On Saturday 5th June, the Guildhall, London provided a spectacular backdrop for the finals of the Great British Care Home Awards, where the twelve category winners were announced.

The Great British Care Awards, supported by the Department of Health, NatWest Bank and HET Software, are a series of regional awards which celebrates excellence in social care and pay tribute to those who work in the sector.  The awards are all inclusive, bringing together the statutory, independent and voluntary sectors, as well as unpaid carers; promoting joint working.

The regional awards were held in the Autumn of 2009 for the first time. The winners of these awards from the care home sector were then invited to attend a gala dinner at the Guildhall, where presenter Fiona Phillips announced the winners.  The Great British National Care Home awards were hosted by the English Community Care Association, the largest representative body for community care in England.

The Great British Care awards have received nominations and support from all corners of the sector. Sector support includes the Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Skills for Care, Ceretas and the English Community Care Association.  Local Authority support and commercial organisations are also supporting the awards.  Caring UK magazine is the media partner.

There were a total of fifteen awards categories available for nomination, which represent all areas of the social 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, IT and innovation.

Nominations came in from all corners of the sector and the regions and successful candidates invited for interview for the national finals.  The gala award evening started in style with a champagne reception, followed by a superb gourmet dinner and the awards presentation.  Following the awards guests were invited to extend the celebrations at an after party on the magnificent Dutch Master, a 3 decked boat, which cruised along the river Thames – a perfect finale for an amazing evening.

The awards support a chosen charity, The Maggie’s Centre, which has sites across the country supporting people who lives have been impacted upon by cancer.  Over £500 was raised for the charity at the national finals.

In addition an auction for the Care Professionals Benevolent Fund was held – the prize, a jeroboam of French rosé wine  The Care Professionals Benevolent Fund is the registered charity for the Care Sector and are here to support current, former and retired care professionals, by providing assistance to relieve financial hardship or sickness.  The winner of the auction was Carebase who bid a staggering £2,000.

Mike Padgham, Director of the Great British Care Awards said,

“We are delighted to be staging these awards with the English Community Care Association, continuing to build upon the success of the regional awards which have become such an important occasion in the social care calendar in such a short space of time.

Our regional awards have recognised some fantastic teams, individuals and organisations, providing exceptional care in their respective regions. So, the quality of the entries being judged for the national finals this evening was truly outstanding and the judges’ task has been extremely difficult but very rewarding.

Residential and nursing care on offer in this country is clearly in extremely good shape and our winners tonight demonstrate great quality, innovation and entrepreneurial flair. There is no doubt that the economic downturn has meant that things have been tough for the sector. At the same time, social care doesn’t always get the positive column inches in the media that it should. That is why events like tonight’s awards play such an important role. Not only do they recognise and celebrate the fantastic achievement of those in the sector to be honoured tonight, but they also help to raise and improve the profile of the sector.

We see before us tonight a demonstration of the fantastic care delivered over millions of hours each year by a dedicated and hard-working staff who deserve this their evening of recognition.  Congratulations to all those winners and finalists and we hope to repeat this success at the 2010 regional awards which take place in the Autumn throughout England later this year.

Martin Green, Chief Executive of the English Community Care Association, said of the awards,

Social Care is one of the most important areas of support for vulnerable people.  Yet it seldom seems to get the recognition that it deserves.  The real story of social care is one of good quality relationships that exist between service users and the staff who form strong bonds and establish relationships of mutual benefit.  The role of care staff is complex and at times difficult.  Yet it tends not to get the recognition that it deserves.  I am delighted that the care awards have been developed to give just recognition to the people who work so hard to make a difference to the lives of service users.  Our staff are truly the ‘unsung heroes’ of the health and social care system but thankfully the care awards are putting this right and ensuring that the people who really make the difference finally get both the recognition and reward for their efforts.  Attending the Great British National Care Home Awards was truly a rewarding and inspiring experience.”

The winners of the Great British National Care Home Awards, together with the judges comments are detailed below:


Care Home Newcomer Award

Rachel Guthrie – Innova House (East Midlands – Nottingham)

Rachel demonstrates an outstanding passion and commitment to supporting her service users and her team.  Since joining the sector she has progressed rapidly and clearly loves her job.  Rachel works in a challenging environment and embraces the daily difficulties she sometimes faces, in her words ‘it is the little things that make a big difference’. Congratulations Rachel.


Care Employer (more than 250 Employees) Award

Alnur Dhanani, Phillipa Morley & Dawn Sharp – Carebase (London – Wimbledon)

The judges were impressed by the high standard of all the finalists in this category. Carebase stood out for their unique culture clearly running throughout the company enabling all employees to show their compassion and love for their residents, jobs and each other.


Care Employer (less than 250 Employees) Award

William Kenyon – Transitional Rehabilitation Unit (TRU) Ltd (North West – St Helens)

At TRU, William Kenyon impressed the judges by demonstrating a unique style in sharing success with the staff and still retaining a personal touch with them and his clients. William has shown how it is possible to grow a business successfully, rewards staff and provide excellent quality care and enablement.


Care Home Worker Award

Christina Dobson – Henshaws College (Yorkshire – Harrogate)

Christina is a clear inspiration. She displayed a strong passion and commitment to the profession through the many examples of how she applies this daily in her working practice.


Registered Care Home Manager Award

Helen Rollin – Anchor (East of England – Ipswich)

Helen cited the value and respect of her staff as key to success. A real innovator who saw it as a privilege to make a real difference to people’s lives and in turn made a difference to hers.



Care Nutrition Award

Jo Shuker – Sebright House (West Midlands – Leamington Spa)

Jo stood out as clear winner because of her passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the residents. She demonstrated clear innovative and creative ways of ensuring a healthy and nutritious lifestyle for people with challenging difficulties. The panel thought she was an inspirational leader.


Dignity in Care Award

Tamsin Banks, Susan Wells & Caroline Patterson – Plymouth City Council (South West – Plymouth)

This team are working with vision and imagination to help the care home sector in plymouth really understand the meaning of dignity, to improve the quality of experience for residents.


Dementia Carer Award

Jo Shuker – Sebright House (West Midlands – Leamington Spa)

Jo was a clear winner for us, she brought to life what living in her unit was like, it means being part of the community, still going out to do the things you always did, like going to the hairdressers. Jo does not allow her care to be anything other than having a choice to live not just exist.


Care Team Award

Thompson Court Resource Centre (Yorkshire – Bradford)

From a very thorough field the judges see Thompson Court Team shone through. We got a strong sense of what they achieve and all they do. Warm, dedicated and passionate.


Care Home Activity Organiser Award

Jan Millward – Old Vicarage Care Home (South West – Dorset)

Jan impressed us with her passion, enthusiasm, attention to detail and total commitment to her role. She involves all from obtaining life histories to delivering activities with support to ensure continuity.


Ancillary Worker Award

Hayley Pell – Innova House (East Midlands – Nottingham)

Hayley has had a significant impact in her current role – introducing cross infection measures and a recycling scheme. She goes above and beyond in her role and she gave the panel great confidence in her drive for continuous improvement.


Care Home Trainer Award

Sue Huxley – Lynhales Nursing Home (West Midlands – Lyonshall)

The Trainer category has been awarded to Sue Huxley.  Sue clearly demonstrated to the panel her own skills in developing and delivering training programmes. Her skills scan for staff and the way she has changed practice through training evaluation is first class.  Her inter generational work and ability to attract younger people into social care is highly commended.


Care Innovator Award

Susannah Chard – Choices Housing Association (West Midlands – Newcastle Under Lyme)

Involving service users in the delivery of staff training encompasses the very essence of the personalisation agenda, giving people choice and control over how their support is provided.


IT Innovator Award

Karen Cooper – Greensleaves Homes Trust (South East – Tunbridge Wells)

Such a simple yet brilliant concept!  Karen’s introduction of a computer system in the home has allowed residents to embrace new technology, stay in contact with friends and family whilst learning new skills and engaging with other residents, family and staff. Karen’s infectious enthusiasm and no boundaries approach is clearly the key to its success.


Outstanding Contribution to Social Care Award

Jane Ashcroft, Anchor Care


Jane Ashcroft is one of the leading figures in health, housing and social care.  As Chief Executive of one of the largest not-for-profit providers, Jane leads the agenda on developing quality care services across the continuum of care.


In her role at ECCA, she has been instrumental in ensuring that as a representative body, we are able to represent all care services and play a prominent role in developing policy at both government and regulatory levels.