Real Lives

Going the extra mile achieves marathon results

Anne Bilham 2018

Anne Bilham, Team Leader at Shared Lives South West, who showcases a
great example of teamwork, service user inclusion and empowerment.

“We all live and breathe the model of care and come together to ensure the people we support live their best life,” said Anne Bilham, Team Leader at Shared Lives South West when talking about the staff team and the 300 carers within the organisation.

Anne with Donna Bounden taking part in Shared Lives Week challenge

Anne Bilham joined Shared Lives South West three years ago and her enthusiasm, passion and knowledge shine through making her a great leader and team player.

She was instrumental in making sure a large SLSW fundraiser didn’t falter and got the whole staff team, carers and people who use the services involved …

In the summer the charity’s CEO Dominic Spayne, who is an experienced marathon runner, decided to run from North Devon to the South Cornwall, a total of 191 miles in five days to raise funds and awareness of the charity.

The idea was sparked by Anne, the seed was planted and the long the route was mapped.

Dom stopped at various points along the route where SLSW carers and people who use its services had organised picnics, barbecues, cream tea events to cheer him on.

Unfortunately, on day three of the event, Dom contracted a virus and had to rest.

Within minutes of Dom calling, Anne was rallying the troops getting staff, carers and the people who use Shared Lives services to fill the missing miles, until Dom was fit enough to put on his running shoes again.

Anne Bilham

Anne herself got on her walking boots and ended up walking more than 20 miles of the route and even roped in her son to do some of it with her to fill the several miles of void.

“It was so important to me to keep this challenge going,” said Anne.

“I was on the road offering support throughout and felt responsible to get the task done. We have a staff member in a wheelchair who drove people to various drop off points on the route, other walked or ran parts of the route. Literally the whole team were involved and wanted to support the challenge.

“We also had various SLSW families walking and running parts of the route and cheering on runners/walkers if they didn’t feel able to take part.”

Dom was back in action on the final day and Anne was there to support him across the finish line in Penzance along with SLSW families from across Devon and Cornwall who were on hand to cheer him on.

“It was a real team effort all round and I feel proud we all pulled it off,” said Anne.

In the three years Anne has been at SLSW she has seen many changes and one of the most significant changes to SLSW’s staffing structure, which elevated her role to include being a registered manager.

She stepped up without hesitation and because of her positive nature, abundance of skills and knowledge she is truly an asset to the organisation.

SLSW, which has just celebrated its 15th anniversary, went through a period of change around a year ago after the CEO left, which challenged the organisation.

Anne played a huge part in settling the team and being there to talk and listen to the team’s concerns.

Ultimately this helped lead to the organisation transforming and being awarded ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission for the first time overall and received ‘Outstanding’ in the Well-Led section of the report. She was a big factor in SLSW achieving Outstanding as she was one of our three registered managers who worked together to share issues, improve consistency across the scheme, and implement ways of recording the necessary evidence of our performance.

In recent months the organisation was also asked to provide emergency help to Somerset Shared Lives scheme. Because of Anne’s in depth knowledge and quick thinking approach, she was assigned to help the service. Her work led to SLSW taking on the scheme and expanding in October.

Edel Harris





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