Honours for West Norfolk’s unsung heroes at the Norfolk Care Awards

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There were tears of joy and celebration when Norfolk’s unsung care heroes were honoured at an inaugural awards ceremony.

The first-ever Norfolk Care Awards showcased quality care and support services throughout the county when a glittering awards ceremony was held at Dunston Hall in Norwich on Thursday.

'Extra Hands' event - I Care Ambassadors Week. From left:  Anita Walter (MD) and Diane Dorr (right) with awards.

'Extra Hands' event - I Care Ambassadors Week. From left: Anita Walter (MD) and Diane Dorr (right) with awards.

Hundreds and hundreds of hardworking individuals and teams were nominated across nine award categories, with just three in each category being shortlisted for the final.

The categories were excellent person centred care and support, team award, delivering excellence through learning and development, innovative dementia friendly environment, bringing people together through activities, motivational leadership, promoting dignity and respect in every day life, effective coordination of end of life care and outstanding achievement.

One of the care providers celebrating huge success on the night was Heacham-based Extra Hands Home Care, which was nominated in three categories.

Not only did its managing director Anita Walker win the motivational leadership award, but the firm was also highly commended in the delivering excellence through learning and development category and director Hazel Evans was highly commended in the outstanding achievement category.

Mrs Walker said: “I am thrilled and honoured to accept the award on behalf of Extra Hands and to recognise the excellent commitment and dedication of all the staff of which I am very proud to lead.

“We are at the forefront of providing quality care within the community and this award is recognition for our continued hard work and development.”

Director Zoe Back added: “It really was a wonderful evening in a fantastic setting with many of Norfolk’s key and influential figures in social care in attendance. Norman Lamb MP, who presented one of the awards, recognised what a great achievement it was to get as far as the shortlist, stating that everyone was a winner.”

Also celebrating was Angela Rankin, activities coordinator at Holmwood House Care Centre in Swaffham, who beat off stiff competition to win the bringing people together through activities category.

She said: “It’s absolutely fantastic and a great achievement for everyone at the home.

“I still can’t get over it. I didn’t expect to win as everyone in the care community is worth their weight in gold and do a brilliant job, so I was delighted. It’s such a rewarding job and I absolutely love it.”

Mrs Rankin joined Holmwood as a carer more than ten years ago but after suffering from breast cancer she was unable to return to the role, and became the home’s activities coordinator.

“You can carry on after something like that affects you, “ she said. “The manager and administration have supported me and what I have wanted to do at the home brilliantly.”

Mrs Rankin is not only responsible for delivering activities at the home, such as shopping trips, outings to shows, days at the seaside, cooking and dressing up, but she also raises money for residents and charities by organising coffee mornings and fetes.