Caring ex-builder strikes gold

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A FORMER builder is laying the foundations for a strong future in the care industry after striking gold at the Welsh social care ‘Oscars’.

Wayne Barry, who works as a maintenance assistant at Ysguborwen Care Home in Aberdare, has hailed the team effort which led to him winning a gold award in this year’s prestigious Wales Care Awards, run by Care Forum Wales.

The father-of-two was stunned when his name was read out at the ceremony at City Hall, Cardiff, as he claimed the top honour in the Commitment to Quality in Hospitality Award, jointly sponsored by Hoop Recruitment and Power Direct Ltd.

“I never thought I would win the gold award,” said Wayne, of Penywaun, Aberdare.

“I was delighted to know I would be getting any award and would have been very happy if it had been a silver or bronze.

“I had no idea it would be gold until they announced my name. It really was a surprise.”

Wayne modestly believes the credit for his success should be given to colleagues rather than himself.

“I am very honoured to have won. But I feel this award should be about the home rather than me,” said Wayne, 38.

“I think there are a lot of other people at the home who deserve this more than I do.

“I have great respect for the work the carers do.”

Wayne attended the ceremony with his partner, Amanda Jones.

The event was hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV adverts.

Wayne discovered he had won gold when Hywel Roberts, director of Hoop Nursing, made the announcement.

He received his award from Anne Williams, managing director of Power Direct Ltd.

“The ceremony was a bit of an eye-opener. There were people there from so many different backgrounds and not just care homes,” said Wayne.

“It was a pleasure to meet so many different people. Wynne Evans was very funny and it was a cracking evening.”

Wayne took his award home to show his delighted daughter Enya, 12, and son Finley, nine.

He now plans for it to be housed in the care home, run by Osborne Care Homes.

The award illustrates the impact Wayne has made in a short period of time, given he had not worked in the care industry before October 2016.

The former self-employed builder seized the chance to begin working at the home when a role became available, putting his practical skills to good use as a maintenance assistant.

As well as performing vital maintenance work every day and helping improve the home’s facilities, Wayne has built a positive reputation for providing welcome cheer for residents, visitors and fellow staff.

Wayne has regularly been willing to return after his work hours to help residents, such as by installing a TV aerial for a man who was confined to their bed and assisting staff with medication supplies.

His commitment to the cause led to him being nominated for the award by home manager Debbie Strong, who hailed him as a “super role model”.

He then made the final shortlist, earning Wayne his trip to Cardiff for the ceremony on Friday, October 18.

Wayne says the award will not change him, as he plans to continue performing the same important work on behalf of the residents.

“I’m happy to do anything to help everyone out,” he said. “I really enjoy it at the home.

“I just want to keep on doing everything I can at the home to help the residents.”

Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries in this year’s Wales Care Awards was extremely high.

He added: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights and in the months and years to come.

“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.

“We take our hats off to them.”