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Liberty Link Winter 2016

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1 - Chair's Remarks
2 - Spotlight on the SILC bus tour
3 - Labna's story
5 - Stamp App
6 - Call to Duty
7 - Tribute to Gemma Cumber
8 - Pugsley's Patch
9 - Supported Pathways to Employment
10 - Pilotlight


Chair's Remarks

Welcome to SILC's Winter 2016 Liberty Link!

"Hello and welcome to the cold. I, like many others, got up to the first real frost of Autumn this morning. So pleased that I have taken most of my fragile plants in, or had covered them with fleece.

That extra and rather tiring job this week has been worth it as the begonias and geraniums are safe in the back of the garage and the fuchsias are safely nestled under the fleece for now. So what has happened since the last edition? Well the bus tour which visited many places must have been close to you somewhere on its travels.

It was lovely that many of the staff who are not normally customer facing were out there meeting you too. It was rather disappointing that so many people had never heard of SILC before, and assumed we wanted to sell something. It was pleasant surprise to them when we explained why we had stopped them, and we really do want to help!

We have also had the AGM, and I am sorry you missed the cake and tea or coffee. I know the penalty was to listen to Richard our CEO and myself. We are aware that AGMs are rather dry so we do try very hard to make the time interesting and informative. Jenny & Kirsty (two of our Financial Monitoring Advisers) talked about the real difference they have been able to make in people’s lives, and Jill Coles our Senior Independent Living Adviser gave a really interesting example of just how complex the employment support part of our work can be.

As we move into a year of tighter and tighter public finances we were lucky in managing to keep our board officers in the same roles as last year. Steve as Treasurer, Brenda and Jason as Vice Chairs, and myself as Chair.

On a very sad note, I would like to pay tribute to Gemma Cumber. Gemma had been a Financial Monitoring Adviser for many years, but sadly passed away in October of this year at only 34 years old. She will be missed by SILC customers and staff alike and our thoughts and best wishes go to her family.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please Stay Well This Winter as the NHS says!"


Spotlight on the SILC bus tour

Our successful bus tour has now concluded. In total, we visited 20 venues, six of which were on a joint tour with Sight for Surrey.

From Garden Centres to Day Centres, and Shopping Centres to Wisley Gardens, we visited a whole range of venues to promote the great work we do, and how we could help people to live more independently in their own home.

We met some great people. Some of whom already knew about SILC and praised the work we did for them, either helping them become more independent, or personal assistants that were very happy with our PA Finder service as it helped them secure permanent employment.

Those who hadn’t heard of SILC before were surprised there was such a range of services available in Surrey.
In conclusion, the bus tour was a success, and those who manage places we visited, such as day centres, have said it would be great to plan a talk and Q&A session about SILC for those who visit the centre.


Labna's story

When I first put my name down for the ‘Good Boss’ training, I was having a very difficult time.
My disability was getting me down, and I hadn't left the house for 9 months. Everything was getting on top of me and I felt depressed and was always in a lot if pain. Every day felt like it brought another hurdle to jump over.

I arranged to go on the training course, not knowing how I'd get there as my PA didn't work in the afternoons. I was late for the first session, but that didn’t matter. I was made to feel welcome and was accepted by everyone in the group. There were several of us, all with our own stories to tell.

Hillary said that we would laugh together and cry together over the duration of the course, which we did. But it felt a safe place, with people who really understood. It made me realise I wasn't alone and other people like me were struggling with similar issues.

I had to drag myself out of bed to attend the 2nd day of training. I had had a bad night, but there was nothing going to stop me from attending! Once again... I was a bit late... but everyone cheered when I arrived, as they knew the difficulties that I had encountered in just getting up and dressed.

SILC Training has opened my eyes to what it means to be a ‘Good Boss’, and has challenged me in so many other ways. I have learned that by setting ourselves small goals we can achieve a lot. For example, I wanted to use the gym again... but I needed the self-confidence to do it. Having the support of other employers and Hillary, I knew that I could achieve it, and didn’t beat myself up on the days I couldn’t make it.

Really the ‘Good Boss’ training should be a must for ALL people who employ PAs. If employers learn good practice at the start, then life is so much easier. It took me, and others, a long time to realise that perhaps we needed some help. It was one of the best decisions that I have made - to take that first step, picking up the phone and booking some training.

All of SILC’s training is FREE and, if necessary, they can help you to access funding from Skills for Care to help you to train yourself and your staff.



The SILC AGM was held on the 4th of October this year. The day started off with a staff and trustee away-day which partly consisted of a murder mystery team building exercise.

The AGM kicked off with a warm welcome from Richard, followed by reports from our Trustees.

All trustee nominations were approved by the members with no objections, as were the nominations for Chair (Jo), Vice Chairs (Brenda and Jason) and Treasurer (Steve).

There were reports from team leaders, project leads and managers regarding their own departments, a Q&A session, and concluded with Richard discussing SILC’s future plans.


Stamp App

Would you like to help build the App that gives choice and independence to those you care for?

Take part in Stamp, a limited FREE trial to help build the App of the future, with a vision of making it quick and easy to find and book whatever activities you need. Your choices your way.

What is the trial?
Due to the great success of the free trial, it has been extended until January 6th, 2017.
Visit to get started.
You can access the Stamp trial on your smartphone, tablet or computer at home. Get out there and sample some FREE activities, make new friends and increase your, or a loved one’s, social circle.

SILC endorsement
Stamp has been endorsed by our very own Richard Davy, SILC's CEO. You can read more about this on the SILC website.

Pick, Click and Go
Our Stamp aims to be a new tool that will bring all your service needs and wants together.

  • Finding new leisure services for those with disabilities.
  • Helping parents and relatives find the right options after school.
  • Personal assistants and Carers can use this service with clients they care for.
  • You can use Stamp to self-refer yourself to a support group like an exercise class, decreasing your waiting times at GPs.
  • Getting your elderly relatives involved in their community.
  • Helping your loved ones that you care for enjoy their life and stay fit and healthy.


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: I employ a PA to work sleep in shifts. How much should I be paying them?

Answer: Sleep ins are usually paid at a flat rate per night (as opposed to an hourly rate).

Surrey County Council has guide rates for direct payment packages, which are currently £26.69 per night for Monday to Friday sleep ins and £40.05 per night on Saturday and Sunday.

For waking hours, the guide rates are £8.02 per hour Monday to Friday and £12.02 per hour Saturday and Sunday.

The rules on whether sleep ins are considered ‘working time’, for which the PA would have to be paid at National Minimum Wage (if they’re under 25) or National Living Wage (if they’re aged 25 and over), are a bit of a grey area. If the PA is required to remain at work for the duration of the sleep in (for example, if they couldn’t nip out to get something to eat), it would usually be considered working time.

This doesn’t mean that sleep ins must be paid at National Minimum or Living Wage. This is because you’re required to pay National Minimum or Living Wage for working time over the PA’s whole ‘pay reference period’ rather than per hour.

For example, if the PA is paid monthly, her pay reference period is one month and her pay per hour worked over the whole month would need to average out to National Minimum or Living Wage (or more).

The National Minimum Wage is currently:

  • £6.95 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24,
  • £5.55 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20, and
  • £4.00 per hour for workers aged under 18.

The National Living Wage is currently £7.20 per hour for workers aged 25 and over. National Living Wage rates usually increase every October, while National Minimum Wage rates change in April.

For example, if a PA (aged 25 or over) is paid monthly and works 40 daytime hours plus four sleep ins at nine hours each (total 36 sleep in hours) during a month, she’s worked a total of 76 hours that month.

If her daytime rate of pay is £12.02 per hour and the sleep ins are paid at £40.05 flat rate per night, her total earnings for the month are £641.00.

If we divide this by 76 hours, her rate of pay averages out as £8.43 per hour, which is higher than National Living Wage.

Are there legally any minimum standards for the area the PA sleeps in?

You must do a risk assessment of the PA’s sleeping area and whatever’s provided for them to sleep on to cover your legal obligations as an employer in terms of health and safety. For example, a dangerous mattress with springs coming through the padding, or a bed with a broken leg, may in fact be less safe to sleep on than a large and comfortable sofa.

When doing a risk assessment, you should take into account any obvious defects such as tears in fabric, broken legs and structural soundness and also what bedding will be supplied for hygiene purposes, the size of the sofa/bed, the comfort of the sofa/bed, any fire hazards/precautions etc. It would also be wise to assess whether the PA will be able to sleep comfortably.

For example, someone who is taller is more likely to struggle on a short sofa and someone who has a bad back may not get sufficient support.

What about waking nights?

If the PA is required to be awake throughout the night, they would be paid at an hourly rate, which is usually the same as the rate they’d receive for daytime hours.

What if I use a care agency to work waking nights or sleep ins?

In that case, it would be the agency’s responsibility to ensure that their staff are appropriately paid for the work that they do and that they’re safe and comfortable while doing it.
Please contact SILC if you have any queries about sleep ins or waking nights.

Look out for more Call to Duty in our next edition of Liberty Link!


Tribute to Gemma Cumber

On a very sad note, SILC would like to pay tribute to Gemma Cumber.

Gemma had been at SILC for many years as a Financial Monitoring Adviser, but sadly passed away in October of this year at only 34 years old.

Our thoughts and best wishes go to her family at this difficult time.

May you rest in peace.


Pugsley's Patch

Well! I cannot believe we are approaching Christmas again - and the shops are full of Christmas fayre!
This quarter, instead of focusing on one particular issue, I have drawn together some interesting (I hope!) extracts from other publications I have read in the past 3 months.


My Care App - Helping carers to take care of themselves.

The new MyCare app, developed by Meriden Family Programme in partnership with families and carers is designed to help carers take good care of themselves.
The App is available on desktop:
Also available on Google Play for Android and the Apple Appstore.

Salon in the park

If you would like a bit of pampering Guildford College Hair and Beauty Salons offer a wide range of treatments at reduced prices. The salons are run by professional stylists and practitioners, with a relaxed friendly atmosphere.
Visit their website at: or call 01483 448 655 (for hairdressing) or 01483 448 777 (for beauty treatments).


Get Active 50+ for longer, healthier, happier lives

There’s now a chance to try a selection of different sports and activities locally. All thanks to a new scheme called Get Active 50+ for longer, healthier, happier lives. Get Active 50+ aims to improve health amongst older adults across Surrey, where one in four adults are deemed to be inactive and 40% are not meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) guideline of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise.
On offer throughout the county are eight sports and activities for people to try; exercise classes (dance, tai chi, yoga, pilates etc), golf, inclusive sports, swimming, bowls, walking, football, badminton and jogging, all offered at a minimal cost. For example, you can try beginner swimming sessions from only £1 per session.
The funding for the programme has been provided by Sport England and will last for two years. Active Surrey recently signed Pledge Five of Surrey’s commitment to Living and Ageing Well and the scheme is delivered to residents by Active Surrey, District and Borough Councils and Surrey County Council.
Leading a more active lifestyle doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. The programme is very broad and there’s something on offer for everyone.
Take a look at what is on offer in your area by visiting the Active Surrey website or call 01483 519 334 for further information.


As winter starts to take hold, it’s important to look after your health and wellbeing

A report from the Carer’s Trust, regarding the health and wellbeing of older carers, has been published recently (29/11/16).
The report states that there is a generation of people over 65 who are carrying out one of the toughest roles there is. Caring 24/7 for husbands, wives and adult children.
More than half of these Carers are putting the person they care for first at the expense of their own wellbeing. The Carer’s Trust calls for more support to enable Older Carers to stay well and seek medical attention they need for themselves.
Here are just some of the statistics the study has produced:

57% of elderly carers have cancelled hospital or GP appointments for themselves.
75% have given up an enjoyable activity.
81% feel lonely and isolated.
86% struggle with their own health problems and 60% of these Carers admit it is, to some extent, connected to their caring role.

I hope this report will help bring greater support for older carers. For now as we approach Christmas, do take just a little time to think about your own wellbeing, and please do talk to someone soon.
SILC administers the GP Carer Prescription service, which connects carers to their local carer support groups, online information and support and other carer organisations.
If you're not sure where to start, speak to someone at your GP practice about the Carer Prescription service.


Transforming care

Transforming Care is the government programme to provide better services in the local community for people with a learning disability and/or autism who have behaviours that challenge.
The aim is that fewer people will need to go into specialist hospitals or other provision a long way from their families. You can read about the work that is taking place in Surrey here:

Radar Key - do you have one?

The RADAR key scheme or National Key Scheme (NKS) offers disabled people independent access to locked public toilets around the country. Toilets fitted with NKS locks can now be found in shopping centres, pubs, cafés, department stores, bus and train stations and many other locations in most parts of the country.
The RADAR key scheme enables these disabled toilets to be locked to prevent vandalism and misuse, so you can be confident that these toilets will be available to meet your needs.
You can purchase a RADAR key from the SILC managed hubs in Redhill and Epsom, and many other places in Surrey.

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from SILC and myself!

Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during Winter is to stay warm.
Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

So please remember to: keep your home warm, eat well in winter, stay active and wear warm clothes!


Supported Pathways to Employment

Supported Pathways to Employment (SPE) is a brand new project being run by SILC.

SPE offers tailored courses for people who have a long term health condition or are living with a disability and who are looking for support with steps towards gaining employment.

  • Peer support
  • Confidence and Self-esteem building
  • Condition management
  • Identifying transferable skills
  • CV writing and application completion
  • Interview preparation
  • Career guidance
  • Individual employment pathway support

Courses will be facilitated by individuals who have a lived experience of disability and supported by organisations with specialist experience from within the disability sector.

A commitment of 1 day per week for 10 weeks is required from delegates who wish to attend an SPE course with additional post course support available.

Courses will be held at various locations in Redhill and Woking (separate courses). The first course started in November ‘16.

If you are interested in attending, please call Dave Smith who runs the course for further information 07719 554 487.



Since May this year, SILC has been working with a charity called Pilotlight.

Pilotlight is a capacity building charity which provides free tailored strategic planning support to charities and social enterprises that are tackling disadvantage in the UK.

Through their Pilotlight Programme, they have linked us up with a team of experienced and senior business people who are working with us on a 12 month long project to plan for sustainability, development and growth. So far we have worked with them on issues including our governance, management structure and financial planning and we are now starting to look at potential service developments and marketing.

SILC's involvement with Pilotlight is led by our Chief Executive, Richard, and our Treasurer, Steve. Richard says: "Our Pilotlight Team have provided us with valuable support and an experienced independent and external view of how SILC is doing and what we can do to improve. I am very pleased that so far they have been very positive about SILC and in particular about the great work we do and the commitment, skills and knowledge of SILC’s staff and trustees.”

To find out more about Pilotlight and the sort of support they offer visit their website at:



Next edition of Liberty Link

Our next edition of Liberty Link will be published at the beginning of April 2017.


Link back to Liberty Link page

Link to list of all Text Only publications


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