Care UK homes have won two categories in the country’s longest established annual care awards and reached the finals in three other categories.
At Appleby House, in Epsom, Zoe Couchman is celebrating her victory after being named National Care Awards Care Apprentice of the Year.
Zoe, who decided she wanted to work in the sector after helping her family care for her grandmother said: “I was amazed when they called my name, I could not believe it! I love my job and this has just made the perfect end to a wonderful year of learning and gaining lots of invaluable experience.”
When Zoe began work at the home she was extremely shy and lacked confidence, due to her severe dyslexia and anxiety.
Through the help and support of team members and residents, her friendliness and enthusiasm for the job now lights up the home.
Speaking after the event hosted by Caring Times, Zoe said: “I would like to thank the team and the residents for the trust and confidence they have shown in me. It has enabled me to develop so much and now I’m considering training to be a nurse, which is not something I would have ever thought possible a year ago.”
The second award of the night was won by Kim Oliver. Kim was named Housekeeper of the Year for her work at Ferndown Manor. Judges were impressed with how she goes out of her way to chat and engage with residents. They were particularly touched by the way she regularly supports a blind resident around the garden, describing in detail the colours of the flowers and the insects she can see.
Care UK’s Regional Director Victoria O’Hara said: “I was not surprised Kim won, her dedication shines through. She came from a hotel background, which gives her an excellent approach to providing faultless service, but she also understands that this isn’t just a care home, it’s the residents’ home. She fully embraces that, and we are always receiving feedback about her dedication to the job and to the residents.”
Other Care UK finalists included the team at Manor Lodge, in Colchester, who reached the finals in the Dignity and Respect Care Home of the Year category; Laxmi Bankar, clinical lead at Jubilee House in Godalming, who reached the finals in the Care Registered Nurse category and Lauder Lodge’s Edinburgh head chef Graham Watson, who reached the finals in the Care Chef of the Year category.