Friday 19th November at the Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park, Newcastle, provided a spectacular backdrop for the finals of the second Great North East Care Awards, where the seventeen category winners were announced.

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

The Great North East Care Awards have received nominations and support from all corners of the sector. Sector support includes the Association of 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.

There were a total of seventeen awards 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, specialist care in areas such as dementia and innovation.

Nominations came in from all corners of the sector and the region and successful candidates invited for interview for infront of a panel of sector experts.  The gala award evening started in style with a champagne reception, followed by a superb gourmet dinner and the awards presentation with Keith Chegwin and dancing into the night. Singing Waiters also surprised guests with their rendition of Nessum Dorma.

Winners from the awards will be invited to attend the national finals for either the home care or care home sector which will take place in May and June 2011 at the prestigious Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The awards support a chosen charity, The Maggie’s Centre, which has sites across the country, including Nottingham, supporting people who lives have been impacted upon by cancer.

In addition an auction for the Care Professionals Benevolent Fund was held – the prize, a jeroboam of French rose 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.

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

“We are delighted to be staging the Great North East Care Awards for the second time. The care awards are goning from strength to strength with this year’s regional events.  The support from sector partners has been overwhelming and the quality and sheer nominations has been astounding.

These awards recognise and pay tribute to the efforts and dedication of all those who work tirelessly to ensure that so many people are able to live independent lives in their own home. They are the perfect showcase to reflect on best practice in the social care sector. A sector where people truly dedicate themselves to their work and take pride in their achievements.

The people of the North East are incredibly fortunate to have such dedicated people caring for the vulnerable and elderly members of their communities. Congratulations to everyone this evening – everyone here is a winner!”

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


The Care Employer (More than 250) Award

WINNER – Lynne Gray – Helen McArdle Care – Gateshead

The judges felt that their understanding of the relationship between good staff = good care = good reputation = better chances of recruiting the best people. There was real passion from the very top throughout the whole organisation.

The Care Employer (Less than 250) Award

WINNER – Jeremy Walford, Middleton Hall Retirement Village, Darlington

The very real desire to become the best retirement village impressed the judges. The culture of the organisation of working together at all levels is a real strength for Middleton Hall. They gave really positive examples of Innovation and Excellence.

The Care Home Worker Award

WINNER – Lisa Ford – Windsor Care Home – Tyne & Wear

Lisa talks with passion and dedication. She understands fully about choice, independence and dignity. Lisa has progressed from domestic to lead senior care achieving NVQ 2 & 3 and many other vocational courses.

The Home Care Worker Award

WINNER – Chris Watson – Direct Health – Cleveland

Chris has a genuine warmth and passion for his job. He made the judges feel the emotion he feels. Chris is determined to assist people at home to improve their lives.

The Care Newcomer Award

WINNER – Sandra Brownlee – MHA – Cramlington

The judges felt that Sandra Brownlee was everything you would want and expect in a carer. Caring conscientious and shows an exuberance for her role.

The Care Home Registered Manager Award

WINNER – Joanne Hodge – Norton Care Ltd – Warkworth

Joanne showed strong management and believes in training and support to achieve change. She has successfully moved her home from residential to nursing and is now moving to EMI. Joanne demonstrates care at strength and determination in her personal and business life.

The Home Care Registered Manager Award

WINNER – Norville McClurg, Care Management Services – Ponteland

The judges felt Norvil demonstrated an excellent strategic vision. He was both surprised and honoured to have been nominated for this award. Norvil has a  real understanding of the services they provide. His passion for quality and independence makes him a very worthy winner.

The Care Home Nutrition & Hydration Award

WINNER – Rita Clark – Southern Cross Healthcare – Ashington

Rita showed tremendous passion for her cooking and towards the residents, even creating a Hawaiian themed meal as one president has always wanted to go there.

The Dignity in Care Award

WINNER – Sandra Irving – Anchor Trust – Newcastle

Sandra totally encapsulated dignity and rights of residents at Cranlea. Describing residents as at the beginning of this part of their lives not the end! Avery worth winner!!

The Dementia Carer Award

WINNER – Maureen Thompson – Guardian Homecare & Nursing Ltd – Newcastle

The judges felt that Maureen showed exceptional dedication and commitment to dementia care; she is fulfilling her lifelong ambition, and doing so with quiet determination and personal integrity.

The Care Team Award

WINNER – Clifton House – Cleveland

The judges were impressed by their warmth and dedication to working with older people. Very apparent the team worked well together; getting a real ‘fix’ from being at Clifton House.

The Care Home Activity Organiser Award

WINNER – Kathy Scarrott – Windsor Care Home – Tyne & Wear

In what was a very close category the winner showed an abundance of enthusiasm, organisational skills together with the ability to create a sound support network with both family and care staff.

The Ancillary Worker Award

WINNER – Ian Hodgson – Accept Care – Consett

Ian demonstrated how he broadens horizons and empowers individuals to achieve goals. He is an excellent communication , takes initiate and displays a great deal of pride in his work- The judges felt that Ian’s unassuming and selfless nature makes him a very worthy winner.

The Putting People First/ Personalisation Award

WINNER – Futures – Sunderland City Council – Sunderland

The judges were impressed with the innovative methods and approach of the futures team to support young people to make their own choices and take control of their own lives.

The Care Trainer Award

WINNER – Gwen Varney – White House Nursing – Monkton Village

Gwen demonstrated a truly person centred approach to training. The judges were impressed with her out come focussed approach for the benefit of service users and staff. She is an organised and passionate individual and a truly deserving winner!

The Care Innovator Award

WINNER –  Karen Vasey – Durham County Council – Durham

Karen was very passionate about the innovation she had been involved in. She was the inspiration to change things by including and involving the staff. She was instrumental in changing a service that maintained people in their own ill health to one that focussed on people getting better.

The Outstanding Contribution to Social Care Award

WINNER – Bob Little, Skills for Care, Billingham

As the Skills for Care representative in the North East, Bob has worked tirelessly and creatively over the last decade to ensure that people who use services have the best, qualified, motivated and skilled staff delivering care and support.

Bob has been particularly innovative in the setting up of the sub regional alliances ensuring that Train to Gain was utilised for care development, supporting money from Health to come across into Social Care for End of Life Care, training supporting people who use services to have a voice in planning, and through many other projects.

Bob runs a small Skills for Care team in the region. He attributes his success to the quality of the team, to the excellent advisory group and the strong partnerships which he has helped to forge with local authorities, alliances and many other agencies.