James Clear, Care UK’s hotel services manager, was named Catering Manager of the Year at the annual National Association of Care Catering (NACC) awards on Thursday 6 October.
James, who advises Care UK’s homes across the south of England, including East Anglia and Essex, was praised by judges for his leadership. They described him as an invaluable source of inspiration who constantly ensures that vulnerable and older people have an exceptional catering experience.
James, who lives in Ipswich, said: “I was amazed when my name was announced and very honoured. I see this award as an acknowledgement of our team’s hard work, enthusiasm and skill.
“Care UK has done a great deal to raise catering standards and increase the public’s awareness of the importance of hydration and nutritional balance for older people through its seminars, campaigns and books.”
James, who has more than 20 years’ experience with his own catering company and as a head chef in pubs and hotels in Suffolk, said: “Care catering is the most rewarding sector of catering I have worked in. Residents are at the heart of all we do. We work with them, their families, their GPs and our own medical teams to ensure they have the food and drink they love in a way that supports their health and wellbeing.”
Jon Bicknell, Care UK’s food and services director, said: “We are all very proud of James’ achievement. He and his team work tirelessly to ensure residents receive only the very best food.
“We have invested heavily in training courses for our chefs and we work hard to source the best fresh food for our 113 homes. I’m particularly proud of the work James and his team do delivering free public seminars to help people caring for older loved ones to create tasty, suitable and nutritious meals.
“We know, from the feedback we receive from those attending the sessions, that they really value the advice and support that will increase their loved ones’ health and enjoyment of food.”
Jon and James have been at the forefront of a new initiative in Care UK – dining with dignity – which has significantly improved the way that the organisation provides meals and refreshments to the people living in its homes. They looked at a range of considerations including crockery, cutlery and much improved meals for people living with dysphagia.