A former outdoor adventure instructor now helping to inspire elderly people to fulfil their dreams is celebrating a new career peak with a place in the final of a national awards contest.
Lily Chapman, who works as Lifestyle Coordinator at Ty Enfys Care Home in Pentwyn, Cardiff, has been shortlisted for the Excellence in Dementia Care gong, 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, 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 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 to be in the final,” 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 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.”
Nominating Lily for her award, Barbara Wills, customer relations manager for Ty Enfys Care Home, said Lily had been instrumental to life at Ty Enfys in so many ways.