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Report and Accounts for 2015/16

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During the year, our ILAs and FMAs supported 3,099 separate individuals and carried out a total of 3,235 home visits.

Our Hubs hosted 900 drop-in sessions delivered by 25 different organisations over the year.

Our main office made and received 42,555 phone calls (56% were incoming) for a total amount of 1,594 hours (equal to 277 working days).

We ran the extremely successful Surrey Independent Living Fair in June 2015, attracting well over 1,000 people.

Our Hubs provided more than 2,650 items of equipment to their visitors to help them remain independent.

Our tweets were seen 77,000 times and we had a 54% increase in Twitter followers.

Our Hubs had approximately 12,500 visitors during the year.

Our financial monitoring team completed 7,082 direct payment reconciliations returning £2,417,190 of surplus direct payment funds to Surrey CC.

We made payments totalling £1,287,594, most of which were via the GP Carers Break Programme.

Our Journey to Employment project supported 16 people into jobs, one into a work experience placement, three on to further training and 10 took up voluntary work placements.



1 - Chairperson's report
2 - Personnel report
3 - Publicity and Communications report
4 - Treasurer's report
5 - Supported Managed Accounts
6 - Journey to Employment
7 - SILC service activity
8 - GP Carer Payments and Prescriptions
9 - Information, advice and support
10 - The Surrey Hubs
11 - Financial monitoring
12 - What our clients say about us
13 - Trustee and staff list



1. Chairperson's report


My first year as Chair of SILC has flown by. It has been a very busy year as we continued to provide our existing range of services, launched new ones and started to make plans to develop new services for the future. So all in all I think it is fair to say that my first year has not been an easy ride!
Luckily I work with a great group of fellow Trustees and a wonderful team of Staff in the office and at the Hubs, all of whom are brilliant, friendly and approachable.

If you have not spoken to anyone there before, please make the jump into your unknown and approach them, the SILC staff will move heaven and earth to assist you.

Our Independent Living, Financial Monitoring and Carer Support Advisers continued to provide great support to lots of people using direct payments from Surrey County Council and Carer Break Payment from the NHS.
There was a steady increase in the number of people benefiting from SILC support with their Personal Health Budgets, and we also started to support direct payments for Children with Special Educational Needs and to help people manage their own personal funds via our Assisted Finance Account Service.

All this work was backed up and facilitated by the invaluable support of our admin, finance, engagement and communication teams.

Once again this year we managed to secure funding from Skills for Care to provide a wider range of courses to personal assistants and their employers than ever before.

Across the year we ran 89 training and peer support sessions attended by 575 people and we also attended 106 events including workshops and conferences.
In April 2015 we started to administer The NHS Carer Onward Referral (Prescription) service, whereby we act as a one stop referral point to enable GPs and other health providers to refer carers for additional support, such as local carer groups and carer assessments from Surrey County Council. By March 2016 we had seen a steady increase in the number of onward referral requests to a total of 2,741.

We also ran our first Journey to Employment Project. Funded by the Department for Work and Pensions this project extended the idea of peer support to enable disabled people to have a better and more appropriate form of support to help them into employment and training. We were very pleased that in the 12 months that the project ran for we were able to support 16 people into jobs and another 14 into work experience, volunteering or training.

Our biggest changes during the last year I think have been around the Hubs, with building contracts coming up for renewal and knowing funding for the Hubs was to be reduced we started running more mobile Hubs. These mean that we can bring the information and support services available in the Hubs to a wide range of places where people are, which has proved very successful.

In view of this, we will be continuing to run mobile Hubs, particularly in areas where we used to have Hubs permanently in residence to give help and support to people.

Our Redhill Hub still has our shop in it, with its great range of aids and equipment, and these we hope to soon have available online so there is yet another way you can order.

The Hubs in Epsom and Redhill and the mobile Hubs are run by our team of Volunteers and Volunteer Development Workers who do wonderful work to ensure that older people, disabled people, carers and their families can get information and support directly from people who have shared similar experiences to them.

We have several new plans to help us as we restructure to ensure the best possible use of funds for our clients, which is of course you! We have been very fortunate to get together with Pilotlight (a charitable organisation that helps other charities to develop) who will be helping us market ourselves more effectively, and to bring new initiatives on line so that we work with all those in the community who need help to live independently, instead of just those who receive direct payments. More about this over the coming months.

On a sad note, I would like to pay tribute to Dilys Scott. A long standing supporter of SILC and a Trustee from last year. Dilys sadly passed away earlier this year. Our thoughts and best wishes go to her family.

Finally, I would like to extend my special thanks to our Treasurer Steve, and Vice Chairs Brenda and Jason, for all the support they have provided to SILC during the year, and to SILC's management team of Richard, Joan and Jon, who continue to work so very hard to ensure that SILC is a success, and the people in Surrey get the support they want and need.

Jo Komisarczuk Chair of SILC



2. Personnel report


The staff team at SILC are a formidable bunch of people. Above all they are dedicated to the philosophy of independent living and improving the lives of people in Surrey who need help to be able to live independently.

One of my proudest achievements as the Chair of the Personnel Sub Committee is that we are able to retain the great staff that we have. This means that the skills and knowledge that they have stay within SILC to continually improve the advice and support we provide.

Unfortunately, primarily due to uncertainty around Surrey County Council funding for our Hubs, we lost three or our permanent Hub team recently, so I would like to wish Sarah Lynch, Jo Mather and Helen Brady all the best for the future. Akiko Showell who worked as part of our finance team also left us and my best wishes go to her as well.

During last year our vacant Volunteer Development Worker post at the Walton Hub was covered by Nick Markwick, so thank you Nick for stepping into that particular breach.

The only other staff change is a more positive one. Sarah Gordon of our Finance Team went on maternity leave and her work is being covered by Gillian Tjia McMurray from the financial monitoring team.

Even with these changes we still have a staff team of 35, plus 30 volunteers, and additional support for the Trustees from Lucy Finney and training support from Hillary Delaney Hall, Bob Hall and Stephanie Austin.

A relatively new development for us is using the Human Resource skills we have as an organisation to support other Voluntary sector groups and it is this service that we are providing to Healthwatch Surrey along with financial management and governance support.

Last year we supported Healthwatch to successfully recruit and employ a new Chief Executive as well as operating their financial systems and manging their office and office support.

On a closing note I must recognise that we are going through some very financially challenging times both for the people who use our services and us as an organisation.

It is difficult to know what the future will bring but SILC's trustees, volunteers and staff will continue to work together to ensure that SILC delivers the best service it possibly can.

Brenda Griffiths Vice Chair and Chair of the Personnel Sub-Committee



3. Publicity and Communications report


It has been a very busy year for the Publicity and Communications Sub-Committee.
The committee, along with the communications team, Jon, Doug and Lorna, have been working hard progressing our Communications Strategy and actively promoting our services, for both SILC and the Hubs, in hundreds of locations around Surrey ranging from Dentists and Vets, to Schools, Hospitals and GP surgeries.

Lorna has been busy visiting GP surgeries to promote SILC through talks with Doctors and other practice staff to give a greater understanding of how we could help many of their patients to be more independent at home. Lorna has also been visiting many other venues around Surrey giving talks and promoting SILC.

Additionally, Lorna has been running our “Let's Chat” peer support sessions at various Surrey Hubs. Although some of these weren't very well attended, those who did attend the sessions were so grateful for the extensive amount of information and support they received from Lorna and each other, and the extended support they subsequently received from SILC.

Our Liberty Link newsletter remains very popular, especially in the new A5 format. We've recently focused on stories from our clients and volunteers and how they have become more independent by utilising SILC's services, including the Surrey Hubs, and have received very positive feedback about the newsletters' content and structure. This is great news! You can find lots of our previous newsletters on our website

In the autumn, we, in partnership with three Surrey CCGs, Surrey CC, Surrey NHS providers and Voluntary sector partners, won the National HSJ award 2015 in the Commissioning for Carers category, thanks to the highly successful GP Carers Break Programme. It is absolutely fantastic to receive this kind of recognition, as it shows we are making an incredibly positive difference to the lives of our service users.

Our Members' Panel and Community Promotions Group have been hard at work promoting SILC and providing comprehensive feedback on our services. We now have eight SILC members on the Members' Panel, 14 in the Community Promotions Group and 17 new people have expressed an interest in becoming a member of SILC.

This is brilliant news! I would like to convey my upmost thanks to our members, and those in the panel and promotions group.
If you or someone you know is interested in any of these opportunities, or simply wants to become a member, please do contact the SILC office.

Jo Komisarczuk

Chair of SILC and Chair of the Publicity Sub-Committee



4. Treasurer's report


Income from the Direct Payments contract totalled £1,024,000, up £63,000 year on year. In addition, our income from other projects was £308,000, down £127,000 on the prior year, primarily arising from a significant reduction in income from our management of Surrey Healthwatch. Together our total income was £1,332,000.

Funding from these contracts has enabled SILC to provide a Direct Payments service to 3,099 people during the last year as well as making 3,235 home visits. SILC was also able to make 3,237 one-off carer payments, totalling £1,288,000 and to handle 2,741 carer prescriptions.
Because of our high level of activity SILC is pleased to be able to declare a surplus for the year of nearly £45,000, with almost £20,000 of that unrestricted.

This surplus primarily arises from the Direct Payments support contract with Surrey County Council which also now incorporates our FMA, SMA and Carer's Direct payments services.

During the year, SILC reviewed its investment policy. Considering the stock market to be too volatile at the current time the Board of Trustees determined that a conservative approach was necessary and confined its investments to placing a limited sum in a short notice account.

The returns on this account will provide some cover against the erosion of our reserves by inflation.

SILC has sufficient funding in place in the medium term to sustain the organisation but in the longer-term would struggle to retain its service offer in the event that the Surrey County Council contract was not renewed, unless alternative income sources were secured.

SILC is actively developing strategies aimed at developing a wider and more diverse funding base to ensure continuity of existing services as well as the broadening of our reach to self-funders.

SILC's policy to establish unrestricted reserves covering at least six months' expenditure, in accordance with the guidelines of the Charity Commission, has been met. At the end of the year SILC had carried forward unrestricted reserves of £750,000, which includes unrestricted cash reserves of £556,000.

Steve Peckham, SILC Treasurer



5. Supported Managed Accounts


One our SMAs was projected to go into a deficit with not enough money to pay the PA's wages. Everything was being paid out as per the support plan so we could not see why this was.

On further investigation it turned out that this person's gym membership which was on the plan was not actually being paid into the SMA.

After sending a few emails and chasing phone calls we managed to speak to the care practitioner who agreed that this hadn't been done as it should have been, and that the locality finance team had ceased the gym membership part of the plan without reason.

Our finance team then chased this up with the locality finance team and they confirmed that it should have been paid.

They then processed the payment on the same day so that the PA could be paid on time.



6. Journey to Employment


Journey to Employment was a DWP funded project to provide support for people seeking employment who had a long term health condition or impairment.

The focus was to provide friendly peer support training days and job clubs to enable individuals to build their confidence, obtain/improve work ready skills, prevent social isolation and move towards or into employment.

These courses were facilitated by Dave Smith, SILC’s Community Employment Specialist, and other facilitators with a lived experience of disability or who were specialist providers with experience of disability and employment seeking. These included other members of the SILC team, ESRA, SDPP and Surrey Choices Employability.

The project ran from May 2015 to March 2016, providing 7 courses in total. Each course ran for a total of 12 weeks, with additional support being provided after this at fortnightly Employment Cafes.

In total we had 64 people sign up to attend our courses over the year.

Of these, we supported 16 into jobs, one into a work experience placement, three went on to further training and 10 took up voluntary work placements.

Our job outcome rate was 25%, far exceeding the programme’s 4% minimum success criteria and with our total outcomes rate being 47% this was felt to be a very successful project.

In addition to the outcomes, providing a dedicated course for disabled people and those with a long term health conditions enabled participants to support each other, share experiences and reduce social isolation. The following quote from a course participant highlights the importance of this: “When we had group chats at first I didn't want to take part, but as everyone started to include me and help me so I could hear and understand them, I slowly started to take part. I've never been able to chat in a group with faces that I am not familiar with before”.

Other quotes from course participants highlight this positive approach:

"J2E gave me the individual, focused support I needed to enable me to gain employment. It showed me how the skills I had were valuable to new employers and helped build my confidence back up so that my long term health condition was no longer a negative influence on the process. I am now looking forward to my new adventure and am making many new friends in the process.”

“The team I thought were very professional and very kind. They also understood how I get frustrated regarding the lack of help I received from previous groups and I would be very happy to sit in a group session run by your team and yourself again.”

“I felt really well supported during the course without being under pressure or feeling overwhelmed. The course leaders also seemed understanding and genuinely seemed to want to help, which I really appreciated.”

“This has been one of the best days of my life”

Dave Smith, Community Employment Specialist, SILC



7. SILC service activity


We had an 84% increase in participants at our training and peer support events compared to 2014/15.

We received 497 new referrals for independent living advice and support over the year.

We received 379 referrals for support with managing direct payment finances.

We made 2,143 payments to Carers via the GP Carers Support Programme.

Our ILA Duty service has supported over 1,200 people during the year.

Our staff attended 106 engagement and information events and workshops.

Our website had 11,342 unique visitors over the year.



8. GP Carer Payments and Prescriptions


Yvonne is 71 years of age and a carer for her husband who has advanced dementia and has suffered several heart attacks. He has also recently had a stroke.

Yvonne was exhausted and this was heightened by sleep deprivation caused by responding to her husband’s needs at night.

She was aware of support groups and uses a residential respite centre occasionally to enable some time at home without 24/7 caring responsibilities.

During our initial contact with Yvonne it was discussed that she might benefit from some more focused quality individual time for herself during her husband’s respite and in order to fund this she was provided with a £500 Carer Support Payment.

Yvonne used the money to attend a residential spa break and subsequently SILC received a letter from Yvonne along with her receipts saying how delighted she was with the help she had received.

Here is an extract from the letter:
“This is where I chose to spend the amazing £500 Support Payment. I have just returned this evening and I feel more refreshed and rested. I still have a few days until my husband comes home – on my own. I cannot thank you enough for enabling me to have this break”.



9. Information, advice and support


Terry is a 20 year old young man with a learning disability who lives at home with his mum and dad.
He was given Direct Payments to support him getting out into the community to increase his independence from his parents, learn life skills and to meet new people.

His ambition is to work in a computer/media type environment. To this end he was also given an allowance to spend on a ‘Photoshop’ distance learning course.

Photoshop is a digital photographic program that professional photographers use in the course of their work. It is an extensive and complicated program to master.
The family knew a person who they thought would be suitable to employ as a PA to support Terry and so a meeting was held with him, the family and an ILA from SILC. This person was ideal for Terry on many different levels. However, there were contractual problems with his existing employment contract that may have prevented him from working with Terry on a part time basis.

We sought legal advice through our contacts and were able to confirm that he could work with Terry and all the correct procedures were put in place.

During the meeting, the Photoshop course was discussed and it was decided that on reflection it would be too advanced for Terry and was not really suitable. Because his new PA had professional photographic experience it was decided that he would use his knowledge of Terry and of photography to teach Terry as part of the support he would provide. It was also decided that it would be advantageous for Terry to have a basic camera on which to learn.

A case was put forward to social services by SILC to use the funds that were available for the Photoshop course to be used instead on a camera. This was agreed and Terry now has a camera.

Since then, with support from his PA, Terry has made contact with a College in Hampshire.
The College is having a new building constructed and Terry has agreed with the construction company to write a blog on the various stages of the build. He now has a website, with photos and text about each stage of construction. He visits the site and updates his blog on a regular basis and links have been placed on both the college and company websites.

With a little support, Terry has now made contacts with new people away from his family, has created a blog/website and has learnt new camera and digital media skills.


10. The Surrey Hubs


SILC manages the Surrey Hubs in the East of the county and they have had another exceptionally good year. Between April 2015 and March 2016 Hub volunteers and staff supported more than 9,000 people. This is a real achievement that we strongly believe demonstrates the value of basing peer support services in the heart of the community.

Over a third of these people were also repeat visitors, which is a great indicator of customer service excellence as it shows that many who had visited in the past felt confident to return for further assistance.

The Independent Living Shop at Hub Redhill flourished during the year too, providing more than 2,650 aids and pieces of equipment to its visitors to help them remain independent.

As well as giving information and support, the East Hubs hosted a wide range of specialist organisations providing valuable advice to members of the local community. 25 different organisations - such as Action for Carers, Adult Social Care and the Mary Frances Trust - delivered more than 900 drop-ins, and in total the East Hubs welcomed around 3,500 visitors to these sessions.

This brings the combined number of East Hub visitors close to 12,500 during the year.

Surrey Disabled People’s Partnership run the Hubs in West Surrey, and the total number of visitors across East and West during the year was approximately 23,000, which really is amazing.

It is hard to quantify the impact this vast amount of support has made but, with many thousands of people receiving help to access vital equipment, benefits advice, advocacy and a host of other services, it is certain the Hubs are making a huge difference to the health, wellbeing and independence of disabled people, older people and carers across the county.

Due to reductions in council funding there were major changes to the way the Hub service is delivered earlier this year. The Epsom and Redhill Hubs have remained open, but the Hubs in Walton and Dorking are now closed, with people in these areas, and Tandridge, being supported by a mobile service across a variety of venues. There have also been similar changes in the West.

Despite these challenges the Hub team are working hard to maintain the vital services they provide, and have continued to support thousands of people over recent months.



11. Financial monitoring


Vivien is a 72 year old lady who has had a stroke which has left her with very little use in her right arm and no control of her bladder. She therefore has a catheter and bag and is in a wheelchair. She lives alone in a single storey attached house. She has two sons who both live abroad, who she does see occasionally.

Vivien has a direct payment for personal care from an agency and a community alarm and was referred to SILC for financial reconciliation assistance.

One of our Financial Monitoring Advisors (FMAs) recently visited Vivien to help her complete her reconciliations and was concerned because when Vivien answered the door in her wheelchair she was not fully dressed and it was cold in her house. Vivien told our FMA that the care worker from the agency had left her undressed and when our FMA enquired further, although Vivien was rather nervous in confiding, she said she was not happy with her care but did not want to complain to SCC.

Our FMA suggested that Vivien contact her practitioner, but she was worried that this might cause trouble. Our FMA then asked if the care worker was due back later that day, but Vivien said she was not sure she if they would be returning. Vivien also had difficulty manoeuvring her wheelchair into her bedroom and could not turn it round as the room is small and there were a lot of clothes on the floor.

Our FMA referred this to Vivien’s practitioner as a possible safeguarding issue and for a review of her living conditions. Since then, on the advice of an occupational therapist Vivien had had some building work completed to extend her bedroom to a more useable space more appropriate for her wheelchair. The practitioner followed the incident with the care worker up with the agency and with SILC’s support Vivien has gone on to employ her own Personal Assistant.



12. What our clients say about us


Clear relevant advice followed up with the support we needed.

SILC is a very valuable organisation. They are efficient, very empathetic and they listened to my needs.

SILC was very helpful, their staff very knowledgeable helpful and thorough in providing all information and answering all of my questions.

Visiting my home and helping me to fill in forms, not only with regard to direct payments. Very reassuring to know that there are people and organisations there to help when in need.

Always very polite and always ring you back if busy.

I found the personal health budget support and recruiting support was great and informative.

SILC has helped everyone in my family.

Training team excellent for employer and employee courses.



13. Trustee and staff list


SILC TRUSTEES - 2015 - 2016
Brenda Griffiths (Vice Chair),
David Campling,
Dilys Scott,
Jo Komisarczuk (Chair),
Jason Vaughan (Vice Chair),
Labna Hameed,
Leonie Riddett,
Michael Moorwood,
Milena Krasovec,
Neville Hinks,
Steve Peckham.


SILC STAFF - 2015 - 2016
Abi Clear, Independent Living Adviser
Akiko Showell, Finance Assistant
Angelo Lepore, Volunteer Development Worker (Hubs)
Bryan Lowe, Reception Admin Officer
Caroline Fowler, Volunteer Development Worker (Hubs)
Chris Green, Financial Monitoring Adviser
Dave Gosden, Senior Financial Support Officer
David Smith, Community Employment Specialist
Dean Beverley, Independent Living Adviser
Doug Payne, Communications Officer
Gemma Harding, Financial Monitoring Adviser
Gillian Tjia McMurray, Financial Monitoring Adviser
Helen Anjomshoaa, Office Manager
Helen Brady, Volunteer Development Worker (Hubs)
Ian Southey, Independent Living Adviser
Jenny Connell, Financial Monitoring Adviser
Jill Coles, Senior Independent Living Adviser
Jo Mather, Volunteer Development Worker (Hubs)
Joan Cumber, Finance Manager
John Rich, Independent Living Adviser
Jon Boland, Operations Manager
Judy Penfold, Financial Monitoring Adviser
Kirsty Fearns, Financial Monitoring Adviser
Laura Swinerd, Independent Living Adviser
Lorna Marsh, Engagement Officer
Lyn Hurst, Carers Advice Assistant
Natasha Hall, Admin Assistant
Nicola Palmer, Financial Monitoring Adviser
Nicole Lau, Volunteer Development Worker (Hubs)
Nick Markwick, Volunteer Development Worker (Hubs)
Nikki Nazari, Financial Monitoring Adviser
Pam Gough, Hub Finance Support
Richard Davy, Chief Executive Officer
Rolfe Showell, Referral Admin Officer
Sam Black, Financial Support Assistant
Sarah Gordon, Financial Support Assistant
Sarah Lynch, Senior Volunteer Development Worker (Hubs)
Stephen Pugsley, Carers Support Adviser
Tim O'Connell, Data Quality Assistant
Una Webb, Carers Advice Assistant



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SILC, Astolat, Coniers Way, Burpham, Guildford GU4 7HL. Tel: 01483 458111
Registered charity No. 1146482