Dedicated Hannah in running for social care Oscar

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A newly-qualified social worker who was inspired to make a difference after helping to care for her cousin has become the toast of the care industry – while still in her twenties.

Hannah Carpanini, who has worked for Monmouthshire County Council’s Adult Disability Service as a social worker for the past 16 months, has been shortlisted for the Exceptional Newcomer gong, sponsored by Coleg Cambria, in the Wales Care Awards 2019.

It is an impressive milestone for the 28-year-old who is still in her first professional role as a social worker since completing training.

Hannah, who lives in Griffithstown, Pontypool, and manages a respite facility for children with disabilities on her days off, will now attend a glittering awards ceremony at Cardiff City Hall on Friday, October 18, which will be hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV adverts.

The national awards are organised by care industry champions Care Forum Wales and acknowledge the exceptional work and dedication of those in the care sector.

Hannah said she was completely shocked to be nominated, and reach the shortlist, so soon into her career.

“It was a really new experience for me and I didn’t expect this outcome, I’m overwhelmed,” she said.

“I’m really driven to help people and that’s at the forefront of everything I do.

“What gives me the greatest sense of achievement is when you’re advocating so strongly for a person and that person goes on and achieves the outcome they want.”

Hannah, who lives at home with her two pet dogs, completed her secondary education at St Alban’s Roman Catholic High School in Pontypool before embarking on an under graduate course in Early Childhood Studies at Swansea University.

She was inspired to follow the path of social work after spending time with her cousin growing up who has a learning disability.

After her course, she took a year out and gained work experience at Dewstow Primary School in Caldicot, supporting children with disabilities and complex behavioural needs. She also began work with Action for Children on a children’s disabilities project working alongside social services before heading back to Cardiff to complete a masters in Social Work.

Her current role is as a social worker supporting people between the ages of 18 and 65 with physical and learning disabilities. The role involves going into a variety of settings including the home, community and residential homes and helping service users to lead as full a life as possible.

One of the highlights of her career so far is securing funding to enable two of the people she supports to embark on a college course in September.

“It’s extremely rewarding for me to give people the opportunity to do things that other people do,” said Hannah, who was nominated for her award by Claire Campbell, senior social work practitioner for Monmouthshire County Council.

“It’s a massive journey involving rigorous assessment processes and the challenge of gaining the finance. It will be so positive for me to see how these two individuals progress when they’re there.

“Social workers help to improve the quality of life for people. Not much is really understood about the relationships social workers build with the families they work with. Having a person-centred approach is paramount to our work.”

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.”