A former outdoor adventure instructor now helping to inspire elderly people to fulfil their dreams is celebrating a top place finish in the final of a national awards contest.
Lily Chapman, who works as Lifestyle Coordinator at Ty Enfys Care Home in Pentwyn, Cardiff, won a coveted silver award in the Excellence in Dementia Care category, sponsored by All Care South Wales & College Fields Nursing Home, at this year’s Wales Care Awards.
Now in their 16th year, 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.
Lily, 29, who marries her fiancé Jonathan Davies, 30, with whom she met on an archaeological dig, next year, received her award during a glittering awards ceremony at Cardiff City Hall, which was hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV adverts.
The former high ropes and Segway instructor, who previously worked at Mountain View Ranch in Heol-Pen-Y-Bryn, Caerphilly, helping young people and families to push the boundaries of their capabilities, said she is driven by a desire to help people and believes no obstacle is too great to stop people at any age achieving their ambitions.
“I feel really privileged and am really quite chuffed,” said Lily, who lives in Coity, Bridgend.
“It’s always nice to be recognised. I have a great team around me and I feel honoured to be nominated and to have reached the final.
“My grandad had dementia but what drives me most is knowing that potentially close members of my family may suffer with this horrible disease. I want to make sure the care they would receive is as good as it should be. It could be my mum or my nan and I want to make life better now.”
Lily studied archaeology at Cardiff University, specialising in Egyptology, before completing a masters in journalism, media and communications.
Upon leaving university, she undertook a seven-month graduate placement with Newydd Housing Association, helping vulnerable people in sheltered accommodation to access community services and increase their confidence and social network.
“The time I spent at the housing association helped me realise my passion which was helping people in different types of predicaments,” she said.
“My family all work for the NHS in some way. I suppose it has instilled in me a desire to help others. My mum, Lesley, works for the NHS in an administrative capacity and I always remember her helping the elderly in her community and elderly neighbours with shopping and groceries on a voluntary basis as I was growing up.
“This is definitely the field that suits me the most. It’s very rewarding. We have a can-do attitude within the home and a positive risk-taking approach. If it’s safe, then why does everything have to stop because you care into a care home?”
Lily, who was originally born in London and travelled with her parents around the US before settling in Engollen, Cornwall, arrived at Ty Enfys Care Home in 2014 following a period of work at Mountain View Ranch.
In her role as Lifestyle Coordinator, Lily designs and delivers the activities programme in the home’s 40-bed dementia unit and helps to create an environment where residents feel supported and encouraged.
One of the highlights of her work was arranging for a resident to fulfil her dream of travelling in a limousine which included a glamourous make-over and a trip to the seaside in Penarth for an ice-cream.
“She absolutely loved it and had a great time,” she said.
“I’m very passionate about changing the perception of care homes. It’s very difficult for families to see their loved ones moving into a care home but for us it’s another new experience and creating opportunities to try new things.”
Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries 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.”