At the end of April, I was privileged to spend the afternoon among some of the incredible care workers we have here in Wales, recognising and celebrating their achievements at our Accolades awards ceremony in Cardiff.
The Accolades are our annual awards that recognise, celebrate and share the excellent work that’s happening across the social care and early years and childcare sectors in Wales.
It’s the third time I’ve co-hosted the awards ceremony, alongside the broadcaster Garry Owen. And it never fails to move me to see first-hand the remarkable work being carried out day-in, day-out to provide great care and support, often to the most vulnerable people in our communities.
This year 15 projects and individuals reached the final round of the awards across five categories.
The winners were:
- Newport City Council for its Oaklands Short Breaks Service, which provides short-term breaks for children with additional needs
- Right at Home Cardiff & Newport, which won for its work looking after and improving the well-being of its workforce
- Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council for its Families First – Young Carers project, which supports young carers aged five to 25 years old
- Polly Duncan, recruitment manager at Seren Support Services in Neath Port Talbot, who won the ‘Effective leadership award’ for the innovative recruitment plan she put in place
- Christel Hay, a domiciliary care worker at Abicare in Pontypool, who won the ‘WeCare Wales award’ for outstanding care work.
After a very difficult last three years, the care sector continues to face significant challenges, not least because of the many vacancies in the sector in the face of rising demand.
The Accolades is our way of saying thank you to the care sector, a sector that doesn’t always get the recognition or the acclaim it deserves.
Yet our care workers provide a service that’s just as valuable, important and worthy of praise as our colleagues in other, more high-profile public sectors, such as health and education.
While the work our care workers do is very much appreciated by those who rely on them, I’m keen to make sure as many people as possible know about the excellent work our care workers do to keep children and adults safe and supported.
This is why the Accolades is such an important pillar of our work at Social Care Wales.
One thing that came through clearly from our all winners and finalists was how passionate and enthusiastic they are about the work they do and how much it means to them to help the people they support to achieve their full potential.
We know from the testimonies of the people using the services of our winning projects and highly commended finalists, just how much of a difference the care and support they receive makes to their lives.
I was also stuck by how modest so many of our remarkable winners and finalists are. So it was fantastic to see the excitement in the room when finalists were waiting to hear if they had won their specific category. The judges had a tough task, as all the finalists deserved to win.
For me, personally, those who work in early years, childcare and social care, deserve praise and thanks every day and it’s vital we take the time to recognise, celebrate and say a big thank you for all that they do for the citizens of Wales.
Congratulations to our winners and finalists! It’s humbling and an honour to be able to share your achievements with a wider audience.
Find out more about our winners and finalists here.