Saturday November 27th the Hilton Hotel in Brighton provided a spectacular backdrop for the finals of the inaugural Great South East Care Awards, where the seventeen category winners were announced.

The Great South 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 South 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 Sally Gunnell OBE 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 South East Care Awards for the very first 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 South 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 South East Care Awards, together with the judges comments are detailed below:


The Care Employer (More than 250) Award

WINNER – Dawn Sharp & Phillipa Morley – Carebase – South East

The judges had a very difficult decision from some very strong candidates. Carebase a real passion for both their staff and services. They looked beyond best practice and gave examples of how empowerment within the organisation has made real differences. Congratulations!


The Care Employer (Less than 250) Award

WINNER – Lesley Crisford – Peterhouse – Bexhill on Sea

The judges were impressed by team focus ‘all roles are important’, ‘developing the staff to get the most out of them’, communication being two-way – Investing in their staff seen as positive.


The Care Home Worker Award

WINNER – Carol Butler – Titleworth – Guildford – Surrey

Carol is an exceptional care worker, honest and caring. Carol sees beyond the persons behaviour to the person they really are. “Different strategies for different people” totally encapsulating the dignity and independence strategy.


The Home Care Worker Award

WINNER – Angela Neaves – Mears Care Ltd – Ashford – Kent

Angela demonstrated that she puts people who use her services at the heart of what she does. She has compassion balanced with a sense of humour – a worthy winner!


The Care Newcomer Award

WINNER – Thomas Bird – Titleworth – Guildford – Surrey

After a difficult decision we nominate Tom Bird for the Care Newcomer Award. Tom shows understanding of his role and the requirements of the care sector far beyond his years. He also has our administration for the voluntary work he undertakes. He is an excellent example for those he works with and we have no doubt he will go far in this sector therefore the panel were unanimous their decision.


The Care Home Registered Manager Award

WINNER – Monica Prosser – Carebase – Acorn Court Care Home – Redhill – Surrey

The judges were impressed that Monica had all the skills to rescue a failing home and rapidly improve quality standards, but they also liked her passion and dedication to clients, staff and community. Hers is a home with a heart, a home for life.


The Home Care Registered Manager Award

WINNER – Cliff Iredale – Guardian Homecare – Berkshire

Cliff convinced the judges of his competent management skills. He had a clear grasp of current issues and his service users & staff benefit from his ability to see the whole picture and his desire for continuous improvement.


The Care Home Nutrition & Hydration Award

WINNER – Graham Baker – Elizabeth Finn Homes – Burford

Graham demonstrated a good understanding of the importance of well balanced and nutritional meals. Graham uses local suppliers and includes residents to help plan and choose their meals, to ensure their health and well being is maintained.


The Dignity in Care Award

WINNER – Christine Mills – Westminster Homecare – Luton

The judges were impressed by Christine’s positive and enthusiastic outlook. She demonstrated a real understanding of what dignity means to the individual. With her leadership role she leads be example – a true ambassador!


The Dementia Carer Award

WINNER – Sue Johnston – Independent Living Services – Cosham

The judges were impressed and were unanimous in selecting Sue for her dedication and immense belief in supporting people with dementia to live in their own homes. A special person!


The Care Team Award

WINNER – Independency at Home Team – brighton & Hove City Council – Woodington


The team showed a dynamic approach to change, resulting in reduced dependency for service users and increased professional pride for all staff.



The Care Home Activity Organiser Award

WINNER – Joanne Phillips – Anchor Homes – Surrey

The judges felt that Joanne was passionate about her role and she demonstrated that she know each of her residents and their families intimately. The knowledge and experience of each person is identified. Joanne said “These people are full of knowledge – so let’s use it” making her residents feel fulfilled and contributing to society.


The Ancillary Worker Award

WINNER – Stephanie Anderson – Brighton & Hove City Council – Brighton

Stephanie demonstrated that she was an extremely good team player and thought ‘outside the box’ to make life easier for the team she worked with. She also showed great empathy for the care workers, introducing new ideas for their well-being. The panel felt she would be an asset to any employer.


The Putting People First/ Personalisation Award

WINNER – Monica Prosser – Carebase – Acorn Court Care Home – Redhill – Surrey

It was a tough decision, however, Monica displayed a determination that the people in her care were respected and appreciated as individuals, regardless of their needs.


The Care Trainer Award

WINNER – Amanda Pettit – Active Assistance – Sevenoaks

Her passion shone trough from the start. Her dedication to make training more accessible to all staff and innovative ideas to enable progression with staff. She took time to understand the needs of the service users


The Care Innovator Award

WINNER –  Young People’s Team – The Avenue CSS – Kent

Strong teamwork, imagination and determination are the hallmarks of this essentially person centred work. Young people often with multiple disabilities are helped, along with their families, by a painstaking, step by step supportive approach. The theory is not unique but the application of it is, in our experience, RARE.


The Outstanding Contribution to Social Care Award

WINNER – Erica Lockhart, Surrey Care Association, Leatherhead, Surrey

Erica is a remarkable person who has dedicated her working life to improving the lives of people who receive social care and support services.

Without doubt Erica has embraced people in helping them to undertake a challenge that most others would leave alone.

She has served the care industry for years giving unbelievable support and guidance with a firm but fair approach.  Her passion for the well being of others is beyond that of the norm and often at personal sacrifice in time and energy.

Erica has been instrumental in shaping the Surrey Care Association.  Through the care association Erica has lead great innovation in the sector.  There are many examples but probably best highlighted is the work Erica is doing to drive sector organisation in Surrey.  This work will support providers to become more efficient and effective whilst helping the council meet their targets.  Erica’s work is key to innovative work such as this.

As well as working at strategic level, Erica has tirelessly lead development work which directly improves the quality of care and support on the ground.  Her commitment to staff development and her support to struggling membership organisations evidences this.

Erica has a brilliant skill of bringing money into the sector.  She has generated hundreds of thousands of pounds from myriad of sources, and these funds have been directly applied to benefit people who need support in Surrey.  Much of this work goes unnoticed and unrecognised

In the words of one of the people who nominated Erica,

“Erica is a giant in our industry and would leave a cavernous hole should she ever decide to move on.  Erica Lockhart is KEY to care in Surrey.”