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Industry Stalwart Receives MBE Before Fulfilling Remaining Ambition of Commissioning a New Care Home

A true stalwart of the social care industry has received an MBE for her services to care during the COVID-19 pandemic — which saw her look after military veterans and their partners in a creative and compassionate way.

Cheryl Harbourne MBE recently visited Windsor Castle where she received her award from Charles, the Prince of Wales. Her rich career in the industry was rightly celebrated, yet she still had one remaining ambition of commissioning a brand new care home — something she is set to achieve in the coming months.

Cheryl qualified as a nurse in 1986, where she then went on to work as a staff nurse and eventually a ward sister in both the NHS and private healthcare. She then moved into social care in 2005, starting out as a deputy manager before becoming a home manager in 2006.

Throughout her career, Cheryl has remained committed to providing the very best in person-centred care, with the hardships of the pandemic calling upon her extensive experience and encouraging an exceptional approach to care that ultimately led to the recent accolade.

Cheryl is now part of the Macc Care group and is the commissioning manager at Blythe Rose, a state-of-the-art dementia home in Blythe Valley Park, which is soon to offer residents an inclusive care culture – being designed to illuminate their independence within a purpose-built and friendly environment.

Commenting on her recent achievement, Cheryl said: “I was incredibly proud and honoured to have been recognised in this way. It was a complete shock! I was awarded the MBE for service to veterans during the Covid-19 pandemic. My previous home was for veterans and partners, where we found innovative ways to keep our residents safe whilst maintaining contact with their loved ones. I received a phone call from the cabinet office in April 2021 to inform me of my award, and had to keep it secret until the Queen’s Birthday in June. Due to the pandemic, the ceremony was postponed until the end of March this year but the day was just as special.”

When asked about her new role as commissioning manager at Blythe Rose, Cheryl commented: “It is the one thing I have never done before in my career and I felt ready for a new challenge. I am very excited about the opening of Blythe Rose. The home is going to be unique and the team I have put together is going to be fantastic. We all share the same vision for providing exceptional standards of care and a life full of meaning for the residents we are going to care for. We can’t wait to meet them all.”

Cheryl is a shining example of how rewarding a career in social care can be and when asked what she would say to anyone considering entering the sector, she said: “Do it! There is never a dull moment. Every day is an opportunity to learn, connect with people and go home with a feeling of pride.”

Sharen Guise, Operations Director at Macc Care, commented: “We are delighted to have Cheryl as commissioning manager at Blythe Rose. She is a real inspiration to the industry and her recent MBE is truly deserved. We look forward to seeing what she can achieve there and with a talented team around her, we have no doubt her first home commissioning will be a real success.”