Billy started with Circle in October and has been working with all of Circle’s various project teams on improving our knowledge development and dissemination. He has also been tasked with further developing our participation strategy and service development. Advanced Mobility: Supporting Knowledge Sharing | The Upside Learning Blog

Circle are dedicated to ongoing improvement of the support we provide to ensure that our families receive the absolute best service possible and Billy will play a vital role in achieving this.  We are also determined that those families we support, adults, young people and children, have a voice and that their input is respected and valued. Therefore, we are delighted to have Billy with us and we feel that as a resource for this organisation he will play an important part in the ongoing development and sustainability of Circle.

Introducing Billy Anderson:

Hi there, I was born and raised in Wigtownshire in Dumfries and Galloway where I spent my school years before stumbling into a career as a Tractor mechanic after fooling around with my mates in the local careers’ office! (true story). I spent 6 years in that job and then went on to be a welder and sheet metal fabricator making portable cattle feeding equipment. During that role I found that I had a talent for paint spraying so I then found myself working in a car body shop doing crash repairs and fitting elaborate body kits and stuff to boy racer cars for a number of years.

It was from working in garages during those years that I started to realise that people would talk to me about all sorts of stuff. I was a magnet for people to share their thoughts with and often I would give a listening ear or some friendly advice or perspective on things. At this point I thought to myself, “If I’m doing this daily then I may as well learn more about it and try to do it as a job.” I quit work and started college and completed a qualification in social care then went on to complete a degree in Health and Social Studies (at the ripe age of 33). During my time at college and University I did sessional work as a youth mentor for Youth Justice and Integrated Substance services. As a Youth Mentor I “cut my teeth” in 1-1 contact with young people and families. I made connections between the theory I had learned and the experiences that I was faced with. I learned that quality services and provision were measured by the experience of the people using the service and the difference that I made to that experience may never be seen or recognised until some point in the future. The thing was, that you just had to be in the moment with people and planting seeds to help them grow with the knowledge that you were listening and trying to make a difference somewhere, and at some point in time.

Aberlour Child Care Trust | Together ScotlandFrom completing my degree I went on to work for the NHS as a community health improvement worker across 2 areas of high deprivation in Dumfries and Galloway where we worked with communities to develop health improvement activities. Although I enjoyed the role I missed working directly with young people so I took up a role with Aberlour Child Care Trust in a local service. As a social education worker I worked with “looked after” young people who were “on the edge of care” and for whom school just didn’t work. We provided alternative education while working in partnership with schools and supported young people to re-engage with schools when and if they felt ready.

After a number of years I ended up managing the service which covered the width of Dumfries and Galloway over 3 different bases. I also spent a year working as the organisation’s Learning and Development partner helping to develop staff practice across the South of Scotland.

Following on from there, I spent 4 years at The Donaldson Trust in Linlithgow where I managed a new service for Neuro-diverse young people and young Adults who were predominantly Autistic. Working with senior management and the board, I set up the service from scratch and introduced the Trust to person-centred methods of working where people who used the service were 100% involved in setting their own outcomes, measuring their own progress and shaping the way that the service was delivered. I spent a year as Personalisation Manager at the Trust helping to set up person centred ways of working across all of their provision and systems for evaluating effectiveness.

Currently, I work as Senior Policy Officer (Children’s Rights) at Children in Scotland where I My Rights, My Saymanage their “My Right, My Say” Children’s Views service. This involves ensuring that young people’s voices are heard in decisions that impact on their education and is fully funded and free at the point of use by Scottish Government. I also work as a Coach and Mentor for Autistic adults via Scottish Autism’s new service “Affinity”.

I joined Circle recently as a Development Manager working part-time. I was attracted to the post as much of my time in recent years has been spent developing service and systems with the voice of people being at the centre of this. I was also really impressed by the work that Circle does and after being here for a short time, the commitment and drive of the staff who work here to improve outcomes for families is second to none. I’m keen to help the organisation push forward the fantastic work that they do by involving families in helping to create opportunities for more involvement in how services are shaped.

Ever since starting my career in social care I have had an interest in the quality of service provision. I found that through my studies in both social care and health that it is the person who is receiving care that is the best indicator of this. Throughout my career I have always strived to provide the best quality of care provision based on not only the testimonies of service users, but by continuously improving and adapting to the ever changing needs of staff, systems and culture. I truly believe that we need to remain alert, flexible, responsive, creative and bold if we are to achieve the best outcomes for service users.

In my time with Donaldson’s, Aberlour, and also before that in community health and mentoring roles, I have developed a sound blend of theoretical, operational, strategic and practical people skills. I am not afraid of taking on new challenges and I relish the position of being able to help society’s vulnerable and underrepresented groups whilst supporting and developing the staff teams around me to be all that they can be. I have a working style which encourages person centred, creative and innovative practice and I pride myself on helping other services, people and organisation’s evidence and improve the quality of their delivery. I pride myself on my ability to remain quality focused across the wide range of social care dynamics where people are at the helm of change and impact.

Service users deserve the best, they deserve quality and they deserve that quality to be reflective of their own experience. Not only should this experience be supportive and person centered it should feel safe, familiar and grounded in empowerment and hope.

If you would like to talk to Billy about his work with Circle then please get in touch – Billy.Anderson@Circle.Scot