Caring Ashden in line for top award after going extra mile

Wales Care Awards nominee Ashden Prance-Bowen at Shire Hall Care Home, Cardiff with resident Phyllis Edgeworth

Ever since she was a young girl Ashden Prance-Bowen seemed destined for a career in the care sector – and is now proving to be a “natural” at the job.

So much, in fact, that only 18 months after taking the first steps towards fulfilling her ambition the 21-year-old is in line for a prestigious award after receiving glowing testimonials from colleagues and others who have seen her at work.

Ashden, who is a care assistant at Shire Hall Care Home in Dumballs Road, Cardiff, has been shortlisted in the category for “Exceptional Newcomer” in this year’s Wales Care Awards.

Wales Care Awards nominee Ashden Prance-Bowen at Shire Hall Care Home, Cardiff with resident Phyllis Edgeworth

The awards are organized by Care Forum Wales to recognize and reward exceptional work and the ceremony will be held at City Hall, Cardiff, on November 19. It will be hosted by singer and Radio Wales presenter Wynne Evans, popularly known as Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV adverts.

Ashden was nominated by the home’s General Manager Karen Grapes, who said that in a very short time she had matured into an excellent care assistant, attracting praise from relatives of several of the 30 residents in her care.

Karen said: “One daughter wrote ‘Ashden has made my mother very comfortable in the home and will go the extra mile to help her and us as a family’, while another wrote “she always seems to find a way to make my Nan laugh’.”

Ashden also recorded a “first” for Shire Hall in the form of an e-mail from a paramedic who met her when he was called to the home to take a resident to hospital. He said he had seen at first-hand the exceptional care she provided.

“She was fantastic, constantly by the lady’s side, reassuring and comforting her and treating her like a family member. It was amazing to see,” he said.

Ashden, who lives in Llandaff North, said it had always been her ambition to work with vulnerable adults, especially as her great-grandparents had both suffered from dementia.

“The care they received was fantastic and I knew I wanted to do that,” she said. “My family says that when I was small and went to parties where there were disabled children I always ended up playing with them.”

Before joining Shire Hall she was employed as a school escort for disabled children, which again fuelled her interest in the work.

“I just love what I am doing and the residents in our community,” she said.

Ashden hopes to go to university to qualify as a mental health nurse and is currently working towards her NVQ Level 2, despite a setback which meant her having to repeat all the work lost when it was deleted on her computer.

Because of that her spare time is very limited at present, but when the opportunity arises she relaxes by socializing with friends and  family.

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.

He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.

“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.

“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.

“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.

“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.

“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”