Caring Caren is Christmas cracker

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Cheerful carer Caren Jones has won an award for going the extra smile – and it’s made her even more determined to make people happy on Christmas Day.

The jolly 40-year-old will leave her home at Caer Saint, in Caernarfon, in time to be at Pendine Park’s Bryn Seoint Newydd care home for 7.30 on Christmas morning and she can’t wait.

The mum-of-one, a Clinical Care Practitioner, volunteered to be on duty on the big day for the 10th year on the turkey trot.

It comes as no surprise to her colleagues after Caren’s happy demeanour was recognised when she won Pendine Park’s Big Smile Award at Bryn Seiont.

She said: “I’m working Christmas Day, the same as I have for the 10 years I’ve been in the care sector, and I really enjoy it.

“My son, Ioan, spends the morning with his father and as long as he’s happy to do that then I’m happy to be in work and then to spend the afternoon with him.

“But these people we have here at Bryn Seiont Newydd, they need someone with them because it’s been very hard for them for the best part of a year with the pandemic and they need to see familiar faces.

“It’s good for them and it’s a pleasure for me seeing them smile.  We’re a cheerful bunch here and I’m a happy-go-lucky person and love singing and dancing so we have a lot of fun.

“We get them up for breakfast, help them on with their Christmas jumpers and to open their presents from their relatives.

“They all get a present from Pendine Park which we have bought and wrapped up for them and afterwards there’s Christmas paper everywhere.

“I really think it’s lovely being here with them on Christmas Day.  It’s a really happy atmosphere every day but especially at Christmas and I love singing and dancing around and seeing the residents smile.”

Caren began work in care because many of her family were involved in the sector and she had helped look after her grandfather but she said: “I didn’t think it would be for me so I was a bit nervous when I started but I’ve never looked back.

“I want to work in this industry for the rest of my life.  I enjoy looking after people and I go home with a smile on my face every day even if the work has been stressful as it can be sometimes.”

She does the medicines in the morning and spends time in the different wings of the home before joining the residents and staff for Christmas lunch at 12 noon.

Caren and her colleagues join in the fun and she enjoys a starter and a sing-song with the residents before finishing at 1.30pm when she goes home to spend the afternoon with Ioan, 13.

She added: “Ioan is quite happy for me to spend part of my day at work.  He likes the idea that I’m helping others enjoy Christmas.”

Bryn Seiont Newydd manager Sandra Evans said: “Caren’s the type of person that lights up a room. She’s like a bundle of happiness.

“She is one of the happiest people I know and is so humble. Caren is our very own Christmas cracker.”