Raising a toast to Leighton at awards ceremony

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A DEDICATED care home worker who created a bar at the nursing home where he works is savouring success after scooping a prestigious national accolade.

Leighton Griffiths, 30, was all smiles as he received a silver award in this year’s Wales Care Awards, run by Care Forum Wales.

The gong recognises the impact Leighton has made since he began working as a facilities assistant at Capel Grange Community Nursing Home in 2011.

Leighton, of St Julians, Newport, has become a familiar and friendly face at the home, earning respect from staff and colleagues alike for his willingness to go the extra mile.

This has included creating a popular bar area at the home and accompanying residents on days out.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed, as he was presented with his award in the Commitment to Quality in Hospitality category at a glitzy ceremony in Cardiff.

“I just want to make it a better experience for the residents,” said Leighton, who is married to Jenne.

“My day job at the home is the maintenance, but I want to do as much as I can for the people that are there.”

Leighton was nominated for his award, jointly sponsored by Hoop Recruitment and Power Direct Ltd, by home manager Edgar Bautista.

The ceremony took place at City Hall, Cardiff, on Friday, October 18. It was hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.

Leighton discovered he had secured the silver award when it was announced by Hywel Roberts, director of Hoop Nursing.

The award was presented by Anne Williams, managing director of Power Direct Ltd.

During the past eight years, Leighton has built a strong rapport with residents at the home.

This has personal significance for him as his grandmother, Thelma Hackwood, spent the final two years of her life there while suffering dementia.

“That inspired me to help everybody,” said Leighton, who worked at the home at the time.

“It was an eye-opener. I want to make the home an extremely welcoming place.

“I don’t want it to feel clinicalised.”

Leighton has provided the personal touch at the home, run by the Linc-Cymru Housing Association.

This includes devising a bar area, where home members can sit down with loved ones and enjoy a drink out of the fridge.

“It catches everyone’s eye when they come to the home,” said Leighton.

“It seems to appeal to everyone. We use it to celebrate birthdays or when there is sport on the TV, with the men’s club regularly using it.”

Leighton is part of a team which arranges a party each month for the residents who have recently had a birthday.

Activities are also arranged on special occasions such as Remembrance Sunday.

Leighton continued: “I’d never been in the care home environment before I started working here, but I fell in love with the place.

“Every day is that little bit different and I still really enjoy it now. I know other people may not enjoy what they do for a living, so I feel very lucky.”

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.”