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Voting is now open to choose the first Caring in Welsh Award winner

15 July 2019

Voting is now open to choose a winner for Social Care Wales’s inaugural Caring in Welsh Award.

The award recognises and celebrates paid care workers in social care, early years and childcare who provide excellent care through the medium of Welsh.

In all, 22 care workers were nominated for the award and a panel of three judges – Aled Roberts, the Welsh Language Commissioner, Jenny Williams, Director of Social Services at Conwy County Borough Council, and Cathryn Thomas, our Assistant Director of Improvement – has whittled the nominees down to six finalists.

We’re now inviting members of the public to vote for the care worker they think should be crowned the first Caring in Welsh Award winner.

Voting is open until 30 July 2019 and the winner will be announced at a celebratory event at the National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst on 6 August 2019.

Sue Evans, our Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased to announce the six finalists for our first ever Caring in Welsh Award.

“Congratulations to all the finalists and a huge thank you to all those who were nominated or who nominated a care worker.

“The standard of entries we received was exceptionally high and showed the breadth of excellent care that is being provided through the medium of Welsh across Wales.

“I’d encourage everyone to show your support for the Caring in Welsh Award and our six excellent finalists by voting for the care worker you think should be named the winner.”

The six finalists are:

Keri Davies

Works at Abacus Day Nursery in Swansea.

What Eve Harvey, who nominated Keri, had to say about her:

Working within our bilingual day nursery, Keri is always speaking and singing in Welsh.

Keri has enabled the children from Welsh language homes to settle more quickly as she speaks to them in their mother tongue. This is especially important during the time the children settle with us as we do have children who come from purely Welsh speaking backgrounds with no English. This has given Welsh speaking parents peace of mind knowing that their child will be understood by a first language Welsh speaker.

Additionally, we have many children who go on to Welsh school with no Welsh language at home. Keri has helped them learn the Welsh language ready to start Welsh school. This instils them with the confidence to effectively communicate in their second language.

Having a first language Welsh speaker allows the other staff to listen and build upon their own Welsh language skills. Keri is always ready to help and advise staff with vocabulary and ideas for appropriate phrases and songs.

Keri is always happy to help parents when they have Welsh language queries – especially when understanding the homework.

Keri always promotes Welsh within the nursery as she understands how able young children are to gain a second language. She even appeared on S4C recently when they filmed how we teach the children recycling.

All of the children benefit from Keri’s Welsh language teaching as it gives them a head start in Welsh whether they go to Welsh school or not.

Carol Evans

Works at Tereen Ltd in Conwy.

What Garry Barratt-Williams, who nominated Carol, had to say about her:

Carol has worked for our organisation for more than 12 months now, with this being her first position in a caring role.

As a fluent Welsh speaker, Carol is able to communicate well with the people who use our service living in the most remote areas of north Wales. Living in these areas, a lot of people who need a care service speak Welsh as their first language and it is highly important to them to receive a service in this language.

Carol is well liked by the people she cares for, their relatives and her colleagues. She has an exemplary record and shows compassion, respect and dignity to the people she cares for.

During the bad weather in the rural areas of north Wales, Carol even managed to attend all her visits by coming to work on the back of a tractor!

Carol puts the needs of those she cares for above all else, and her skill of caring in the Welsh language has enhanced the lives of others, in particular a gentleman living in the Llannefydd area of Conwy county.

I believe Carol deserves to win this award, as in the short time she has worked in the care sector, she has shown dedication to those she cares for and continues to do so each and every day.

Sian Morgan

Works at Children and Families’ Services at Isle of Anglesey County Council.

What Dawn Hutchinson, who nominated Sian, had to say about her:

Sian is a fluent Welsh speaker. Sian has made a difference to the lives of the people she supports through:

  • Her relatability. As Sian’s spoken Welsh is often rooted in the same accent and dialect as the rural families she supports, this helped families communicate their experiences, feel understood, and feel less isolated through being able to use their first language and own dialect.
  • Delivering a 1-to-1 package of parenting skills in Welsh to a parent with additional learning needs whose spoken English is limited.
  • Providing an intensive intervention aimed at supporting parental change. Doing this in Welsh helped parents engage with the intervention to understand complex traumas experienced in their own childhoods, and understand how this resulted in negative relationship dynamics and behaviours which were harmful to themselves or their children.
  • Supporting the reunification of a looked after child with disabilities from foster care back to his mother’s care by supporting their language communication. Being able to communicate his experiences and emotions in Welsh helped him identify and communicate his experience of being parented by a mother who had a previous heroin addiction. Being able to communicate these matters in Welsh meant he could manage his emotional dysregulation better; in turn helping his mother to manage day-to-day parenting challenges once he returned to her care.
  • Supporting two Welsh-learners in the office by actively practicing spoken Welsh with them, and by giving them a ‘Welsh word of the day’ to practice and try to integrate into their workplace tasks.

Catrin Owen

Works at Akari Care in Llanrwst.

What Gemma Pritchard, who nominated Catrin, had to say about her:

Catrin promotes use of the Welsh language by ensuring the people she supports have access to Radio Cymru and S4C. Catrin also reads Welsh newspapers to residents from the local areas that residents used to live in, so they can maintain a close link with the communities they were part of.

Cartref Y Borth is in a rural setting and Catrin realises the importance of promoting the language of the people she supports as it is part of their culture and heritage.

Catrin is presently involved in trying to bridge the generational gap and promote Welsh language in the community by inviting local school pupils to participate in gardening sessions with the residents of Cartref Y Borth. This is something that will hopefully take place in the future. She recognises that there is mutual benefit for older generations to interact with younger generations.

Catrin has previously been involved with an initiative called “Dementia Red” where she was based in the GP surgery in Llanrwst. Catrin was responsible for providing information to individuals, families and carers in relation to any services, support and information available to them through the medium of Welsh.

In addition, Catrin is involved with the Alzheimer’s society and is participating in the initiative to help to gain Llanrwst “Dementia Friendly” status.

Catrin and her colleagues are ensuring that residents of Cartref Y Borth have access to the National Eisteddfod this summer, to maintain links with the community and allow individuals to celebrate the culture of their locality

Steve Roberts

Works at Calon Lan Community Care in St Asaph.

What Michelle Spencer, who nominated Steve, had to say about him:

I believe that Steve deserves to be recognised for the dedication he shows to our country and heritage, including the Welsh language. Steve is extremely passionate about the Welsh language and is in his element to be able to speak to the service users in their native tongue.

Steve delivers care of a very high standard and continuously goes above and beyond to ensure that the people he supports are empowered and at the centre of everything he does.

This is reflected through the continued positive feedback received from the people Steve supports, and more recently, his efforts were identified in the organisation’s quality monitoring report.

BG – “Steve is perfect in my opinion”

RA – Specifically named Steve for a special mention

DV – Highlighted Steve along with the whole Denbigh team

DW – Described Steve and a colleague as the best two care workers

BW – Specifically named Steve for a special mention

DW – Steve is brilliant carer

People have stated that they felt more at ease with Steve as it was easier to understand how they were going to receive care, and this enables the process to be more person-centred and promotes health and well-being.

We all know that a factor that can lead to abuse is social isolation and so we value all the Welsh Speakers who we work with.

Steve is a kind and gentle person, and his passion for the Welsh language and the people he supports shines through at all times.

We are extremely proud to include Steve as a colleague and a representative of Calon Lan’s Welsh language policy and values.

Kirsty Ward

Works: Social services at Caerphilly County Borough Council.

What Gail Davies, who nominated Kirsty, had to say about her:

Kirsty is a day service officer based at Ystrad Mynach Community Resource. Her role is to support adults with a learning disability. This involves supporting individuals to participate in a variety of daytime activities within the resource and local community.

Kirsty has built up effective working relationships with individuals who speak Welsh as their first language. Effective communication is an essential part of Kirsty’s role when supporting individuals and when communicating with families and carers.

Kirsty’s ability to converse in Welsh with the individuals and their families has had a positive impact within our service setting.

Kirsty is always happy to speak with people in Welsh, she does this on a daily basis with two of our individuals. As a result, she has been able to build up very close working relationships. The individuals have also benefited from Kirsty’s ability to write in Welsh, she has been able to help them to complete their personal plans in Welsh.

The individuals find it easier to communicate their needs and wishes using the medium of Welsh. This has enabled the individuals to be more expressive with their communication, more confident in their approaches and has had a positive impact on their well-being. Speaking in Welsh has enabled the individuals to maintain a smoother transition between home and service.

Kirsty has also been able to communicate in Welsh with the individual’s families, which is especially helpful when sharing information. This has been reassuring for families.

Vote for the first Caring in Welsh award winner.