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Liberty Link Summer 2016

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1 - Chair's Remarks
2 - Spotlight on SILC services
3 - Teen Hub Redhill
4 - Imogen's Story
5 - Call to Duty
6 - NHS England Carers Memorandum
7 - Free eye test at home
8 - CarerSmart
9 - Lasting Powers of Attorney - Giving you control
10 - Does the person you care for like to go to the cinema?
11 - Personal Health Budget Peer Network Event
12 - The SILC Members’ Panel and Community Promotions Group


Chair's Remarks

“Hello and welcome to the summer edition of Liberty Link.

The year seems to be going rather fast now the evenings are longer and there is so much to do in the garden.
For those who live in Guildford, you will know that the Local Plan is causing battles again. At the Borough Council meeting in May, the plan was put out for consultation again, with thousands complaining about the incursion on the Green Belt and the destruction of local ancient woodland.

It was reported in the media that during the debate a councillor was heard to volunteer the words “what did the trees matter, they were old anyway”.

I have no idea who said it, so I cannot give you an age profile, but I did stop reading and wonder why this country no longer values the old among us.

Trees, like people, grow more beautiful with age, like us they show the good and the bad that has occurred since they burst from their seed. To my mind as a gardener there is nothing more beautiful than a stunning bark on an ancient tree.
I am sitting writing this during Chelsea Flower show week, and have been enjoying the many TV programmes from the show.

Last evening the show featured a disabled man who came to plants and gardens after an accident, and is now wheelchair bound, his aspiration is being a show gardener at Chelsea.

Good on him, I look forward to seeing his garden there in the future. One of my favourite gardens this year at Chelsea is the Mathematics garden. I love the shapes and wonder of all the plants which show mathematical forms in them. Did you have a favourite? Or are you lucky enough to be going? Please drop us a line with your news from your garden. It would be lovely to have a few reports from folk who are out doing things.

I have never been to Chelsea, I would love to go, but my fear of crowds and worry about getting there always prevent me, so if someone can write and say they have achieved it I am sure it may spur more of us on to try something new. Of course it does not have to be Chelsea it can be anything you have achieved that others might also enjoy. As ever you can contact me via the office on 01483 458 111 or via email on

Jo, Chair of SILC


Spotlight on SILC services

Supported Managed Accounts

For people who want a direct payment but for one reason or another do not want to have the money paid in to a bank account of their own, we offer a Supported Managed Account (SMA) service.

We open a bank account in the name of the person whose direct payment it is and only income and expenditure relating to that direct payment are managed with this account. Costs identified in an individual’s support plan are paid out of the SMA and a copy of the bank statement and the direct payment monitoring form are sent to clients, with an SMA, on a quarterly basis.

Assisted Finance Accounts

SILC is able to support people to manage their own personal money by providing an Assisted Finance Account (AFA). The service is suitable for people who, although they have capacity to make their own financial decisions, need help to manage their money on a day to day basis.

The service can include acting as an appointee for benefit purposes, setting up and managing a specific bank account on an individual’s behalf, assistance with budgeting and bill paying and the provision of regular manageable cash amounts.

Disclosure and Barring Service checks

SILC can carry out Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for personal assistants at the request of our clients. A DBS check will show whether a PA has a criminal record or not. It is necessary to have a DBS check if a PA is supporting a child (under 18) and is highly recommended if supporting an adult. This service is free for direct payment recipients.


Teen Hub Redhill

Teen Hub Redhill was an exciting SILC pilot project, funded by TravelSmart, for young people aged 14-19 with a personal experience of disability.

Young volunteers were recruited and trained to run an information service for young people. It was open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month from 12pm to 3pm. The project ran from April to December 2015.

The project’s aim was to promote young people’s independence and it was a true success!


Imogen's Story

First I met Lorna at Let’s Chat in the Epsom Hub.
I was actually very nervous, the previous night just thinking about the meeting made me have a panic attack. I spoke to my boyfriend Jay who calmed me down and said ‘don’t worry Lorna is OK’.

I get very anxious about meeting new people so Jay explained again about the Hub and the kind of work the volunteers do there. During Let’s Chat I met other people, a young lad and his mum. After the meeting I decided to go for an interview for volunteering in the Hub and it was successful.
The most difficult thing about volunteering was getting to know the places and the services available and learning the variety of organisations that support people. Thanks to Let’s Chat and the Hub I now know more about what options are out there for me and others.

It has changed the picture so much for me.
Now I know even though I am a self-funder SILC can support me. I have also learnt a lot about how to gain independence skills.
The Let’s Chat with Lorna and volunteering in the Hub have made me feel really secure and relaxed as I realised there are a lot of services available out there.

I also talked to my mum as she has her own vision about what she wants for me. I was able to explain all the options to her so Let’s Chat and the Hub helped my mum as well. Later on in the year I went with Jay to the Surrey Independent Living Fair and that showed us both all the services and activities available for disabled people.

I’m still learning how to deal with my own limitations and abilities but without Jay and the Hub I would still be sitting at home without an advocate or a social worker.

The biggest thing I gained from volunteering is how much love and support we have for one and another and the customers coming in. It’s a nice feeling to give support to people.

The Hub has also taught me different ways to support people and deal with difficult situations and definitely helped my confidence grow. It also has given me the knowledge to help mum and dad in a better way to support my grandparents.

I really enjoy facing challenges and solving difficult scenarios. One day I hope to get a paid job. I have to do something that is energising for my brain but I also need to take my stamina into account. I would really enjoy working in a role where I could support people and the Hub has shown me that. Working in the Hub is a very special opportunity for me.

Beforehand I thought I would end up in a care home and that worried me as I felt there was nowhere else to go. I didn’t want to end up in a care home far away from everyone I love, my family and friends. My experience has given me a much brighter picture.

I knew from a very young age that I would always need carers and I felt that I couldn’t get to the same level of independence as my able bodied siblings. However, my dream is to live somewhere independently where I am happy and close to friends and family.

As I have a visual impairment as well as cerebral palsy and epilepsy I realise it’s quite difficult for me but I feel with the help of PAs I could live more efficiently and travel independently.

That is my dream.

If you would like to know more about how volunteering at Hub Epsom or Hub Redhill could have a great positive affect on your life, like it has for Imogen, you can get in touch with Hub Epsom. Call on 01372 744 479. Text us on 07704 288 772. Email or visit our website at Or you can just pop in when we’re open!


Call to duty

There is usually an independent living adviser on duty here at SILC from 12 noon to 2pm, Monday to Friday, to answer general queries.

You can contact duty by email at or by phone on 01483 458 111.
Our Call To Duty feature answers some of the questions our advisers are most frequently asked while on duty.

Question: How do I go about recruiting a PA?

Answer: You can employ someone you know as a PA as long as they’re not a close relative or partner living at the same address. However, if you need to recruit a PA, there are various ways that you can go about it and SILC can support you throughout the process.

SILC has a free, award-winning website called PA Finder (, where people looking to recruit PAs and people looking to work as PAs can place profiles of themselves.
Names and contact details are not shown on the site but PAs and employers can contact SILC to express an interest in each other and we then liaise between them, either passing on contact details where permission for this has been given and/or organising interviews.
PAs on PA Finder are not vetted or recommended by SILC and won’t necessarily have been DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked prior to being interviewed by you.

However, PAs who have completed our Support with Confidence training have been interviewed, provided references and have been DBS checked.
These PAs are identified on PA Finder by the inclusion of the Support with Confidence logo.

SILC isn’t an agency and we can’t guarantee that employers will find a suitable PA or that PAs will find a suitable job through PA Finder.

Other websites
There are various other websites where you can advertise for a PA, such as, and
These are usually free, though sometimes there may be a small charge if you place more than a certain number of adverts or if you would like your advert highlighted on the site.
Your direct payment package will normally include an amount to cover PA recruitment which can be used to pay for this. Again, SILC can support you with writing and sometimes placing adverts on these sites and your contact details won’t be shown.

Local Papers
SILC can support you with writing and placing adverts in your local papers and have a recruitment phoneline number that can be used so that all responses come through us and your contact details aren’t shown.
Advertising in the paper will cost but can potentially be paid for from the amount for advertising in your direct payment, though the charge for some papers may be more than the one-off amount of £300 which is usually included in direct payment packages for advertising.

Job Centre Plus
SILC can support you with writing and placing adverts in the local Job Centre, using our recruitment phoneline number.
Most people going to the Job Centre are looking for 16 hours or more of work per week so, if you have fewer hours to offer, this may not be very fruitful, but it is free.

Other ways of advertising
These include putting up cards in local shops and post offices, which usually costs around 50p or £1 per week, and advertising in local schools and colleges. SILC can support you with this.
Word of mouth can also be a good way to recruit PAs.
For example, if you go to a day centre, club or place of worship it may be worth enquiring if anyone there is interested in working as a PA.

SILC can support you throughout the recruitment process. As well as support with writing and placing adverts, we can: help you to prepare a job description, help you with interviewing prospective PAs, arrange a DBS check and take up references for your PAs.

Recruiting PAs can sometimes be a long process so you may want to explore with your Care Practitioner at the Social Care Team whether temporary support from a care agency can be arranged in the meantime.


Pugsley's Patch - NHS England Carers Memorandum

The NHS lead manager for carers here in Surrey has called this a historic document. It develops themes on organisations such as the NHS and social services working together to assess and support the wellbeing of carers and their families.

In the Improving Patient Experience section you will find a subsection on commitment to carers. This is very extensive and I found it easy to navigate.
There is a new framework for carer health and wellbeing which is under the banner of a Memorandum of Understanding.

This underpins and clarifies the legal requirement for co-operation and partnership between the two lead agencies (local authority social services departments and the NHS) and other involved independent and private sector organisations.

There is a long list of those required to co-operate. Within the document is also a quite specific definition of wellbeing with regards to carers, and of course the underlying commitment is to improve a carer’s wellbeing.

This is very useful. Also covered in this memorandum are clearly defined duties to young carers, especially in the identification and recognition of young carers.

Carers’ assessments, traditionally carried out by social services departments may now be delegated by the local authority (LA), but such delegation does not absolve the LA of legal responsibility.

There is also some lesser mention of parent/carers. I feel more work has to be done in this area of recognition.

This memorandum is a direct response to the Care Act 2014 and Children's and Families Act 2014, which were implemented in April 2015, which I have mentioned in previous articles in this column.

Please find this valuable document on: and search for commitment to carers


Pugsley's Patch - Free eye test at home

The Outside Clinic, based in Swindon, may be able to organise a free eye test at home for the person you care for.
Essentially, providing the cared for person is over 60 years of age, and unable to get out from home without help, then the basic criteria is met.

This service is commissioned by the NHS. There is a free phone number: 0800 605 040, please mention the code: OC-E1. There is also a possibility that a free hearing service can be provided.


Pugsley's Patch - CarerSmart

CarerSmart is a new club from Carers Trust. Did you know there are offers, benefits and discounts available exclusively for carers and people with care needs?

Benefits of free membership include: Cash back on shopping from numerous retailers, Best rates from energy providers, Reductions on insurance, Discounts on holidays, Free legal advice services, and much more.


Pugsley's Patch - Lasting Powers of Attorney - Giving you control

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA):

A legal document that allows someone else to run the financial affairs of another person with their permission, or to make decisions about their health and welfare if they no longer have the capacity to do so themselves.

There are two types of LPA. One is known as a property and financial affairs LPA, this gives the attorney the authority to deal with buying and selling property, bills, bank accounts and investments. This can be used while someone is still capable but has chosen to delegate authority to their attorney. The other is a personal welfare LPA which covers decisions about health and care and even deciding where someone is to live. This can only be used if someone does not have the capacity to deal with such matters themselves.
Office of the Public Guardian:

You don’t necessarily need professional advice to undertake a lasting power of attorney as the forms are designed to be easy to complete, but you must ensure that the document is completed correctly to avoid having it rejected by the Office of the Public Guardian when registering it. Should this happen a new document will need to be signed by all parties and there will be an additional charge by the court. As with wills, probate and other legal matters, it’s usually worth getting legal advice if the personal, property or financial affairs are complicated.

A lasting power of attorney can’t be used until it’s been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian who will check that it’s correct and raise any queries. The registration process takes several weeks and there is a fee of around £110.00.

This information was shared with carers in the Elmbridge area in April 2016 in a talk given by Kulbir Gill.


Pugsley's Patch - Does the person you care for like to go to the cinema?

The CEA Card allows them to obtain one free ticket for the person who is accompanying them to enable them to visit the cinema, by providing the assistance they require as a result of their disability, provided they purchase an applicable full price ticket for themselves.

Currently people who receive one of the following benefits are eligible: Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance (AA), Blind Persons Registration, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).

You can apply online or by post and there is a £6.00 fee.

Visit or ring 023 9224 855 for details.


Personal Health Budget Peer Network Event (Attended by Lorna Marsh, Engagement Officer)

I was invited to attend the Personal Health Budget Peer Network Event on the 9th March 2016 at The Kia Oval in Kennington. The overall feeling of the day was one of inspiration. I learnt a lot and it certainly left you thinking which I feel is always a sign of a great meeting and shows it’s been beneficial.
It was a real privilege to be part of it and I would like to share my thoughts. If more people know the benefits of personal health budgets (PHBs) then things will move forward at a much faster rate.

On the day Alison Austin (from the Department of Health) gave a talk about the latest plans for the expansion of personal health budgets. She mentioned the Government’s Mandate to NHS England for 2016-17 and the NHS Planning Guidance for 2016/17- 2020/21 that re-affirms the Government and NHS England’s commitment to the roll-out of PHBs.

The Mandate sets a clear expectation that 50,000-100,000 people will have a personal health budget or integrated personal budget by 2020.
The Planning Guidance requires all CCGs to develop Sustainability and Transformation Plans which should include personal health budgets and integrated budgets as a key mechanism to hand more power to patients. At the moment only 4700 people are in receipt of a PHB across England.

There were people from all over the country there and everyone had a valid point to make, but the main thrust of their comments was that people understand there is a bigger element of risk for them due to their health problems, but that risk is theirs to take.

The majority of people at the meeting had lived with their disability for a long time and felt strongly that they and their families were the best ones to explain what they needed.

They have become experts in the area by circumstance.

They did say if personal health budgets were to become mainstream then the whole process of applying and receiving them would have to be dramatically speeded up as waiting for outcomes is a luxury (their words not mine).

If they had a good day they would need access to the money there and then as tomorrow could be a bad one. The desire to be on a PHB was strong and the wish to live the life they want to was powerful. I believe that in some areas personal health budgets are moving forward but there are still some unwarranted worries on the part of the officials.

It was strongly expressed by myself and others that most of the mistakes were made when direct payments first came out, so if we work together the same problems don’t need to happen again. The most overwhelming comment was when a gentleman said, “I may have a short life but I want the control to live it to the full”.

SILC as an organisation helps individuals use their personal health budgets in the most appropriate and creative ways. The support we provide is similar to that given to those with direct payments, helping people to deal with the paperwork and put their ideas into action so they can take control more quickly.

We have been supporting the small but gradually growing number of people in Surrey who receive these payments for the past three years, and now support a total of 29 people with PHBs. If you are interested in finding out more about personal health budgets, please contact SILC on 01483 458 111 or email

I look forward to continuing my involvement with these meetings.
Lorna Marsh
Engagement Officer, SILC


The SILC Members’ Panel and Community Promotions Group

What’s new?

Since our last Liberty Link, and the introduction of the Members' Panel and Community Promotions Group, we now have eight SILC members on the Members' Panel, 14 in the Community Promotions Group, and 17 new people have also expressed an interest in becoming a member of SILC.
This is great news!

Members‘ Panel - PA Finder
We have asked the Members' Panel for their opinions on our PA Finder service which has helped us to identify areas of improvement, and the best way to address them, so thank you for that, Members' Panel!

Community Promotions Group
Our Community Promotions Group have been working very hard over the last three months to promote SILC in and around their local communities.

...and to all of you!
You are all such a great asset to SILC, and we can’t thank you enough for all of your hard work!
Would you like to be involved?

If you think that you would like to be involved in either (or both!) groups, or would like to become a member of SILC, then please do contact the SILC office on 01483 458 111 or


Next edition of Liberty Link

Our next edition of Liberty Link will be published at the beginning of December.


Link back to Liberty Link page

Link to list of all Text Only publications


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