THERE'S a good reason why the charitable care company Services For Independent Living are enthusiastic about the Hereford Times Health and Social Care Awards, because they provide recognition for the selfless staff quietly going about some of the most vital work in our community.

The social care sector is facing huge challenges, especially in the current situation. Being a carer today is a tough job, and the awards aim to provide vital motivation to ensure staff feel valued.

"We are big supporters of the awards," says chief executive Euan McPherson. "Having recognition for this sector is immense.

"A night when we focus on the sector is really powerful. And it is good publicity for us. The awards are becoming really recognised.

"It's a celebration. It's good for our staff. We love that S4il has had finalists and winners."

In fact the company has provided the Outstanding Contribution winner for the last two years.

Recognition is vital for care providers because possibly the biggest single challenge many of them face is their ability to recruit staff.

It's a tough and often emotionally draining job, and at relatively low rates of pay, so anything that helps build morale and motivation is hugely important.

And publicly telling staff how valued they are is one way of doing that.

There are plenty of staff to be recognized, according to Euan.

"We continue to see remarkable individual stories about front line staff going above and beyond to provide outstanding care. That's right across the sector - private providers, public sector, voluntary.

"There are really good examples. The commitment is vast."

Herefordshire is at a disadvantage in many respects. It's age profile is older than the national average and it isn't an affluent county that can rely on lots of money raised in council tax or business rates.

But what it does have is a special 'localness.'

"It's a rural area, numbers are relatively small, so we tend to know people better. That's a really good thing."

"Overall I think we are well provided in Herefordshire. The majority of providers are good and some are outstanding. We probably have better support than many across private, public and voluntary sector."

Services for Independent Living helps disabled and older people to live independent lives in their own homes. For more visit

For more on the awards and how to nominate, visit

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