Thursday 1st December saw over 300 of the very best in social care attended a glittering awards ceremony at The Marriott Gosforth Park, Newcastle for the finals of the Great North East Care Awards, where the category winners were announced.

The Great North East Care Awards, sponsored by Wells Pharmacy brought together the category finalists from across the North East region.

Shiraz Khan,General Manager of Well Careplus, said: “The Great British care awards are a fantastic organisation, dedicated to raising the profile of the Care Sector and the amazing individuals that champion what the care sector strives to achieve. We are delighted to sponsor the Great British care awards, to help recognise these modern day heroes, that would otherwise go unsung.”

The awards are part of the Great British Care Awards, a series of 9 regional awards celebrating excellence across the care sector.  The purpose of the awards is to promote best practice within both home care and care homes sectors, and pay tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work.

Sector support includes Care England, The Department of Health, Alzheimer’s Society, The National Care Forum and The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) as well as local authorities and commercial organisations.

There are total of twenty one 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.

Winners of the Great North East Care Awards will go through to the final at Birmingham’s ICC which takes place on 31st March 2017

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

The Care Employer Award

Advinia Healthcare


A shining example of how a well led organisation can be turned around even in challenging times.  Really showing what can be done with a little imagination.


The Care Home Worker Award

Cazia Aby – Anchor


Cazia is an example to every care worker that by going the extra mile, you really can improve the quality of every residents lives.


The Home Care Worker Award

Claire Armstrong – Comfort Call


Claire shows passion for her role and it is evident she goes the extra mile without hesitation.  Her high standards shone throughout and it is apparent in the relationships built with residents.


The Care Newcomer Award

Christine Brekke – Anchor Trust


Christine was motivated to move into the care sector by watching staff in a residential care home looking after her mother.


The Care Home Registered Manager Award

Vincent Cara – Huntercombe House Peterlee


Works tirelessly with staff to raise the standard at the Home.  Well done Vincent


The Home Care Registered Manager Award

Gavin Hobson – Prioritising People’s Lives


Vast experience and always enjoys working in home care.  Always goes the extra mile to deliver quality care.  Well done Gavin


The Home Care Co-ordinator Award

Kelly Hazlett – Comfort Call


Kelly is a knowledgeable, caring and enthusiastic individual who is firmly committed to making a difference and promoting independence in the people she supports.



The Dignity in Care Award

Sharon Foster – Gateshead Council


Sharon shone through giving person centred care, giving the person choice and control, treating the person with respect.  A worthy winner



The Dementia Carer Award

Elaine Kirtley – Akari Care


Elaine is very supportive, encourages participation where possible.  A worthy winner



The Care Team Award

Akari Care


Outstanding CQC inspection measures impact.  Raising profile of care.  Shared vision – promoting real care/ “Nothing we can’t do as a team. Congratulations!!


The Care Home Activities Co-ordinator Award

Julie Ati – Akari Care


Julie is a very qualified Activities Co-ordinator who has done some incredible things to improve the lives of her residents.  Having assisted to gain lottery funding for many projects.


The Ancillary Worker Award

Diane Ingham – Gateshead Council


Diane loves her work, enjoys seeing service users smiling.  She really cares for the people she works with – little every day things to make them happy.


The Care Trainer Award

Meg Halliwell – Care and Share Associates CASA


Passionate and committed to motivating highly trained individuals – always with the goal of quality, person centred care


The Care Innovator Award

Advinia Healthcare


One of the hardest categories to judge – all very strong but piped to the post is Jude and Holly from Advinia Healthcare – their innovative support to people with complex needs backed up by evidence based research is fantastic.  Well done!


The Frontline Leaders Award

Debra Dowd – Anchor


Debra is  an example of what can be achieved with a life time commitment to the care industry.  Always leading by example.


The Putting People First/Personalisation Award

Guidepost Team – Gateshead Council


A very passionate team working for people with learning disabilities – with service users developing – gaining new skills.  Well done Guidepost Team



The Good Nurse Award

Gail Miller – Hawthorns Care Centre Barchester


Gail is an incredibly passionate nurse who is committed and enthusiastic about providing support and care in a social care setting recognising and providing person centred service.  Well done Gail!


The Palliative Care/End of Life Award

Lee Craik Potter – Anchor Trust


Creating a place where people can see “nature” and End of Life is a peaceful situation – supportive, caring and understanding shines through.


The Outstanding Contribution to Social Care Award

Helen McAardle – Helen McArdle Care

Since establishing Helen McArdle Care from scratch in 1989, Helen McArdle CBE has transformed the care of the elderly throughout the North East.

In the last 25 years Helen has built over 35 care homes, created employment for over 4000 staff and provided first class elderly care for over 4000 residents. In the last six years, Helen has also launched home care and day care services for the elderly in the North East.

Helen McArdle Care has become synonymous with quality and innovation. The fact that Helen was prepared to name her company after herself and not hide behind another name is indicative of Helen’s passion for what she does.

Helen has always been a pioneer for care in the North East and often in the UK; she was the first to provide ensuites and she’s always built ahead of regulation e.g. larger bedrooms, wider corridors, larger lifts. Helen also co-founded Care North East, an umbrella organisation representing fellow providers’ interests in the North East. More recently Helen has further enhanced the standard of care homes with the introduction of cinemas, restaurants and tea rooms, internet cafes, Life Song Circle Dance and HEARTS, and also an innovation in pureed food, Smoothfood, which was brought to the UK by Helen McArdle Care.

In August 2016, Helen McArdle Care was proven to be the highest quality care provider in the UK, achieving four outstanding Care Quality Commission (CQC) gradings, with all of her other homes achieving Good

Helen recognises how important her staff are to the business and to thank both them and their families she holds an annual summer day out or family fun day and has invested in a number of staff benefit programmes including shopping discounts, an employee assistance programme, tickets to the football and to Beamish Museum. Every two years she hosts the Helen McArdle Care Recognition Awards, which is a gala awards evening to recognise the achievements of the staff.

Active in the region’s charitable sector, Helen has donated over £2m to local and international charities during the last seven years, including the Tyne & Wear Community Foundation, Percy Hedley Trust, Calvert Trust, Maggie’s, Build Africa and is a patron of the Prince’s Trust

In 2015 Helen was awarded a CBE for her services to the care home industry and the local community.

Helen founded Helen McArdle Care to make a difference and that is truly what she has done.