Royal Star & Garter’s Solihull Home Manager has been made an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Cheryl Harbourne received the award in recognition of her Service to Veterans during Covid-19.
The registered nurse, who has worked in social care since 2006, said she was “astounded” by the honour, and praised the staff who work with her at the Tudor Coppice Home.
Royal Star & Garter is a charity which provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.
Since Cheryl joined as Home Manager in 2015, Royal Star & Garter in Solihull has received two Outstanding Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections – the second of which in 2020 placed it among the very best in the country after it earned the top rating across all five tested areas. The Home has also been acknowledged at the prestigious Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards, and has achieved Care England Teaching Care Home recognition. And it played a key role in Royal Star & Garter winning the Professional Excellence category in Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Hero Awards in May 2021.
Throughout the pandemic, Cheryl has demonstrated exceptional leadership. In March and April last year, she led 35 members of staff who volunteered for a two-week live-in at the Home, in a pre-emptive step to ensure all 60 residents stayed safe while infection rates soared in the local area. This was repeated with a further week later in the year. Along with her hugely proactive approach to infection control management, this meant no residents or staff were affected by Covid-19 until November 2020.
When the virus did enter the Home, Cheryl and her team redoubled their efforts to ensure that residents were protected, cared for and fully supported. One resident sadly died after contracting the virus, but Cheryl’s professionalism and commitment is credited with saving many lives.
She also enabled residents to ‘meet’ loved ones when visiting restrictions were in place, first by organising for families to drive by the Home, and later driving residents to relatives’ homes in a minibus for doorstep and driveway visits.
Cheryl said: “I am astounded, but delighted to receive this award for doing a job that I both love and feel very privileged to have. The residents are very precious to me, and I owe a huge thank you to the dedicated team at the Solihull Home, who support me to ensure the residents live their best lives with us. The pandemic has undoubtedly been my greatest professional challenge to date, but one of the positive outcomes has been how we have bonded even more as a family, in the absence of loved ones in all our lives throughout the lockdowns.”
Royal Star & Garter Chief Executive Andy Cole said: “Cheryl is a remarkable combination of leader and care expert, with passion and energy which she focusses to provide a truly wonderful experience for our residents. Her extraordinary efforts on behalf of our staff, residents and their families through the most challenging 15 months, as well as over the past five and a half years at the charity, make her a worthy and deserved recipient of this wonderful honour.”