Care HomesNews

The Carer’s Newest Unsung Hero Is…

…Helen Miller, activities coordinator at Beechwood Care Home in Wishaw in Scotland

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Helen (pictured above) activities coordinator at Beechwood care home in Wishaw Lanarkshire Scotland, is THE CARER Unsung Hero!

Regular readers will know that we run a twice yearly “unsung hero” award the prize being a luxury 2-night break for 2 people in a choice of over 300 hotels in the United Kingdom (but since we started the choice of hotels has now extended into Europe)!

However, given the monumental efforts staff from all departments within the residential and nursing care sector during this current pandemic we decided to add on an extra award!

We were absolutely thrilled with the number of nominations and absolute heart-warming stories we received of staff going above and beyond what is expected in the most difficult of circumstances. We all here at THE CARER are extremely humbled.

It was once again a very difficult task for the team here at The Carer to pick a winner, the crisis has really shown that an industry often taken for granted can be called upon at a time of national crisis, and we will strongly be lobbying for the government to recognise and reward the sector.

We were overwhelmed with the response to this latest and impromptu Unsung Hero competition – an accolade we have been delighted and proud to award these past few years.

Our award is a simple no-frills, glitz or glamour award, just a small gesture on our part, recognising the hard work, compassion, commitment and dedication those working in the industry possess!

So, once again we here at The Carer are delighted to announce that Helen Miller, activities coordinator at Beechwood Care Home in Wishaw Lanarkshire in Scotland, is our winner!

Spokesperson Jenni Mack at Holmes Care Group which has 13 residential and nursing care homes around the UK said: “Helen is an Activities Coordinator at Beechwood and has always been at the centre of everything going on there. She connects with residents on an individual basis and matches activities to them in a truly person centred way.”

“She is also the bus driver and planner whenever trips are organised. Lockdown has sadly meant that she couldn’t take residents out anywhere but this didn’t stop Helen from getting her residents on trips. Helen went virtual and has since taken her residents on virtual tours in their lounge to Wimbledon, Phantom of the Opera in London, America, Largs (a small seaside town in Scotland where many residents visited as children for holidays), Dublin and many more….. Each virtual tour includes music, songs, snacks, drinks and dressing up from each place they visit.

She added “Residents have responded wonderfully to this and their family members delighted to see such fun going on to keep their loved ones busy while they can’t get in to visit. Helen does this over and above her everyday activities and keeps the wellbeing of residents at the heart of everything she does. From creating seat head rests for authentic tour bus/aeroplane feel, to costumes, props and cakes, and of course always willing to look silly to raise smiles and laughs.”

“Helen is an unsung hero and we are delighted to see her rewarded for her great ideas, kindness, dedication and skills as a bringer of joy”!

Worthy winner Helen can now look forward to a wonderful two-night break for two in a selection of luxury hotels throughout the UK!

We started the award back in 2015 we just had one outright winner, however as it became more difficult to pick an overall winner we added to runner-up prizes and we are delighted to say that Isabel Ngwenya, a senior support worker at the Shine group, and Brian Thornton, who is maintenance officer at Maidstone Care Centre in Kent, or our to “official” runners-up and £50 Marks & Spencer’s gift voucher is on its way to them both.

Since picking winners and runners-up was the most difficult of tasks, after sitting round the table finding it virtually impossible, we decided to add an extra 5 “unofficial runner ups”!

Just a small gesture on our part to show some appreciation not only to the nominees but to those people who took the time to nominate them.

We are very proud to be involved in such a vital and dedicated industry and are 5 unofficial runner ups were:

Adam- a kitchen assistant Woodfield Court care home in Suffolk

Lindsey Milliken-a clinical lead at Edensor Care Centre in Essex

Paul Davidson-maintenance man at Norlington Care and Nursing Home in Dorset

Tim Emburey-team leader and trainer at Chestnut View Care Home in Surrey

Lewis Davies- Wellbeing Assistant at Ruddington Manor, Wilford in Nottingham

A £25 Marks & Spencer’s gift voucher is on its way to each

Well done to you all!!!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who put forward nominations we had a wonderful response, it may sound tired old cliché but it is not meant to be, when we say, that in our eyes “every nomination was a winner” and we are just sorry we cannot give an award to everybody!

Watch out for further details of our next “Unsung Hero” with the same great prize of a luxury break for two people in the choice of hotels throughout the UK!