A behavioural expert whose work inspires adults with learning disabilities to achieve their dreams has scooped a national award in the care industry Oscars.
Lisa Morgan, who has supported adults living with learning disabilities, autism and challenging behaviour for almost 30 years, has won a coveted gold award for the Promoting Fulfilled Lives category, sponsored by Boots Healthcare, in the Wales Care Awards 2019.
The 51-year-old, from Llandaff North, Cardiff, collected her award at a glittering ceremony at Cardiff City Hall, 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.
Lisa, who works as a Performance Coach and Behaviour Consultant on behalf of Dimensions Cymru, has been described by colleagues as a passionate care worker who has enriched and improved the quality of life of those she supports.
The award marks a double celebration for Lisa who was nominated for the Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) award in the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards earlier this year, in which she was a runner up.
Reacting to her win, Lisa said: “When the awards were announced I waited for my name to be called for the bronze – I was absolutely gobsmacked to win gold.
“I just stood there! You don’t realise how much these things affect you until you’re there. What really made it special for me is someone put it up on our Facebook page and all of our support workers and some of the service users were posting their congratulations. That just meant everything.
“It was a celebration of people’s achievements across all areas of the care sector covering everything from the very young through to the old from palliative care to dementia care. It celebrated people at all levels, there was recognition for everyone.”
Lisa achieved a certificate in social care at Bridgend College after initially leaving school and went on to become a nanny for 18 months. After this, she began working as a nursing assistant at Ely Hospital in Cardiff working with adults with learning disabilities which saw her complete training to become a registered learning disability nurse over the next three-and-a-half years on behalf of the former South Glamorgan Health Authority.
Her career then took her to the Opportunity Housing Trust where she studied for a masters degree in positive approaches to challenging behaviour at the University of Wales College of Medicine before transferring to Dimensions Cymru, where she has worked for the past 12 years.
Lisa, who was nominated for her award by Russ Kennedy, Managing Director of Dimensions Cymru, now supports some 100 people in Wales, across 26 services, and delivers specialist training to staff.
Russ said: “Lisa stands out as a person who radiates calmness and genuine warmth toward the people we support.
“Her colleagues consistently talk about how much they respect her values, her knowledge and her experience.
“She is key to helping Dimensions Cymru make life better for people with learning disabilities and autism.”
Lisa’s work involves assessing service users and working alongside care staff to develop behaviour support plans as well as introducing positive strategies to improve quality of life.
“For me it’s all about interacting with people. I really enjoy being around people and spending time with them,” she said.
“It’s seeing the small steps and realising a few months down the road where you are now.”
One of Lisa’s highlights has been seeing the development of her service users including a woman who suffers with obsessive behaviour and self-injury who now enjoys hiking and has embarked on music classes.
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.”