A beautiful old courtyard with some plants and shrubs

Board Members Visit Learning Disability Support Service

Posted on 2 March 2023

A few weeks ago, two Board members accompanied Southdown’s CEO, Neil Blanchard, to one of our Learning Disability Support services in West Sussex.

Our Board comprises 12 people with many years of collective experience in strategic management, housing, health, and social care. They meet regularly to ensure that Southdown continues to run well, delivers on its responsibilities, and is financially secure.

Service visits are an important way for our Board members to witness our frontline work and really understand the challenges our clients and colleagues might experience, enabling them to provide effective strategic direction and governance. For colleagues, these visits are a great opportunity for them to introduce the Board to the brilliant work they do and speak about what’s important to them.

Avril, Service Manager at Bradbury Court, a service that was once a dairy in a beautiful part of the West Sussex countryside, said,

The team were so excited and buzzing afterwards. They felt listened to and saw for themselves you are human like us.

Neil Blanchard, said,

It was a wonderful, fun, and uplifting experience, with the team making us all feel so welcome. It was such a pleasure to spend time with them and hear about the passion and commitment that the whole team have for their roles and Southdown. It is so important that our Board members get to experience this first hand. I know that they will remember the visit and sentiments of staff as they make decisions in the future.

Graeme Allinson joined Southdown’s Board in 2020 and brings with him a wealth of experience across a number of industries including corporate banking. He is particularly focused on the client experience. He said,

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Bradbury Court. The first thing that hit me was the great rural location with nice views across the fields but then how pleasant the individual rooms were in the building which still retains some of its heritage from its time as a dairy.

Joining the team meeting enabled me to develop a better understanding of the service delivered at Bradbury Court as well as the challenges the team are facing. I was left very impressed with all that they do, all day and every day despite said challenges and all delivered with a really positive attitude and a great sense of humour. They are a credit to Southdown and I feel privileged to be part of it.

Tara Osbourne-Wallace became a full Board member in 2022 and has a background in the social care sector, with experience working in local government, leading change at an operational and strategic level. She is Southdown’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardian and is passionate about ensuring that services are safe, person-centred, and make a measurable difference to the lives of people who use them.
She said,

Having joined Southdown during the pandemic, I missed the opportunity to visit the various services as part of my induction. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to visit Bradbury Court and join their team meeting, I jumped at the chance, and what a fantastic first visit it was!

It was great to hear from long-standing members of the team, some of whom have worked with Southdown for over twenty years, about what makes Southdown a great place to work, learn and grow. Similarly, it was good to hear from newer team members on what attracted them to Southdown. However, what stood out the most was the passion that the Bradbury Court team had for the work that they do to support the residents. The passion, care, commitment, and genuine excitement about their work and each other was contagious and I left the visit feeling enthused and proud to be a part of Southdown.

I look forward to visiting other services so that we can continue, as a Board, to listen and learn about how we can improve services in order to support people to live their life well.

Click here to read more about the different types of services we provide for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs.