A day in the life of… Sherry Mills, Peripatetic Service Manager

We spend a day in the life of ECL Peripatetic Service Manager, Sherry Mills.

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Sherry has been with ECL for more than seven years. Formerly the Service Manager for ECL Colchester - Marylands Older People’s Day Service, in June 2023 she took on the new role of Peripatetic Service Manager within our Learning Disabilities services.

Here’s what she said about her role:

“The Peripatetic Service Manager role is a new position within ECL and provides an additional support to our services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

"My role is very fluid by design and was implemented so that we as a management team could be more responsive to the dynamic and ever-changing needs of the service.

"For example, I have been helping with preparation for Quality Audits and revisits, supporting teams to meet their actions plans as well supporting services with gaining industry accreditations, and assisting those services that don’t currently have a service manager.

"I report to Victoria Robinson, Peripatetic Area Manager and together we provide a level of resilience when of our learning disability services which have experienced a recent period of change or need additional support."

What attracted you to the role?

“When I became the service manager at Marylands my mission was to build team cohesion after a period of change and to achieve two main goals; to get the University of Stirling Dementia Services Development Centre gold accreditation and to do well in our Quality Assurance Assessment.

“We achieved these things and the service was doing really well and so I felt the time had come to seek out a new challenge! I saw the Peripatetic Service Manager role and thought it sounded like an interesting next step for me.”

What does it entail?

“It's not a common role, I’d never really heard of the term ‘Peripatetic Service Manager’ before I applied for the position.

"Essentially, the ethos behind mine and Victoria’s roles is to bring consistency and added level of resilience across all of the services so that we can support the teams. It’s great working with Victoria, her knowledge is vast and I’ve learnt so much already from working with her. We make a great team!

“One key element of my job is to ensure continuity for staff when there is a change in service manager, for example when there is a service manager vacancy. moves on to a new position.

"I make sure that the teams are well supported, the quality of the service delivery is not impacted when the leadership changes. personal development isn’t affected when there is a change of line management and ensure that team goals are still met during the transition period.

"Also, in conjunction with the Area Manager support the new service manager into post, assisting where requested in their induction and helping them get to know ECL as a company."

How long to do you support a service for?

“The time I am with a service varies. I am basically with them for as long they need me. This could be weeks or it could be months. For example I worked at Harlow for about four months while they appointed their new service manager. I loved my time at Harlow, the whole team welcomed me with open arms and I’ve learnt so much from working with them.

“I am now supporting Roundwood while they recruit a new service manager, this process takes as long as it takes and I’ll be there until the new manager is appointed and in post. I am also currently supporting with Ashleigh and Loughton’s autism accreditation.

“It’s so nice being back a Roundwood as it’s where I started when I first began working in care and with ECL. I started working there as a CCA when I was just 17, so it’s quite nostalgic for me being back there and seeing how much has changed. What’s lovely is that some of the staff and customers that I worked with back then are still there so it’s like coming home!”

What do you love most about your role?

“I was apprehensive about leaving Marylands as I loved it there but I was really ready for a new challenge. This was definitely the right step for me. I wanted to stay within ECL Day Opportunities and this was a perfect opportunity for me to add to my skillset as a service manager, learn new skills from the project side of things, and to work more strategically which will be great experience for me.

“There has been a lot to learn but I’ve loved it. Transitioning over from our older peoples’ services to our services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism has meant I’ve had to learn different ways of working which has been really great.

"I get to work across all of our learning disability services and base myself at the different centres so I get to know all of the teams and the customers which is fantastic. No two days are the same which I love. Plus all of the customers and teams are wonderful to work with.”

For more information on ECL’s services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism Service visit ecl.org/services/learning-disability-autism-support.

If you are interested in a role within one of ECL’s Day Opportunities teams visit our recruitment page ecl.org/careers.

Sherry Mills, ECL Peripatetic Service Manager

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