Category: Awards

Caring quartet have the X-Factor

Caring quartet have the X-Factor

Forget the X Factor – the remarkable qualities of the Fab Four of social care have created a bit of history.

For the first time ever, the prestigious Dignity in Care Award was shared between a quartet of contenders at the Wales Care Awards, organised by Care Forum Wales.

The judges decided that Marian Ryles, Juli Andrew, Inti Zirga and Fay Louise Gallagher all deserved the Gold award.

The accolade was sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government and the awards were presented by the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas AM.

Speaking at the awards ceremony at Cardiff City Hall, Head Judge Jan Wood said: “The standards this year were particularly high and it was absolutely impossible to separate this very special quartet in the Dignity in Care category. They all deserved gold.”

For her part Marian Ryles has now emulated Dame Kelly Holmes by completing a golden “double” after several thrilling experiences.

She completed a parachute jump, abseiled down a cliff and had a go at canoeing but she admitted that her latest achievement left her speechless.

The 56-year-old grandmother won gold in the category for Supported Living Care Practitioner, which was sponsored by Pendine Park Teaching Care Centre and ACT Training. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Cardiff City Hall.

To her amazement she was then named as one of four joint winners of the Dignity in Care Award.

For the past 19 years Marian has worked for the St Asaph-based care organisation Cartref Ni, and for much of that time has been a support worker for people with learning difficulties living in their own home in the Prestatyn.

Marian said she was shocked and embarrassed to be nominated for doing something which she enjoyed so much.

Undaunted, she has taken part in several exciting activities including a parachute jump and abseil down a cliff in Loggerheads to raise money for St Kentigern Hospice.

“To win one gold was amazing, but I couldn’t believe it when they gave me the Dignity in Care Award as well,” she said.

Television presenter Jason Mohammed could plainly see the shock on the face of Julia Andrew, from Aberystwyth, when she also claimed a double success.

She confessed that she was absolutely stunned when her name was announced at the ceremony at which the TV presenter was MC.

For she received not only a silver award in this year’s Wales Care Awards organised by Care Forum Wales but was one of four joint winners of the Dignity in Care award.

Julia, a former firefighter who for the past four years has been Care Manager for Crossroads Mid and West Wales, had been nominated in the category for Leadership and Management in Supported Living Care, sponsored by Christie and Co.

She commented: “Without a great team Crossroads would not be Crossroads. I enjoy working with the team to get them motivated.”

A Swedish woman, Inti Zirga, joined the roll of honour and dedicated her awards to her boss.

She won a gold award in the category for Residential Care Practitioner, sponsored by Barchester Healthcare and was then stunned to be called up onto the stage a second to learn that she was one of four joint winners of the Dignity in Care Award.

Inti, 32, is a senior carer and deputy manager at the Newton Grange Care Home in Newton, Swansea, where her manager, Roberta Rowe, described her as “one in a million”.

She was “over the moon” to have received the awards, and added: “I am dedicating them to Bobby (Roberta) because I couldn’t have done it without her. I came here as a very raw 21-year-old she taught me everything.”

First for Fay Louise Gallagher came a silver for Leading Practice in Learning Disability Services, which was sponsored by Mental Health Care before finding that she, too, had won a gold award for Dignity in Care,

Fay Louise is a support worker for Care Management Group of Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, and was nominated by Rachel Hawkins,  residential services manager.

She believes that clients, whatever their problems, should be able to follow their interests and passions, just like anyone else.

She said:  “After getting the silver, to receive a gold award came as a shock. I’m really pleased and it was a lovely evening.

“I’ve had many messages of congratulations, including from the company head in London, and I’m hoping that these awards will lead to greater things in my career.”

The Deputy Minister said Care Forum Wales  continued to play an important role in advocating the importance of Dignity in Care.

She also congratulated the organisation on the work they were doing to train “dignity ambassadors.”

Mrs Thomas added: “I know how important initiatives such as this that embed dignity in care for all staff are in taking forward this work.

“To demonstrate this commitment in practical terms and to provide support to this work, I have set aside £150,000 to support a number of developments across Wales.

“About 20 small projects have benefited from receiving a small amount of funding from this pot.

“All of these have as their fundamental aim an innovative and person-centred approach to looking at ways that they can take forward the dignity in care agenda.”

First Minister hails new centre of excellence for dementia care


First Minister Carwyn Jones hailed “the pioneering model of care” at a new centre of excellence to look after people with dementia.

Mr Jones, who revealed it was a condition that had affected his family too, officially opened the Bodlondeb centre at the Pendine Park care organisation’s main site in Summerhill Road, in Wrexham.

The £4 million centre will create 100 new jobs and will be the hub for a comprehensive range of services for people with dementia.

After being entertained by a combined choir of residents and staff sing the Welsh national anthem, the First Minister said: “I welcome the development of the Bodlondeb centre, which will offer a new and pioneering model of care. It’s a wonderful place. It’s an honour to be here.

“What I’ve seen is a fantastic set-up for people with dementia – it’s light, it’s airy and it raises the spirits when you come in.

“There are so many things going on here as well

“First of all, yes, it’s great for jobs but secondly it’s a top class centre for people with dementia and of course their families. Dementia affects so many families and my own family included.

“It’s a good place to come if you’re visiting somebody here and it’s a place where I think people can come and feel at home in, you can’t ask for more than that.”

Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths, who is also who is also Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, added her congratulations.

She said: “I am delighted to see Bodlondeb being officially opened. I know how much thought and planning has gone into this facility and I am sure the residents will appreciate this as they settle into their new home.

“The care provided across the whole of the Pendine Park organisation is second to none and Bodlondeb will be another area of care that will be much sought after in Wrexham.”

The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that there are currently 39,000 people with dementia in Wales. This is set to rise by 35 per cent over the next 20 years with one in three people over 65 expected suffer a form of dementia.

Dementia is the single most frequent cause of admission to residential and nursing homes, and of the need for community care services in older people. Younger people can also be affected.

According to Professor Bob Woods, one of the UK’s leading experts on dementia, the new centre will be one of major regional importance.

Along with the Alzheimer’s Society, Professor Woods, who leads the Dementia Services Development Centre at Bangor University, helped develop the new model of care at Bodlondeb.

The centre has been designed to look after 64 people with dementia who need day care, respite care or residential services.

It is divided into eight small, family-like units so that the residents receive as much individual attention as possible while benefiting from the back-up of a larger organisation.

Earlier this year, proprietor Mario Kreft was awarded an MBE for his services to social care in Wales and Pendine Park  is celebrating is Silver Jubilee this year.

He said: “Our vision is to provide a world class community based resource for people with various forms of dementia.

“Bodlondeb will provide 24/7 services and they will include respite and day services, linked with our domiciliary care organisation, Pendine Park Independent Living and our in-house Smartcare Teaching Care Centre.”

“The official opening is a huge day for Pendine Park and it is such a huge honour for us to have the First Minister visit us.

“The whole team were thrilled that he was taking time out to see our vision of what a sustainable care community can be.

“We have to have services that are sustainable, we have got to be a country that is judged on how we support vulnerable people.

“I think as an organisation we have always been forward thinking because we have always wanted to push the boundaries.

“What’s important now is to develop sustainable services by working with partners across Wales.

“It’s important that we have a new approach for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“If we don’t make these services more affordable and at the same time better quality, then we are going to fail – and we can’t be allowed to fail.

“The message seemed to chime with the First Minister and I was very pleased with what he said in terms of putting real value into social care, therapies, art and all of the things that matter to individuals.

The new centre is dedicated to Mr Kreft’s grandmother, Mrs Rene Warburton, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in later life and Bodlondeb is named after his grandparents’ home in St Asaph Street, Rhyl.

Professor Woods said: “There’s a lot of research on what design features work well for people who have dementia.

“Mario and his team here have taken that on board and they’ve tried to implement as much of that as possible in this place.

“I love the outside space, the garden room and the roof garden. These spaces have tremendous potential for some really good interactions between staff and residents, and between residents and relatives.

“We’re seeing an increase of roughly a third in the number of people with dementia over the next decade so there is going to be a need for more support and care for people with dementia and their families.”

“I think that compared with the situation even 10 years ago we’re now expecting a much higher standard from our care homes, which is a good thing, and care homes like this one continue to raise the bar.”

Big day for TV boss at the Baftas


An independent television company boss has been shortlisted for a top honour for the second time this year for a pioneering documentary series for pre-school children. Nia Ceidiog, from Cardiff, who produced and directed the show, will be up against some of the biggest names in broadcasting at the finals of the British Academy Children’s Awards 2010.


Double awards joy for recycling pioneers

A pioneering partnership is celebrating after winning two major awards for a unique recycling project.

The partnership led by housing association Cartrefi Conwy scooped the prizes on consecutive days.