First Person Press Release for Gerry O'Sullivan by Edinburgh PR Agency, Holyrood Partnership. Bield's retiring chair praises their staff.

by Stuart Milne

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Bield Chair  standing at podium addressing crowd by Edinburgh PR Agency

ANYONE with a connection to the care and housing sector can benefit from making time to bond with care-users, family and staff as the industry faces its tough challenges, says Bield’s retiring Chair. Gerry O’Sullivan, who has stepped down after completing his five year term, said the greatest enjoyment of his role was the chance to interact with everyone involved in providing high quality care to older people in Scotland. And he – as he looks back on a successful period at the helm of Bield –believes there are great benefits to be had by management staff being more visible and increasingly looking to leave their offices to get out to see their staff and customers personally.

 

“Perhaps the most obvious part of the work of any Board or Committee is the image of members sitting round the table, poring over strategies, plans and budgets.  While this is vital, it is only part of the picture.

“Over the years, visiting Bield’s housing developments and care homes for myself, and seeing the commitment, enthusiasm and passion of our tremendous staff – who provide great service, in sometimes challenging circumstances – has been enormously rewarding.

“While my visits have ranged from group trips to individual sessions, they always provide inspiration and further insight into why we do what we do.

“They can provide opportunities to chat with tenants, residents, service users and, on occasion, with family and carers. It is always clear that our services are highly valued and appreciated by the community where Bield has developments.

“I would encourage all management personnel across the sector to get out from their desks more often and go see for themselves the amazing work that is happening to ensure Scotland’s older people can live happy, fulfilled lives.

“That is not to say that I, or any of my colleagues, have not been focused too on the overarching issues facing the sector.

“During my time as Chair, I was very fortunate to work with an enthusiastic group of Board members. Committed to Bield’s ideals and strategy the Board was, and continues to be, supported by a dedicated group of officers, very ably lead by the Chief Executive, Brian Logan.

“In our strategy, we took the approach that we would tackle the challenges facing Bield in a positive, constructive and proactive way.

“Our development process allowed us to come up with our brand promise, Free to Be. For us, it’s a firm belief that older people should be have the freedom to make their own choices and be free to live as independently as possible.

“However, financial considerations meant, and still mean, that there are constraints around new build development, modernisation and redevelopment of our existing properties and the sustainability and viability of some services.

“That is a day-to-day, constant worry for everyone in the social care sector.

“One of the biggest changes that we’ve made over the last few years is the remodelling of sheltered housing to become retirement housing.  This arose in response to changing government policies, shifting customer aspirations and funding pressures.

“Although challenging at the time, this has proved to be successful and, seen as an innovative approach, is a model that has been adopted by a number of other landlords.

“Landlords with whom we proudly work in partnership.

“Partnership working is central to Bield’s way of doing business and we work with a wide variety of organisations, including local authorities, health boards and other agencies.  Of particular note is the long-standing partnership with Hanover (Scotland) and Trust Housing Associations, which covers a number of service areas.

“Early in 2016, Bield agreed a new Business Strategy for the next 5 years – Strong Foundations – Creating Choice. A strategy that will take forward the achievements of the past five years and puts our customers: tenants, owners, residents and service users, at the heart of what we do.

“It sets out a programme for addressing current and emerging challenges – challenges that I am optimistic Bield will meet, and meet well.

“I urge the care and housing sector to remain forward thinking and to rise to the challenges we face.

“Changes will continue to come, but by engaging with those for whom it matters most and keeping them at the forefront of our minds we can embrace them and continue to improve.”

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