In my last column, I mentioned we were running an initiative called Care Stars, which invited people to nominate a care worker they thought deserved special recognition for their efforts during the past 15 months, when the whole country struggled with the challenges of the pandemic.
I am delighted to say we received 120 nominations from all over Wales. These came from employers, colleagues and the people they supported.
Our judging panel eventually decided on 12 extraordinary Care Stars whose stories they thought were the most inspirational.
They included a care assistant who went above and beyond at a care home, a support worker who used arts and crafts to enhance people’s lives, and a residential child care worker who moved in with vulnerable children during lockdown.
Here is the full list of those chosen:
- Jane Carter, early years practitioner at Flying Start, Vale of Glamorgan
- Amanda Davies, lead nurse at Brocastle Manor, Bridgend
- Debra Evans, residential manager at Harwood House and Baker’s Way, Bridgend
- Katie Hall, care assistant at Bryntirion, Tregaron, Ceredigion
- Louise Hook, adult carers’ support worker, Torfaen Social Services
- Joanne Jones, senior healthy living officer (play), Vale of Glamorgan Council
- Katie Newe, service manager, Denbighshire County Council
- Conor O’Leary, residential child care practitioner, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
- Lisa Parfitt, activities co-ordinator, Hafod Housing Association, Caerphilly
- Alex Preece, therapeutic care worker, Marlowe St David’s, Pembrokeshire
- Julia Sky, community play development worker, Vale of Glamorgan Council
- Susan Williams, care support worker, Carers Trust South East Wales in the Vale of Glamorgan.
It is important to emphasise that Care Stars was about celebrating the excellent work happening in Wales and not just about winning awards because all 120 nominees and everyone else working in the care sector during the past year and a half have been outstanding in their response to the pandemic.
And we shouldn’t forget that people working in social care and early years make a crucial difference to people’s lives day in, day out in communities across Wales, not only during a crisis like the pandemic.
All 120 care workers nominated showed kindness, dedication, and professionalism in the work they did. But the judges chose the ones they thought represented the most shining examples of care and support provided during the pandemic.
A huge well done and thank you to all our Care Stars – their stories are humbling, moving and inspirational, and show just how incredibly dedicated they are, not only to their profession, but to the people and the families they support. To read all their inspirational stories, go to our website, socialcare.wales.
I’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone working in social care and early years in Wales. We know there are so many other people who’ve gone above and beyond just like our Care Stars – they’re all stars and a credit to our communities. The professionalism and dedication shown by our workforces in a time of such adversity is simply astonishing.
If you’d like to work alongside such inspirational people, there are vacancies for social care workers in all parts of Wales. There are more than 60 different roles in social care, so there’s plenty of choice.
Today is the beginning of a week-long promotional campaign to raise awareness of what it’s like to work in care in Wales. This is being run by Welsh Government and ourselves.
Keep an eye on social media to learn about different social care roles and visit wecare.wales to search for current vacancies and how to apply.