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Care UK’s shining stars collect their awards

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It was an unforgettable evening when those honoured in the Care UK Residential Care Services Stars awards gathered at the Heythrop Park Resort to celebrate excellence in care across 16 categories.


Presenting the awards, Care UK’s Residential Care Services managing director Andrew Knight, said: “The standard of entry this year was incredibly high across all the categories and, as part of the judging panel, I can tell you we had a very tough time narrowing the finalists down to our award winners.

“When I read the nominations I was moved by the stories of compassion and empathy and proud to hear how teams have used their knowledge and experience to find innovative ways of delivering care and services.”

The award winners were:

Maintenance Person of the Year Award

Vernon Filby and Paul Chignell from Manor Lodge care home received this award because, in business director and awards judge Richard Pearman’s view. “Their dedication to meeting the constant and changing demands and priorities of residents, relatives and colleagues was exemplary. This was achieved in the context of maintaining one of our biggest care homes.”

Vernon said: “I’m very touched by all the compliments paid, and it is an honour to receive this award.” Paul said: “I was really pleased when I heard about the award and it is good to know that what we do is really appreciated.”

Housekeeper of the Year Award

Margaret McPherson, from Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, may have had the furthest to travel – but awards judge and director of quality and governance Caroline Roberts made every mile worth it. Caroline said: “Margaret’s passion really shone through. She’s always willing to go the extra mile to help residents with activities and outings.  Every home should have a Margaret!”

The Housekeeper of the Year award is given to someone who not only offers an excellent service to residents but who can also demonstrate that they make a real difference to helping residents lead fulfilling lives. A delighted Margaret said: “I love my work at Mowat Court care home and really enjoy getting to know the residents and helping them to feel really at home.”

Administrator of the Year Award

Rising to the challenges of three homes’ administration, Matthew O’ Leary, of St Vincent’s House care home, won the award because, as Richard Pearman said: “Matthew inspires confidence in the role he fulfils. His integrity and sense of humour have endeared him to all those with whom he has worked.”

Matthew said: “I’ve been glad to support the homes in the various ways needed over the last year and helping the region to reach its targets.”

Carer of the Year Award

Joanne Stephenson’s dedication won her this award, because, as Carole Hunt, chief operating officer and awards judge, said: “Joanne understands how dementia affects people and their families and works from her heart with a smile on her face.”

Joanne, who works at Highbury New Park day centre, said: “I was thrilled to win this award. I have a great team and they are all dedicated to doing the best for the people using the service.”

Nurse of the Year Award

Lia Smochina, who works at the Highbury New Park care home, was praised by Carole Hunt for demonstrating a true passion for nursing while seeking to improve her own practice and knowledge.

Lia, who started caring at the age of 14 in Romania and has been a nurse all her professional life, said: “This is a real honour. I love my work and I think we have a great team at Highbury New Park, which makes my job so much easier.”

Activity Based Care Champion Award

Mavis Fluen, who works at Church View care home, received her award for her commitment to finding the right activities to engage residents. During the judging Caroline Roberts said: “Mavis really demonstrated a passion for making the lives of residents varied and interesting, ensuring hobbies and prior interests are captured within the activities at the home.”

Mavis said: “I love being able to find just the right activity for our residents and being able to understand how best we can help them.”

Best Dementia Friendly Service Award

Glowing tributes from relatives helped Heather View care home’s Chelwood team win this award. Caroline Roberts said: “The letters from family members were extremely moving, talking about the little things that make such a difference to the lives of people. The passion of this team was truly inspiring.”

The team were delighted that their work has been recognised but said the real joy was seeing residents and their relatives truly happy and feeling at home.

Chef of the Year Award

Won by Dan Moss, of Tall Trees care home, this was the only category to include an external judge. Unilever’s head chef, Paul Wright, explained why Dan took the title: “Dan stood out because of his attention to detail, his well-planned preparation and the faultless execution of his dishes. He showed great technical skills, as well as delivering great flavoured meals. Tall Trees residents are fortunate to have him as their chef.”

Dan said: “When I got to the finals, the other competitors were all very experienced and talented. I just got my head down and cooked my menu. I was shocked and delighted when my name was called at the ceremony.”

Care UK Angels Award

This year sees three winners of the award given to carers who always make the extra effort, are happy to listen and talk and who always have a smile. Sarah Kingshott, based at Heather View care home, Emma Harrison, from Station House care home and Janet Janes, from Amberley Lodge care home, all received the award.

Emma, who was nominated by the wife of a resident who passed away shortly before the award was announced, said: “What makes this award so special is that I have a lasting memory of Jack and I’m so please I did him proud. Jack will be looking down on me now with the biggest smile. His family are absolutely thrilled that I received this award.”

Home of the Year Award

This year’s winner was Clara Court care home because, as awards judge Carole Hunt said: “When you visit you are made to feel truly welcome from the minute you walk through the front door. The team members provide care and services with a smile on their face and treat every resident with respect and dignity.”

Manager Debbie Winwood said: “The team was very happy when our name was announced. It’s an honour I think they deserve as they work so hard, each and every day, to give residents the same care they would wish for their own loved ones. I am so proud of all my team – this award recognises their dedication and genuine care to all residents.”

GEM of the Year Award

Nishan Jayathilake, from Chalfont Court care home, received this award for the person who gives outstanding service, supports colleagues and always makes the extra effort. Richard Pearman said: “Nishan’s genuine commitment to making the lives of the residents as comfortable and interesting as possible shone through.”

Nishan said he was honoured by the award and paid tribute to his colleagues.

Support Team of the Year Award

This award, for the team who has consistently given excellent service and shown expertise and professionalism, was hotly contested with 17 teams competing for the award. The category was won by the mainly Colchester-based Business Systems Support Team for its outstanding work assisting CareSys and iTrent users whilst continuing the rollout. The team’s helpdesk function, alongside its invaluable reporting and analytics support, was appreciated by colleagues across the division.

Sales and Marketing Award – new homes

The team from Brook Court care home took this award and director of marketing and communication, Belinda Moore, praised their efforts in engaging the local media and creating a place in the community very early in the home’s life. The home also has a busy events calendar giving people in the area a chance to view the home and the work of its team.

Sales and Marketing Award – mature homes

There was also praise from awards judge Belinda Moore for the team supporting Hadrian Park care home. She explained that the judges had been impressed by its hard work creating an excellent service that has built a first class reputation in the local community. The home’s reputation has secured a constant stream of both enquiries and recommendations.

Region of the Year

Based on a number of Key Performance Indicators this year’s award went to the team representing Surrey. Karen Seabrook, regional director in the county for the past seven years, said: “I’m very proud of my team and I think they really deserve the award. Not only do they work hard and creatively but they work well as team too. We have 13 homes in the region and we strive to lead the way and be innovative in the way we work and care.”

Independent sector health and social care provider Care UK runs 114 care homes nationwide that offer places for more than 6,500 people.

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