On Friday 24th April, over 500 of the very best in social care attended a glittering awards ceremony at Birmingham’s ICC, for the national finals of the Great British Care Home Awards, where the national category winners were announced.

The Great British Care Home Awards, hosted by Care England and sponsored by Specsavers Healthcall, brought together the winners from the nine regional Great British Care Awards held in Autumn 2014. 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), Alzheimer’s Society,  National Skills Academy for Social Care and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) as well as local authorities and commercial organisations.

There were a total of sixteen 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.

Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England said,

“Social care work is one of the most difficult, and at the same time, one of the most spiritually rewarding careers. People who work in social care, make a huge difference to the lives of the people they work with, and are some of society’s unsung heroes.

The Great British Care Awards looks to redress the lack of recognition that  people who work in social care receive, and is recognising and rewarding the very best in the social care workforce,  giving them praise and respect for the transformational work that they do every day.”

Specsavers Healthcall director of business development, Jayne Rawlinson said, ‘Care workers often work long unsociable hours caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and often this goes unrecognised. The Great British Care Awards are so important because they give us a chance to celebrate these workers and recognise the huge impact they have on the lives of the people they care for.’

Ray James, President of ADASS said,

“The Great British Care Awards are a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to the lasting difference that frontline social care workers make to over a million lives every minute of every day, and pay tribute to the wonderful contribution of these frontline care workers make.

“I believe together commissioners and providers need to champion the very best in social  care and to do all we can to make sure that people who work in social care get the recognition they deserve.

“The Great British Care Awards highlight the very best in social care – stories that don’t get told often enough, so together let’s celebrate the very best in social care.”

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


The Care Employer Award

Carebase Ltd

Carebase was represented by the managing director and the HR officer. Their enthusiasm was infectious and the commitment and innovation they demonstrated to encourage and reward staff should be a role model for employers.


The Care Newcomer Award

Heidi Hovell – Voyage Care

Heidi was the unanimous choice of the judges who were greatly impressed by the level of maturity she demonstrated for someone only 19. She is an asset to the care sector.


The Care Home Worker Award

Raphael Akinwumi – Voyage Care

Raphael summed up beautifully the importance of training in respect of his job describing it as “training is a bridge for where I am to where I want to be”. An insightful winner with good attention and perception to service users’ needs at all times. Well Done!


The Care Home Manager Award

Lorraine Gregory – Young Options Group

The Judges had a difficult decision as all candidates showed passion and great leadership. But Lorraine shone through as she says “it’s all about the children”. She understands how difficult the tasks are for her and her staff but supports both her team and the children in an exceptional way. In her own words “pay is a bonus”. Well done Lorraine a worthy winner!


The Nutrition and Hydration Award

Amanda Hodge – Greensleeves Home Trust

Amanda’s innovative approach to hydration is based on her aim to improve resident’s well-being, together with her passion to provide the very best meal time experience is why the judges chose this winner.


The Dignity in Care Award

Vilma Toledo – Camden and Islington NHS Trust

Vilma demonstrated a real passion to ensure the uniqueness of each individual is respected. Vilma’s natural empathy shone through on the day. Well done Vilma!


The Dementia Carer Award

Robin Eddlestone – Springhill Care Group

Robin showed a massive amount of empathy for his residents and a clear understanding of their conditions and how to adjust his approach to meet their needs. He showed a good understanding of how to improve his service and the risks and limitations that could affect this. He is proud of what he does and he treats his residents as part of a bigger family


The Care Team Award

Care Team – Valerie Manor

Valerie Manor believe they are unique and today they really seemed to be unique. Everyone is listened to and everyone is an individual; the team is a good mix. No one leaves there is a waiting list for residents and for staff.


The Care Home Activity Organiser Award

Marie-Claire Foale – Pilling Care Homes

End of life no longer needs to be the end. Marie-Claire shows passion, care and proves that you can be in control of your life right until the very end.


The Ancillary Worker Award

Ken Speed – PJ Care

Ken wants to put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces.  He has a proactive approach for delivering new ideas  for the benefits of the residents and staff.  He is an inspirational person and a deserving winner!


The Care Trainer Award

Jane Baldwin RMBI

Jane was a clear winner with the judges. She has a creative flair and a flexible approach, willing to work around the clock to support staff. Jane’s vision is clear to support the cultural shift required to deliver 21st century care. Well done Jane a worthy winner.


The Putting People First Award

Gary Mathews – Eden Place Ltd

Gary really blew the judges away and left them feeling inspired by his natural compassion and sympathy to making a difference to people’s lives. Everything was truly from the heart in everything he does, making it personal about them not the institution. He is a shining light giving people hope for and better future and life!


The Frontline Leaders Award

Michelle Jones – Belong

We felt that Michelle was/is a leader that wasn’t afraid to get on the floor and muck in with her staff. Michelle comes across as someone that has a real passion not only for care but for coaching people to provide excellent care. Michelle isn’t afraid to admit when she is wrong. Michelle is passionate, caring, has great initiative and a coach not only a leader.


The Good Nurse Award

Charlotte Little – PJ Care

Charlotte’s passion for caring and really making a difference to someone’s life shone through. She is resourceful, positive and dedicated in getting to know the people she supports. Charlotte clearly doesn’t go the extra mile – but the extra 10 miles!


The Care Innovator Award

Projects Team – Woodleigh Care

Providing opportunities for all people at all different levels to experience a working environment and feel really valued with results they achieve, allowing everyone to live meaningful and purposeful lives.


The Outstanding Contribution Award

Karen Rogers – Herefordshire Care Homes

The  owner of Herefordshire Care Homes, Karen is passionate about delivering person centred care to vulnerable people whilst juggling a full family life.


Prior to owning Herefordshire Care Homes, Karen spent several years inspecting care homes, specialising in raising standards, as well as advising the Department of Health on regulatory policy for care homes.

Herefordshire Care Homes stands as the culmination of her 20 year career in social care and the personal vision that has grown from it: a belief that a care home can be a positive addition to one’s life experience, focusing on quality of life and dignity for older people.

Karen is very well respected in the sector and has written for numerous journals.  She has

worked across a broad range of services in both the statutory and independent sectors and
is an inspiration to others with her imaginative ways to deliver care services.

As Karen would agree it has not always been plain sailing – but her passion for delivering quality care for vulnerable people has ensured she has always risen to the challenge!