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


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

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