On Saturday 12th May at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London provided a spectacular backdrop for the national finals of the Great British Care Home Awards where the fifteen category winners were announced.


The Great British Care Home Awards, hosted by English Community Care Association (ECCA) and supported by h.e.t. software, are the national finals from the series of nine regional Great British Care Awards in Autumn 2011. Winners from each region were invited to compete once again to become the national champions.


Sector support includes the Department of Health, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), the National Skills Academy for Social Care,  Ceretas, local authority support and commercial organisations are also supporting the awards.


There were a total of fifteen award categories available for nomination, which represent all areas of the care sector,whether it be older people or specialist services and from frontline staff such as care workers and care managers to people who have made an impact in other ways such as training, and specialist care in areas such as dementia and innovation.


Thegala awards evening started in style with a champagne reception, followed by a superb gourmet dinner with some surprise entertainment throughout.  The awards were presented by broadcaster Ben Shephard and the evening concluded with music from a live band and dancing into the night.


The awards support a chosen charity, The Care Professionals Benevolent Fund, the registered charity for the care sector that support current, former and retired care professionals by providing assistance to relieve financial hardship or sickness and also provide advice and guidance on the availability of state support and links with debt counsellors.


Martin Green, Chief Executive of ECCA said,


Social care workers are some of the most valuable, and yet least recognised members of society. Every day the work that these people do makes a real difference to the lives of millions of people and their impact goes far beyond the people they support. Their hard work and dedication to caring, also gives peace of mind to families and friends, who can feel confident that you are supporting the people they know and love.

The service users and their families know the difference these individuals make, and the development of the Great British Care Awards, has now provided an opportunity for this commitment to care to receive wider recognition.


Lisa Carr, Director of the Great British Care Awards said,


“This is just the third year we have held the national finals and we have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm from our industry. The quality of the finalists from across the country and throughout the sector is extremely high and the judges have had the unenviable task of choosing an overall winner for each category – a true national champion.  The awards offer a unique opportunity to celebrate the successes of individuals, teams and businesses throughout the UK – people who really do make a positive impact on people’s lives.  During these testing economic times social care has once again suffered the impact of associated adversity – the awards are a positive way of raising motivation within our social care workforce and indeed the profile of the sector as a whole.  The evening has been truly exhilarating; everyone here tonight is a winner.”


Phil Hall, Director and Chairmanof Healthcare, Jones Lang LaSalle said,

“Saturday’s Great British Care Awards were a fantastic opportunity to reward the many unsung heroes of the sector who make a real difference to peoples’ lives, every day. I was particularly delighted to have been a judge of the ‘Care Trainer Award’. It was a pleasure to hear of all the exciting and innovative ways in which trainers energise and engage with care staff to drive up standards. All of the nominees were fantastic and it was a delight to see Steve Addis awarded Care Trainer of the Year.”


The winners of the Great British Care Home Awards, together with the judge’s comments are detailed below:


The Care Employer Award (More than 250 employees)


North West

CLS Care Services

Robert Black, Emma McCarthy & Jenny Jobber


Clearly know why they are making a difference; a real commitment to care, a real commitment to their staff.


The Care Employer Award (Less than 250 employees)


South East

Nazir Manij

Bay House Nursing Home


Nazir demonstrated that with his team he can maintain traditional values with his innovative and person centred methods in a challenging economic climate while working towards future services.


The Care Home Worker Award


North West

Stephen Cockerline

Barchester Healthcare, Marple Dale Care Centre


A young man whose maturity and dedication belies his year. His enthusiasm for the people he supports was evident by the expression on his face. Whether with a group or one-to-one, his passion is the same.


The Care Newcomer Award


West Midlands


Sanctuary Care


Despite her short time in the sector, Jacqui has made a huge impact to people’s lives. Jacqui is intuitive, a natural carer and a posistive mentor. In the words of her manager, “she just gets it!”


The Care Home Registered Manager Award



Asvinta Thakkar

Greensleeves Home Trust


Wonderful to see such huge passion for working with other people and commitment to leading an organisation that provides dignity; their care centres around the residents. In particular, we were impressed by her ethos of giving the residents “voice, choice and cotrol” and the way they were incorporated into the team.


The Dignity in Care Award


West Midlands

Anne Minshall

Abbots House, Stoke-on-Trent City Council


Anne places the needs of each individual resident at the centre of everything she does. Anne is inspiring, enthusiastic and committed. She provided many examples of innovative and excellent practice.


The Dementia Carer Award



Hayley Cope

Ideal Care Homes


Hayley impressed the judges with her instinctive warmth and caring nature coupled with her natural leadership skills. She brings a bright ray of sunshine into the residents’ lives







The Care Team Award


South West

Gloucestershire House Staff Team

Lesley Gamm, Jane Bailey and Charity Casuyon

Leonard Chesire Disability


This team were unassumingly inspirational; from developing their own team (focused on professional development workshops) to their “no limits” attitude to fulfilling their residents’ dreams. They are a true credit to the care sector!


The Care Trainer Award



Steve Addis



Steve has a “can do” attitude to training and uses observation, supervision and one to one training where needed. Steve clearly loves his job and achieving true person-centred core support.



The Care Innovator Award



Helen Clarke & John Duncan

East Riding Council


Recognising the degree of innovation in these candidates was extremely subtle. However, the genuine impact on individual’s independence and quality of life is immeasurable. Showing passion, dedication and determination this client focused pair have shown great innovation.


The Putting People First Award



Anthea Jones, Maria Savaris & Yoli Pantshwa

Jewish Care


The judges felt that this team epitomised the category “putting people first”. Their willingness to take in individuals which society has deemed unmanageable is remarkable. Their “never give up” attitude denotes an unshakeable belief in human nature.


The Care Home Activity Organiser


East of England

Carl Martin



Carl was very genuine and inspiring. He thought of all angles associated with providing activities to residents and got to the heart of what is important to the individuals he works with.



The Nutrition and Hydration Award


North West

Debbie Mercandelli

Richmond Village Natwich


Debbie demonstrated such enthusiasm for her role together with a passion about the care village. She showed an excellent knowledge about the importance and effectiveness of good nutrition and hydration to promote well-being.


The Ancillary Worker Award



Mick Wise

HICA Care Homes


Mick the handyman demonstrated a real understanding of what it means to be person centred. It was clear that he knows each resident, their likes and dislikes. He is happy to do extras and goes home smiling!


The Frontline Leader Award


South West

Georgina Shiers



The judges were impressed with Georgina’s passion, commitment and the values that she brings daily. She places service users’ needs at the heart of everything she does and focuses on what they can do. She continuously looks at ways to improve care practice, support and motivate her staff team. She is a great example of “care in action”!



The Outstanding Contribution to Social Care Award

Lawrence Tomlinson- Ideal Care Homes


Despite commencing a career in engineering Lawrence soon became involved in social care as his parents developed a residential care home from an existing property when he was 18.


At the age of 24 Lawrence bought his parents, and another operator, out and went into the business of providing care directly himself.

Realising that he needed to become efficient to survive he developed what is now CoolCare software to enable him to operate the homes efficiently.


As he looked to expand he realised that there was no specialist construction company dedicated to developing care homes – to fill this gap he established LNT Construction which has now built around 5,000 care beds in the UK.


His initial care home business grew to become Orchard Care Homes which was bought out by its management in 2007.


This enabled Lawrence to start his new venture, Ideal Care Homes which combined his passion for developing great spaces to live in with the delivery of person centred care.  Ideal has become the fastest growing care home provider in the country.


Lawrence’s passion for care has ensured that he has personally supervised the commissioning of all his new homes and he continues to play a personal role in their operation and is regularly seen in homes talking to relatives, residents and staff.