Taking heart – why courage and teamwork make a difference at Livability

Anyone who has followed the news in recent months can’t fail to be aware of the huge challenges that have been faced by the care sector – and the courage of frontline staff as they care for vulnerable people. 

Reward and recognition

At Livability, staff can nominate colleagues for recognition of outstanding work, and these nominations are coming in thick and fast. Courage is one of Livability’s key values as a charity, and it’s one that is frequently mentioned in staff nominations. 

‘I would like to nominate all the staff at Livability Rainbow House,’ says Annie Keen, support worker at this residential care home in Exeter. ‘All the staff would like to stay at home and stay safe in this awful time but every day, they are putting themselves at risk to go to work and support the people that really need us. They keep a smile on their face and a can-do positive attitude … finding new ways to keep the people we support busy, happy and safe.’ 

So why do they do it? What motivates Livability staff to want to come to work during a pandemic? 

Jurate Eastoe, who, along with some of her colleagues, was nominated as an excellent service manager at Livability John Grooms Court, says two things motivate her: enabling the people she supports to have the best possible life, and working with her staff. Her team has been unshaken by the extra demands and upheavals of dealing with the pandemic, she says: ‘I really adore my staff – they just haven’t let Covid affect what they do every day, which is provide very person-centred support here, the quality of service and how they approach their work just hasn’t changed.’ 


Staff often comment on the rewarding aspect of pulling together as a strong team. Livability Victoria School in Dorset, which educates disabled students aged three to 19 years, recently welcomed back a first small cohort of students. This represented months of planning, responding to changing directives and liaising closely with parents and students on home-schooling.  Headteacher Gill Lyon commends her team: ‘We have done it together. When different people have had their ups and downs, there has been someone willing to help and support them. It has brought the staff closer together and the communication and relationships that we now have with our students’ parents is stronger than ever.’ 

Teamwork has been a hallmark of Livability North East’s approach too, working in the Newcastle and Northumberland areas. ‘Since the beginning of the pandemic, everyone has pulled together to ensure as little impact on wellbeing as possible for the people we support,’ says locality manager Vicki Sharpe. ‘They’ve encouraged, motivated and supported each other. They show up each day without complaint to do their role. They’ve been creative, they think outside the box to adapt to new ways of working and just generally have been an all-round fantastic team.’ 

 Confidence in keeping safe

As well as the strength that staff find in their teams, they have been able to have confidence in keeping safe at work, with thorough, regular briefings, somewhere to go with any questions and reliable PPE. This in itself has required tireless teamwork, both at national office level from where Livability’s coronavirus response is coordinated, to local teams like Dolphin Court in Essex. ‘Our team has now sent out more than 75,000 PPE facemasks to other Livability services,’ says Grace Mills, administrator. Locality manager Ivan Etherington adds: ‘They have taken delivery, sorted and despatched PPE which keeps it safer and more cost-effective. Everyone on the team is really on board and wants to help – domestic staff, admin, everyone. There’s such a sense of collaboration and a really strong morale.’ 

Chief Executive Sally Chivers sees this stamp running right through Livability’s range of services. ‘I think our value of courage is one that really resonates across the organisation,’ she says. ‘The people we support are courageous every day, in the way they learn and develop, and our staff are courageous, something that has come to the fore so much in recent months. One of the reasons Livability is a special place to work is because our staff are so passionate about what they do.’ 

Do you value courage and teamwork? Join us at Livability, apply now.