or intellectual impairments that have at least one of the following 10 eligible impairments: Impaired muscle power, Impaired passive range of movement, Limb deficiency, Leg length difference, Short stature, Muscle tension, Uncoordinated movement, Involuntary movements, Vision impairment, Intellectual Impairment.

During all of the events you’ll see amazing athletes who show that disability isn’t about what you can’t do but what you can do.  Our strength-based and person centred ethos supports this idea by focusing on what you can do and what you want to do.  Throughout the Paralympics you also see innovative modifications that make the sports accessible and awe inspiring.  Our service users show us everyday that so many activities are adaptable to all kinds of ability and they don’t let anything hold them back.

Holidays

Meanwhile, we are now into the second full week of the school summer break and summer holiday season is in full swing.  Has your step count risen accordingly with day trips, touring the visitor attractions and keeping the kids entertained.  If any of these is true for you we’ll be glad to hear about your miles for our 25k totaliser….

Send in your July miles

It’s time to let us know how many miles you did it July as we flip over the calendar into August.  Please send us an email with your count for July to the usual address SIL25k@s4il.co.uk.  We would love to see your photos too of places you’ve visited, recommendations for walking, running or cycling routes and see what you’ve been up to.  Remember it doesn’t have to be miles travelled; you could be using a static machine, doing aerobics or gardening.  As long as it gets you moving or out in the fresh air it all counts.

Donate

As part of our challenge we are raising money for our charity of the year Megan Baker House,  if you would let to help us support Megan Baker House please donate here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sil-25k-challenge

July – Sports Focus

July – we’re a quarter of the way through our challenge


As we move into our 4th month of the SIL 25k it seems that July is a key month for sport.

Football

The Euros are in full swing with the quarter finals kicking off tomorrow Friday 2nd July and to the delight of England fans we are part of this stage having fought off Germany.

I’m not about to turn football pundit, we’ve got the sports channels for that but did you know that during a football match they travel about 6 -10miles so if you are a keen footballer check out your miles during a match and let us count them towards our challenge totaliser.

Even if you don’t cover as much ground as a professional footballer research suggests not only are you fitter if you take part in team sports (people who exercise in groups do nearly twice as much activity as those who exercise alone), but it’s better for emotional health, too.  A report shows that being part of a team is beneficial to your working life, helping with goal-setting, focus and grit. It also boosts your motivation, makes you happier, improves feelings of social-connectedness and peer-bonding – which all help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

Cycling

The Tour de France 2021 has also started and participants will continue to contest the wearer of the famous yellow jersey until 18th July.

Cycling is a great sport option because it is low impact – it causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise.  Cycling uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal and it is good for strength, stamina and aerobic fitness which all help towards your overall physical health.

The greatest benefit for the SIL challenge is that you can rack up lots more miles per hour compared to running or walking.  Our CEO Euan, a keen cyclist, has been totting up his miles on the bike and recently cycled 100 miles in one day.  WOW!

Tennis

The Tennis Championships at Wimbledon have also kicked off, which sees the worlds best tennis players come together to fight for the titles at probably the most famous tennis competition in the world.

In 2020, Fitbit reported that according to their user data, an hour of singles tennis generates around, on average, 10,680 steps, while an hour of doubles tennis generates 7,980 steps. That’s an equivalent of about 4 to 5 miles of running and 3 to 4 miles respectively depending on your stride length.

Whilst tennis is more high impact all the same physical and mental health benefits are true of tennis as well and you’ll tot up the miles without having to travel great distances or even realising.

and lots more

And last but not least the Olympics start! Another event that had be delayed due to Covid will commence on Friday 23rd July. With so many different sports involved, including skateboarding for the first time ever, it’s hard not to be inspired.

So whilst sporting professionals and olympiads take their sports to the extreme we hope you manage to get out and do a little too.  With proven physical and mental health benefits you really will feel better for it – the hardest bit is getting started.

Make it count!

We can’t offer world titles, gleaming trophies or gold and silver medals but we would really like it if you would join us as we take on our own challenge – the SIL 25k.   Join us in trying to achieve 25,000 miles between 1st April 2021 and 31st March 2022 as we celebrate our 25th year of delivering care and support in Herefordshire. We would welcome anyone who is a SIL supporter, Staff, Trustees, people we support, family and friends to take part.

You don’t need an app, you don’t need to run or be a professional – just let us know how many miles (no proof required)  you do each month by emailing sil25k@s4il.co.uk.

For more information on why exercise is so good for you and how you might join in even if you don’t do miles read all about it in The Warm Up

and if you could send a little donation to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sil-25k-challenge to help us raise money for Megan Baker House, our Charity of the Year.  If you would like to know why we are supporting Megan Baker House read more here 

MS Society Wales – PONTIO Project

The Pontio Project provides emotional, befriending and one to one support to people living with and affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Wales.

They offer information and support on employment rights & welfare benefits (incl. PIP/ESA claims); ways to manage your MS; accessing treatments, health & social care services.

Contact
0808 800 8000
mymscymru@mssociety.org.uk
www.mssociety.org.uk/wales