Friday 21st November saw over 400 of the very best in social care attended a glittering awards ceremony at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham,  for the  finals of the Great East Midlands Care Awards, where the category winners were announced.

The Great East Midlands Care Awards, sponsored by Specsavers Healthcall, in association with Access Health & Social Care and the Royal Bank of Scotland, brought together the category finalists from across the East Midlands region.

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 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 are a total of twenty 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.

The gala awards evening started in style with a drinks reception, followed by a superb gourmet dinner with some surprise entertainment throughout.  The awards were presented by entertainer Steve Walls with a surprise appearance of Stavros Flatley from Britain’s Got Talent fame.

The awards support a chosen charity, The Care Workers Charity, the registered charity for the care sector that support current, former and retired care professionals by providing assistance to relieve financial hardship or sickness and also provide advice and guidance on the availability of state support and links with debt counsellors.

Jayne Rawlinson, director of business developmentof Specsavers Healthcall said:

“Specsavers Healthcall is proud to support the Great British Care Awards. It’s important to recognise and celebrate the incredible dedication of people working in the social care sector. Without them some of the most vulnerable people in our society would be far worse off.”

Paul Patarou, divisional manager, Health & Social Care Division, Access Group, said:

“As sponsors of the Great British Care Awards, it’s a great honour for Access Group to be involved in the judging process. With so many fantastic entries it’s clear to see the talent that abounds in the health and social care sector. The Awards provide an opportunity to recognise the hard work and dedication of everyone in the industry from volunteer carers and front line care staff right through to their colleagues who administer and manage the organisation. Working within Access’ dedicated Health and Social Division I often see first-hand the passion and commitment displayed by these incredible individuals; they’re truly are a credit to their industry.”

Bryn Bates, healthcare relationship director at Royal Bank of Scotland said:

“We are delighted to continue our support for The Great British Care Awards in 2014, a great avenue of celebrating the hard work and successes of care across the country. Our support for these Awards is just one way RBS reinforces its’ commitment to the Care sector and those that work within it.”

Lisa Carr, director of the Great British Care Awards said:

“The Great British Care Awards are now in their sixth year and are continuing to go from strength to strength.   We never cease to be amazed with the quality of nominations and this year is no exception.  The two new categories, The Good Nurse Award and The Arco Housing With Care Award, have also proved very popular, demonstrating the significance of integration between health, housing and social care.

“This evening was a true celebration for the unsung heroes of social care, without whom quality care provision in our communities would fail.”

Winners of the Great East Midlands Care Awards will go through to one of two national finals for both care home and home care.  The finals will take place at The ICC Birmingham in April and June 2015.

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


The Care Employer Award

Morton Grange

Loving, safe and passionate family run care home. Morton Grange displays all the good things about the care sector with a focus on the individual needs of its customers.


The Care Home Worker Award

Georgina Exposito – Country Court Care

Georgina is described as a ray of sunshine on a rainy day – her smile and happy attitude lights up the day for many of the residents of the St. Johns care home.


The Home Care Worker  Award

Gareth Needham – Nationwide Care Services

Gareths greatest wish is to change the perception of older people. He brings a refreshing uniqueness to care. Patience, dedication and above all a desire to put a smile of the faces of his service users.


The Care Newcomer Award

Billy Fitzmaurice – HC-One Ltd

Billy’s passion for care comes from his own personal experience of caring for family and friends. Professional and dedicated, Billy is a real asset to the sector and will go far!


The Care Home Registered Manager Award

Lorraine Poundall – JHB

The panel was in agreement that this persons dedication and passion for care is making a real difference – her vision is clearly inspiring her staff team to deliver excellent care.


The Home Care Registered Manager Award

Lorna Stockdale – HH Care Ltd

Lorna’s passion for care really shone through. She ensures that staff motivation is a priority. And she has a good knowledge of the service she delivers. Lorna strives to bring the community together which helps to ensure her service users have a better quality of life.


The Home Care Coordinator Award

Angela Burke – Home Instead Senior Care

A truly outstanding individual who displays a tremendous passion for her work. She leads her team from the front with skill and understanding.


The Nutrition & Hydration Award

Preston Walker – Oak House Residential Home

Preston blew us away with his approach to nutrition and hydration. Through innovation, good practise and research whilst maintaining the client’s needs and requirements has extended the ‘menu’ in all areas. A truly refreshing voice of all things possible and taking nutritional care to another level.


The Dignity in Care Award

Stephen Boland – Olympus Care

The panel was in agreement. Dignity is a way of life for this candidate. He uses his personal and professional experience to better himself in an inspirational way.


The Dementia Carer Award

Ann Wiggett – Home Instead Senior Care

Knowledgeable and insightful approach to a well constructed programme of care. Ann combined this with emotional warmth and obvious commitment and passion. Ann is keen to ensure that the person with dementia feels valued. Truly inspirational


The Care Team Award

Dorothy Mbulo – Hillcare

Dorothy and her team has a true understanding of teamwork and leadership with clear plans on developing each and every individual. When offered a magic want, Dorothy turned it down and said she wouldn’t look to change her team.


The Care Home Activity Organiser

Steve Shore – Country Court Care

Out of strong candidates, steve showed and intuitive approach which showed through in the way he spoke of his residents as valued and respected individuals.


The Ancillary Worker Award

Andy Hibbert– HC-ONE Ltd

Andy is clearly dedicated to enriching the life of the residents who live in his home. It is clear to see he goes over and above his job description, and everything he does has his residents needs in mind! A clear winner!


The Putting People First Award

Adam Wells – Community Integrated Care

Adam demonstrated a very clear understanding in his role of personalisation and putting people first. A very worthy winner.


The Care Trainer Award

Ashley Knights – University of Northampton

Ashley is looking to be a world changer in care training. Having had a fantastic journey of employment in health and social care is an enthusiastic motivator looking to underpin workers hands on experience by training and education.


The Care Innovator Award

The Client Portal – Pure Homecare

This is a truly innovative idea, motivated by a genuine care need. It has been developed from an idea into a reality. It shows real promise.


The Frontline Leaders Award

Joan Pons Laplana – Derbyshire Community Health Services

Jo is clearly a person wh9o is deeply passionate about his work, and is always prepared to go above and beyond his duties.


The Arco Housing with Care Award

Norton House

The team from Norton house inspired us with their total commitment to the people who live here, their belief in potential and their respect for value of their individuality. We felt they really cared and really make a difference.



The Good Nurse Award

Lauren Rothwell -Kettering General Hospital

Lauren ticked every box that you could hope for in a nurse. She has enthusiasm, innovation, determination, focus and energy. Her role is listening as much as giving advice.


Unpaid Carer

Shalinie Sharpe, Pure Home Care

Shalinie was nominated by a service user who wanted everyone to know what an asset Shalinie is to her former company and the sector.

Shalini very reluctantly gave up her job as a care worker to look after her husband who has been diagnosed with Leukaemia. She fought very hard to keep her job but decided that she needed to give more of herself to her husband whilst she still had him.  Shalinie was able to devote so much of her time to her service users and provide an incredibly high standard of care to them whilst facing the challenge of losing her much loved husband at the same time.
Despite facing such challenges in her personal life Shalinie is always smiling, always helping others.

Outstanding Contribution to Social Care

Isabel Melo – Mentaur Group


In 1988 Isabel co-founded Mentaur as a response to the ever-growing voice of people with a disability or mental disorder, demanding to be given the same rights and treatments as other people. Mentaur now has 10 residential units that share this vision by empowering vulnerable people to become more able and independent and two day resource centres that have pioneered a new concept of day services, mainly focused on improving people’s skills and autonomy. Seeking to provide clients and local authorities with various options and opportunities, Isabel co-founded  Mentaur Community Support (MCS) to give greater individual solutions and choice in housing and community integration to vulnerable people.


In a short period, the company has established itself as an able provider of home care and supported living services. Isabel values the role of research and innovation by participating in and organizing national and international conferences on the improvement of services; by adopting an international outlook which helps her to identify global research and best practice that can be applied within the services and by focusing on the role of research and development in creating and maintaining specialist services.  Most recently, both in the UK and abroad, Isabel has organized conferences on Dementia in Learning Disability; on  Growing Older with Autism, and on Personalisation.


Isabel is also involved in developing technology which blends cutting edge computer hardware with autism specific educational software and in the development of a Guide of Indicators of Quality of Life for people with Autism in the UK which is now available to help providers and commissioners audit the services that people with autism receive and help improve their life experiences.


Her achievements have been recognized twice by her homeland, Portugal. In June 2008 she was awarded a national recognition from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in 2012 Isabel was the first woman to ever win the Innovative Entrepreneurship Award in the Portuguese Diaspora and had her entrepreneurial merits publicly recognised by the Portuguese President. Recently, at their 5th annual gala in London, – a Portuguese publication in the UK “awarded Isabel the Business Project of the Year.


As part of the on-going actions to celebrate Mentaur’s 25th anniversary, Isabel launched a series of workshops, empowering staff to get involved and to develop their individual skills. The workshops aimed to cover a variety of themes within social care, ranging from management to frontline support. With her focus on personalisation, Isabel has developed, this year, another specialist service that introduces a novel and unique scheme enabling young people who are taking their first steps towards independent living to benefit from having a tenancy agreement coupled with 24 hours specialist support. In her own words: her passion, hard work and commitment in providing quality services for vulnerable people has brought her much more than she had ever anticipated when she first started.