For us all, it’s always worth being reminded, if that were ever needed, what a fantastic job our care workers do in Wales, supporting people of all ages in our communities every day of the year.
Such a reminder always comes through powerfully in the shape of the prestigious Accolades awards, which are designed to recognise and celebrate excellent practice in social care, early years and childcare in Wales.
This year’s awards were no less powerful, emotional or inspiring, even though they were held under very different circumstances than usual.
An awards ceremony usually takes place in front of a packed audience at Cardiff City Hall, but to keep everyone safe this year, we had to be creative and host a ‘live’ broadcast over the internet. This included several pre-recorded videos of all the finalists which showed the great work they are doing. The emotional responses when videos were watched, and winners announced, were priceless.
Comedian Rhod Gilbert added his personal insight through a pre-recorded message, which recalled his experience of working in care as part of his work experience series for the BBC.
Even such a brief taste of working in care had undoubtedly left a deep impression on Rhod. He said he was humbled and amazed by the quality of the care workers he met. In his own inimitable words, Rhod said that, before recording the programme, he was told the job would be “75 per cent bottom”. But, after his experience, Rhod thought it was “1,000 per cent heart and commitment, hard work, compassion and sacrifice.”
Announcing the awards was the culmination of a record year for the Accolades, with 160 entries being received. It was great to see such a variety of entries, featuring projects and individuals from all over Wales and representing so many different aspects of social care and childcare.
We had six award categories and the winners were:
Building bright futures with children and families, sponsored by Unison
Winner - Navigate parent mentoring service @ Scope
Developing and inspiring the workforce of tomorrow, sponsored by Data Cymru
Winner - Outside In, Glyndwr University
Improving care and support at home together, sponsored by WJEC and City and Guilds
Winner - Bridging the Gap, NEWCIS
Innovative and inspiring ways of working, sponsored by the Board of Social Care Wales
Winner - Baby in Mind, Bridgend
Working with and listening to people living with dementia, sponsored by Blake Morgan
Winner - The Rainbow Centre, near Wrexham
WeCare Wales Award for outstanding individual, voted for by the public and sponsored by the WeCare Wales campaign
Winner - Sandra Stafford, foster carer from Conwy
I would urge you to watch a recording of the programme to see the excellent work being done across Wales and the types of jobs that people find so rewarding. Just search for Social Care Wales on YouTube and you’ll be able to see the full awards programme as well as videos of all the finalists.
Be inspired - and remember, we need more people to work in social care, early years and childcare – could this be you? Have a look at the WeCare.Wales website to find out more.