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2022 Accolades awards ceremony: winners and finalists

Watch the 2022 Accolades awards ceremony, and find out about our finalists and winners.

About the Accolades

The Accolades are awards that recognise, celebrate and share notable work in social care and childcare, play and early years in Wales. The awards recognise the work of groups, teams and organisations, as well as individual care workers from across the public, private, voluntary and co-operative sectors in Wales.

Watch the ceremony

Watch on YouTube

The 2022 Accolades awards ceremony took place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on Thursday 21 April 2022.

The ceremony was hosted by presenter Garry Owen and our Chief Executive Sue Evans, and broadcast live over YouTube.

Watch the ceremony recording on YouTube.

The Accolades categories, winners and finalists

Fourteen projects and 10 care workers were chosen by our panel of judges as finalists for the 2022 Accolades. There were seven categories and one winner in each category.

Building bright futures for children and families

Celebrating projects working with children, young people and families to help them achieve what matters to them.

Winner: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s social services department for its ‘BG Hub’ project

The project supports children between the ages of 14 to 18 years old who are in need of care and support, including children in need of protection and children who are looked after. The project has created a vast indoor and outdoor space for children, promoting group work and independent living skills and development.

Finalists:

• Flintshire County Council’s ‘Lleisiau Clwyd Voices of the Future’ project

This project between children’s social services in Flintshire and Theatr Clwyd offers vulnerable children and their siblings the chance to spend time at Theatr Clwyd on weekends and in the school holidays. During these sessions, families can take a break from their caring role in the knowledge that their children are safe, trying out activities and having fun.

• Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s ‘Care2Work’ and ‘Step in the Right Direction’ programme

‘Step in the Right Direction’ is a two-year traineeship programme for young people aged 16 to 25 years old who have experienced time in care. Care2Work helps care leavers and people who have experienced care who are not in education, employment or training, to develop the skills, knowledge and experience they need in the world of work.

Looking after and improving workforce well-being

Sponsored by UNISON

Celebrating employers who have maintained and improved staff well-being.

Winner: Conwy County Borough Council’s social services department for its ‘Attitude for Gratitude’ project

The project was set up by Aloma Jones, the manager of the over-25 disability team. Concerned about staff well-being, Aloma planned weekly sessions where staff learned to practice gratitude and share their feelings with others. This has helped promote mental well-being and has had a significant positive effect on the team.

Finalists:

• Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council’s children’s services’ ‘Passion 4 Practice’ project, which aims to create a work environment where staff feel emotionally supported and reassured.

The project engages staff through surveys, task groups and communication sessions to make sure everyone has the chance to be heard.

• St Aubin Nurseries Ltd, Roath, Cardiff for its ‘Holistic Wellbeing’ project

The project has supported staff well-being by providing emotional and practical support packages, healthcare benefits such as dental and optical care and podiatry support, and by offering a wide range of training. It also provides free childcare for employees who work 30 hours or more a week.

Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion

Sponsored by City & Guilds/WJEC

Celebrating organisations that have taken steps to make their workforce and/or workplace more equal, diverse and inclusive, or improved how they interact with the people they support to make sure they’re all treated equally.

Winner: Pembrokeshire County Council’s social care and housing department for its ‘Pembrokeshire Supported Employment Programme’

The programme encourages people with a disability to aspire to work. It provides supported employment in a range of situations, from cafés to business administration and grounds maintenance to social media. In all cases, people are fully supported in their job role.

Finalists:

• GISDA’s ‘LHDT+ GISDA’ project, which supports the young LGBTQ+ community in Gwynedd.

The project has set up youth clubs to give young people an opportunity to meet in a safe space where they can be themselves, socialise and take part in activities. The project also organises educational sessions in schools and colleges, and nurtures young mentors to support new members.

• North Wales Together Learning Disability Transformation Programme, a partnership involving the social care departments of the six local authorities in north Wales and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

The project aims to co-produce services with people with learning disabilities and their parents and carers. Sixty-eight projects have since been set up to support the North Wales Learning Disability Strategy 2018 to 2023 and more than 125 ‘roles’ have been created for citizens and carers, building on their individual strengths.

Supporting people who live with dementia

Sponsored by Blake Morgan

Celebrating organisations or projects that put people living with dementia at the heart of their work, so they’re supported to achieve what matters to them.

Winner: Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services for its ‘Dementia Supportive Communities’ project

The project aims to improve the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers.

The project has created a network of dementia support groups to help people living with dementia achieve the best quality of life possible, feel part of their community and feel confident, understood and respected, and to continue to enjoy their hobbies and interests.

Finalists:

• Hospice of the Valleys’s ‘CARIAD dementia service’, a specialist palliative dementia care service in Blaenau Gwent.

The service provides holistic, needs-led support for people living with dementia and their loved ones. The support provided includes dementia information and advice, symptom management, help for psychological or social issues (including support for carers), future planning and advance care planning, and palliative and end of life care and bereavement support.

• Vale of Glamorgan Council for its day centre in Barry for older people living with dementia, Rondel House.

The centre provides social opportunities for people living with dementia, and allows them to retain their dignity and their sense of independence. When Covid-19 restrictions meant the home had to close, the day centre team adapted quickly to continue to provide families and loved ones with ways of communicating, providing a lifeline to the people who used the day centre.

Effective staff recruitment and retention

Sponsored by Data Cymru

Celebrating organisations that have been successful in recruiting, developing and keeping skilled staff.

Winner: Seren Support Services, which provides a range of supported living and home care services to adults living in the Neath Port Talbot and Powys areas.

Acting on feedback it received from staff, the service has become an accredited real living wage employer and rewards staff who show commitment to the company and their career development. It also carries out a staff survey twice a year and has set up a forum, where staff can have their say about company decisions.

Finalist: Village Support Services, based in Pontllanfraith in Caerphilly County Borough, provides domiciliary care and support to help adults live independently in their own homes.

To support staff development, the service works with Educ8 Training Group to offer an apprenticeship scheme, giving employees the chance to earn money, gain work experience and achieve nationally recognised qualifications. It has also launched an employee of the month scheme to celebrate staff success.

Caring in Welsh award

Celebrating individuals who make a positive difference to people’s lives by providing high-quality care through the medium of Welsh.

Winner: Alaw Pierce, Service Manager at Denbighshire County Council

Alaw was nominated by Nerys Thompsett and Kathryn Whitfield on behalf of Denbighshire’s operational management team.

Nerys and Kathryn describe Alaw, who was nominated for her work championing people’s rights to use Welsh, as a “role model” for staff. Throughout her career, Alaw has supported the use of Welsh in the workplace and has encouraged a culture where staff can comfortably use Welsh at work.

Alaw has successfully recruited Welsh speaking staff into key roles and has promoted the rights of older people to receive ‘best interest’ assessments in Welsh.

Denbighshire County Council’s Disability Champion, Cllr Arwel Roberts describes Alaw as having “worked tirelessly for the Welsh language within the social services department.”

Finalists:

• Keneuoe Morgan, Deputy Manager at Hafod Mawddach Residential Home in Barmouth, Gwynedd

Keneuoe was nominated by Catherine Ellis, Area Manager for Gwynedd Council.

Keneuoe is originally from Lesotho. She moved to Bala in 1997 and began working for Gwynedd Council, where she took advantage of the opportunity to learn Welsh at Aberystwyth University, becoming fluent in the language in 2000. Keneuoe now works in a care home, supporting people with dementia and complex needs.

Promoting people’s rights and focusing on the person and what’s important to them is an important part of Keneuoe’s role. By communicating with residents in their preferred language, Keneuoe is able to build relationships with and support them, which helps them maintain their well-being.

Catherine describes Keneuoe as “an inspiration to many other staff who are learning Welsh, and she encourages others to succeed”.

• Catherine Roberts, Assistant Manager at Cysgod y Gaer care home in Denbighshire

Catherine was nominated by Scott Robinson, team manager for residential and therapeutic day services at Denbighshire County Council.

The first language of around 90 per cent of the residents at the rural care home where Catherine works is Welsh and Catherine provides invaluable support and comfort to them by speaking with them in their first language. This was particularly important when the pandemic restrictions meant that residents were unable to see their friends and family face to face.

Scott describes Catherine as “going regularly above and beyond the call of duty in her role. She is a dedicated carer and leads the team with exceptional examples of good practice.”

Scott adds: “[I]t is a pleasure to work alongside her, and the residents adore her.”

• Rachael Roberts, Dementia Actif Officer at Dementia Actif in Gwynedd

Rachael was nominated by Emma Quaeck, the manager of Dementia Actif.

Rachael is a Welsh learner who works for Dementia Actif, a bilingual service that provides activities for people living with dementia in Gwynedd.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Rachael (whose first language is English) took the opportunity to learn Welsh by joining Gwynedd Council’s online Welsh lessons, attending three-hour intensive weekly sessions. Rachael made great progress, developing the confidence to use Welsh when teaching her exercise classes online and more recently in face-to-face classes.

Emma says Rachael “has shown a positive commitment and attitude towards learning Welsh” and has made every effort to use the skills she has learned to benefit people who use the Dementia Actif service. By using more Welsh in her online classes, Rachael has also helped other Welsh learners attending the sessions improve their Welsh.

• Angharad White, Adult Care Home Manager in Rhondda Cynon Taf

Angharad was nominated by Naima Dodd, Area Manager at Ocean Community Services.

Angharad manages the Tŷ Mynydd care home in Treherbert and is Welsh officer for Ocean Community Services (OCS), which runs the home. Naima describes Angharad as having “gone above and beyond” in translating all the paperwork for OCS’s 15 care homes into Welsh.

Angharad encourages Welsh speaking staff to speak Welsh in the workplace. She has also introduced bilingual email signatures for all staff and they’ve been taught to answer the phone bilingually.

As well as inspiring the team to expand their use of Welsh, Angharad has also helped one resident at the home start basic Welsh lessons.

WeCare Wales award

Celebrating individual care workers in Wales who have a positive impact on people’s lives.

Winner: Keri Llewellyn, Manager of All Care (South Wales) Ltd

Keri was nominated by Andy Cole, Operational Manager Locality Services at the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Keri manages a private domiciliary care agency in the Vale of Glamorgan. She has been nominated for her commitment to improving the lives of older people and vulnerable citizens in the community.

As well as being a domiciliary care manager, Keri set up Care Communities Acting Together (CCAT) to help bring people together so they can socialise and meet new people. She has organised Christmas dinners, pantomimes, afternoon teas and ‘race days’, without being given additional funding.

Andy describes Keri as having “citizens’ needs at the very heart of what she does” and says she “deserves recognition for the outstanding and innovative work she has done… to meet the needs of the people in the community who need it most”.

As well as her work with CCAT, Keri also has a leadership role and represents the care sector on a wide range of committees, promoting the status of care workers, improving the quality of home care and making sure people are at the centre of all the decisions made about their care.

Finalists:

• Becci Bennett, Manager of Clwb y Ddraig in Caerphilly

Nominated by Becky Hall, Childcare Business Development Officer at Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids' Club.

Playwork trainer Becci is described as being “passionate” about out-of-school childcare.

When Clwb y Ddraig, the out-of-school childcare clubs Becci runs, had to close during the pandemic, Becci stayed in regular contact with children and parents to help them feel connected and to support their well-being. She regularly checked-in with parents to offer support, especially to those who were struggling to pay their fees after losing work. She reduced bills, gave parents longer to pay and was always ready to listen to them.

When Clwb re-opened, Becci fundraised to create new outdoor areas in three clubs and was able to set up two new clubs in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area, an achievement Becky describes as “phenomenal”. Becky notes that Becci achieved all this while working full-time as a playwork trainer, preparing the next generation of playworkers.

• Llinos Druce, social worker at Conwy County Borough Council

Nominated by Cathy Mackenzie, Section Manager Vulnerable People Resources at Conwy County Borough Council.

Llinos is a social worker for children and young people. Cathy describes Llinos as being “an exceptional social worker with serious commitment and drive to help all the children she works with achieve their dreams”.

In one particularly complex case, Llinos advocated on behalf of a young person in her care, fiercely defending the young person’s rights, making sure their voice was heard and that the young person’s needs were fully understood before any decisions were made.

Llinos never missed a meeting about the young person, even on her days off, and advocated so strongly on their behalf that the local authority fought tirelessly to secure the clinical support that was needed.

Cathy says Llinos showed “courage” and “tenacity” during the case, helping find an innovative, bespoke way of supporting and safeguarding the young person.

• Sheila Mullins, a care assistant at Dolwen Care Home in Denbigh

Nominated by Pamela Pack, the care home’s manager.

Sheila has been nominated for her dedication to the residents of the home she has worked at for more than 20 years. Sheila always goes the extra mile to help the people she looks after, making it her goal to get to know every individual in her care and find out the little things that matter to them.

During Christmas 2021, Sheila sacrificed time with her own family to care for a number of residents who were critically ill with Covid-19. Sheila spent time with the residents, holding their hands and doing her best to make sure their last hours weren’t spent alone.

Pamela commends Sheila for her positive attitude, saying: “Even in some of our darkest times Sheila has always found a way to be positive and that was infectious to staff and residents alike.”

Pamela adds: “I am honoured to know someone like Sheila who is dedicated [to] making other people’s lives better and putting other people’s needs before her own. People like Sheila are hard to find.”

• Gwen Vaughan, Chair of Oak Hill ASD Childcare

Nominated by Clare Dare, Childcare Business Development Officer at Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Club

Gwen is a parent governor of Ysgol Bryn Derw, a specialist school in Newport for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is chair of the trustees for Oak Hill ASD childcare.

During the pandemic, Gwen developed a voluntary managed committee to help families struggling to access complex needs childcare. She hosted weekly virtual meetings with the goal of setting up out-of-school childcare, and she was successful in securing funding for the project. As a result of Gwen’s work, there is now registered childcare available during the holidays.

Clare says Gwen has “given the club so much to ensure fairness and equality for all families”. Clare adds: “Gwen’s work within the committee is very much proof of her determination and drive to ensure all children have the play experiences, as well as [the] quality childcare, they deserve.”

Our Accolades 2022 sponsors

This year’s Accolades wouldn’t have been possible without the kind support of our sponsors:

Blake Morgan

Sponsor of 'Supporting people who live with dementia'.

Blake Morgan formed in 2014 from the merger of Blake Lapthorn and Morgan Cole LLP. It offers a range of 70 legal services for commercial and private clients across many sectors, regionally, nationally and internationally. Blake Morgan has 126 partners, 400 lawyers and more than 1,000 staff in six locations across the UK and has a strong commitment to making a difference.

City & Guilds/WJEC

Sponsor of 'Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion'.

Since September 2019, the consortium of City & Guilds and WJEC has been the sole provider of a new suite of health and social care, and childcare qualifications in Wales.

City & Guilds and WJEC strongly believe in empowering people with opportunities for the future. Through the development and implementation of the new set of qualifications, they aim to help people get into jobs and be able to progress. They will help do this by driving up standards in health and social care, and childcare in Wales; developing learning programmes and assessments; providing learners with routes for clear career progression; and supporting bilingualism.

Their mission is to provide high-quality qualifications, resources and services that will assist centres to enable their learners to fulfil their potential and meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s workplace.

Data Cymru

Sponsor of ‘Effective staff recruitment and retention’.

Data Cymru offers a range of specialist support designed to help people find and use data effectively. This includes helping to source, collect, or collate data, data analysis, effective data presentation and much more. Its strategic focus is: “putting data and intelligence at the heart of public service delivery”.

Data Cymru plays a central role in ensuring that data meets the needs of its audience by representing the views of local government in Wales around issues such as the Census, and population and migration data. It also holds a wealth of data available in maps, tables and reports in its national system Info Base Cymru.

UNISON

Sponsor of 'Looking after and improving workforce well-being'.

UNISON is the biggest union in Wales with more than 100,000 members across the country. It is also the largest union in the UK with almost 1.4 million members in total. It has members in all areas of social care such as nursing and residential homes, domiciliary care and charities.

The union was formed in 1993 when three public sector trade unions, the National and Local Government Officers Association, the National Union of Public Employees and the Confederation of Health Service Employees merged.

UNISON has been a huge part of many improvements to working conditions to date, including giving the world weekends, the national minimum wage, workplace pensions, the right not to be sacked for being pregnant or sick, and many more legal rights.

WeCare Wales campaign

Sponsor of the 'WeCare Wales award'.

WeCare Wales is a major bilingual, multi-media initiative developed by Social Care Wales, working with a range of national and local organisations involved in different aspects of social care, early years and childcare.

It aims to raise awareness and understanding of social care, early years and childcare and attract more people with the right skills and values to work in caring roles with children and adults.

WeCare Wales aims to show the variety of roles and career progression opportunities available. By using real care workers, it focuses on the challenges they face, as well as what makes their work rewarding and worthwhile.

Its website includes a jobs portal, listing current vacancies for care roles across Wales.