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We all talk about being busy in Social Care and many of us often wonder how we will find enough hours in the day to complete the ever-growing lists of things we need to do. As a manager or leader in social care we can often feel isolated, alone and overwhelmed – we want to get it right and we want to do the best we can in providing care for the people we support with a happy workforce.

I know that at times I have been stuck for ideas, motivation, reassurance and help in the inevitable ups and downs of social care. At these times I have been fortunate enough to have a network of colleagues from across the sector.  Lara e1705411708245

My support system started off small, with being brave and just having a chat with a colleague in the local area. I then became a Registered Manager Network Chair with Skills for Care and recognised the value in being able to talk through common pressures and issues with colleagues. This opened more doors and I started to be able to have conversations at a regional and, at times, a national level. I became a Director of the Kent Integrated Care Alliance, which created more opportunities to engage with other organisations. These conversations, debates and learning opportunities became part of my way of working. If I wanted to improve something I would reach out to colleagues, they invariably had an experience or view to share. Equally if I could offer professional support to people I would, and I still try and help.

These foundations created a network of support when COVID 19 hit. These relationships became critical in working through the many challenges that we faced at that time as a sector. Post COVID, these relationships have continued, and social care is far better at standing and working together to find solutions to issues new and old.

You can imagine my delight when in late 2023 I was approached by The Outstanding Society. The Outstanding Society is an organisation I have followed and admired with resources and events that are fundamental in supporting colleagues across the social care sector to get it right every day. I was approached with a view to providing a perspective from Learning Disability and Autism Provision. I am absolutely thrilled to have been asked to be part of this important group.

I believe that more than ever, we as a sector, need to support one another to ensure the best possible outcomes for people receiving support. 2024 will bring a unique set of challenges and I am confident that The Outstanding Society will be agile and responsive to providing information, events and support to the wider sector in tackling these pressures. I am already looking forward to working with my fellow Directors. My personal areas of interest in addition to representing the Learning Disabilities and Autism agenda are the the impact of the new CQC assessment framework, ongoing support for staff teams with a special interest in EDI and training and careers development.

Lara Bywater, Director of LDA Care and Director of the OS.
The OS Directors look forward to seeing you at our February Virtual Meeting which will be delivered in partnership with Skills for Care ‘Registered Manager Webinar – LGBTQ+ Good and Best Practice – Practical ways to support your LGBTQ+ people and workforce’ on Thursday 29th February 2024 at 10.00am. Tickets can be booked online.

The Outstanding Society is a Community Interest Company, free to all providers irrelevant of their rating. It is a platform to share and celebrate best practice, help others to improve and promote careers in Social Care. Please contact Sonia – info@theoutstandingsociety.co.uk

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