Training guru Tricia wins social care Oscar

A learning and development coach has been honoured as a star of social care.

The spotlight was turned on Patricia Brown when she was presented with an award at a glittering event in Cardiff’s City Hall.

She picked up a bronze award in this year’s Wales Care Awards which are organized by Care Forum Wales to recognize outstanding work in the care sector.

Patricia, who lives in Merthyr Tydfil, was nominated in the category for commitment to training and workforce development, which is sponsored by her employers, Hallmark Care Homes.

The host for the evening was the popular tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, well-known as Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV adverts, and the evening was sponsored by Ontex UK.

Patricia, who is known to colleagues as “Tricia”, has worked in the care sector for over 12 years and for the past two years has been Hallmark’s regional learning and development coach, responsible for overseeing training in six homes across South Wales.

She was nominated for the award by the trainee general manager Gavyn Bolton, who, as one of her students, has benefitted from her experience and skill.

“As I have progressed I have found that nothing is too much trouble for her and she is always ready to help and make time,” he said.

Gavyn was based at the Regency Home in Ely, where he says that Patricia has made a huge difference, delivering all aspects of training including manual handling, first-aid, preparing care plans, supervision and dementia care.

“I have witnessed newer members of the teams who have struggled initially progress and grow in confidence under her exceptional tutorage and her excellent delivery of training, whether it be classroom-based or one-to-one” said Gavyn.

Like all sectors of the care industry the Hallmark homes faced huge challenges during the Covid pandemic but Patricia provided invaluable support to the staff, often rolling up her sleeves to help out.

“She is a huge asset to Hallmark,” Gavyn added.

Patricia, 37, who has several relatives who have worked in the health sector, said she derived great satisfaction from focusing training and seeing the development of staff.

Away from work, she leads a very active life and loves exciting challenges, but was nervous about being in the spotlight

“I am an adrenaline junkie and have done skydiving and ziplining. I love things like that,” she said.

She has also returned to horse riding after having taken a break from it for some time.

Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the ceremony was all the more poignant because of the Covid pandemic and what front line staff had endured.

He said: “I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to all the wonderful people who work in social care after the rose magnificently and courageously to meet the unprecedented challenges they have faced over the past couple of years.

“We have always recognised their true value and hopefully now the rest of Wales is also aware of how lucky we are as a nation to  have them providing care and safeguarding our most vulnerable people.

“Our finalists are the best of the best and are here representing the whole social care workforce who all deserve a big pat on the back.

“There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights and in the months and years to come.

“In the words of the powerful song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, let the Diolch last forever.

”We take our hats off to them.”

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