Karen Leake, a laundry assistant at Pingley Court Care Home in Sheffield, has won a national social care hero award in recognition of her hard work.
The award, which is the first of its kind, has been made this week by Support Social Care Heroes (SSCH), which launched late last year.
The monthly award programme kicked off earlier this month this year to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the 1.54m people working in social care in the UK.
Karen, who was nominated for January 2022, is the first award winner. Karen’s colleague Dawn Martin nominated her for the award and said:
“Karen is always cracking jokes and makes life easier to bear, she is a great team player. Karen supports the whole team and I think she deserves a big thank you!
“I am over the moon that Karen won this. She is so deserving, through the pandemic, and since the day our home opened, Karen has been remarkable.”
Karen will receive a £50 voucher for the grocery store of her choice, a box of chocolates, certificate, a SSCH hoody and Pingley Court Care Home will receive a bunch of flowers. The prizes have been sponsored by VAT Solutions.
“It’s really nice to be recognised by my manager and Support Social Care Heroes, I want to say I am one of many caring hands at Pingley, and I am proud to be part of such an amazing team.”
The social care workforce is often overlooked yet they keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe and well. It is hoped that SSCH will receive significant support following research which found that the overwhelming majority of the public feel that social care staff are undervalued (81%) and underpaid (80%). The monthly care hero awards have been created to show that care workers are appreciated.
Nicola Richards, Founder of Support Social Care Heroes, explained the thinking behind the idea:
“Social care staff often do not get the recognition that they deserve despite being valued by their managers and employers.
“Many care homes already have ‘employee of the month’ schemes and we really felt we should do something to bring all these nominations together from around the country to celebrate all our social care heroes and the amazing work they do.
“The pandemic has brought social care colleagues across the country together as we have supported each other like never before. I hope these awards will provide a positive boost to carers, managers and the wider care home teams.
“These awards are the first step in our long-term plans to ensure those who need care, and those caring for them, are valued by all in society.
“Our country’s social care heroes have been on the front line and in the headlines for almost two years and this new initiative will help show them that they are valued and recognise the work they do.”
Social care employers are encouraged to nominate their staff for a care home hero award (employee of the month).
Taking part has been made simple and easy: post a photo of your employee of the month and which care home you represent, to social media, with the hashtag #SocialCareHeroAwards and say in 160 characters why the person is a social care hero.
All nominations will be curated by the Support Social Care Heroes team and on the last Monday of each month a winner will be chosen at random.
Anyone who wishes to donate to Support Social Care Heroes can do so by visiting: www.ssch.info.