The hard work and dedication of staff and volunteers from across Bury’s care and support services were recognised last Thursday at the first annual PersonAwards.
The awards were organised by Persona which delivers a range of social care support options for over 1,000 adults and older people across the town. The night marked the first anniversary of the company’s creation, after it began delivering services previously run by Bury Council in October 2015.
An independent company wholly owned by the council, Persona runs 14 centres across the town, including three residential short stay centres and a number of day services and community venues. It also delivers care and support for people in their own homes.
Persona’s employees and volunteers, who support young people with additional needs, people with learning disabilities, people with physical disabilities, older people, people living with dementia and people with autism, were recognised with awards across nine different categories.
Nominations flooded in during the months leading up to the ceremony and there was high praise for the unswerving dedication of staff and the continuity and ongoing improvements in services following the transition from the council.
The husband of one customer wrote: “All the staff are very kind, caring, professional and thoughtful. The break I get from my caring role is invaluable.”
Another added: “My wife is known by every member of staff. They use her name and look after her very well. While she is at Pinfold I attend Bury College to gain housekeeping knowledge that my wife has forgotten which helps keep our home as she would wish to – without Pinfold’s help this would not be possible.”
Cllr Rishi Shori, Leader of Bury Council said: “I’ve been closely involved in the development of Persona and it’s wonderful to see the progress it has made since it ‘stepped away’ from the council last year. The positive feedback and enthusiasm captured in the nominations at this year’s PersonAwards show that the transition has been managed fantastically well and I look forward to seeing what the future will hold for this innovative company.”
22-year-old Maria Hughes was crowned Young Carer of the Year. She joined Persona last October and received particular praise for the dedication she has shown to her role. Maria, who was unable to swim, paid for swimming lessons which she attended outside work hours, so that she was able to accompany a customer when they went swimming at the local leisure centre.
Meanwhile, a 38-strong team at Spurr House, a short stay centre, received the Dignity Award, which recognised their dedication to maintaining the personal dignity and independence of their visitors.
One customer praised the care their mother received there: “They are all stars in my opinion and I don’t know what we would do without them. Staff at Spurr House have always treated her with respect and patience.”
Kat Sowden, Managing Director at Persona said: “The sheer volume of nominations we received was genuinely overwhelming. Each one was heart felt and each one told a story of the amazing difference care and support workers can make to someone’s life. Careers in care and support can be challenging at times but they are also incredibly rewarding. The first PersonAwards is our way of recognising excellence and celebrating it.”
The 2016 PersonAward winners were:
• Volunteer of the Year – Graham Peters
• Young Carer of the Year – Maria Hughes
• Employee of the Year – Lorraine Higham
• Team of the Year – The Victoria Centre
• The Dignity Award – Spurr House Short Stay
• The Innovation Award – Stella Parker, Michelle Walsh and Paula Lythgoe
• Manager of the Year – Anna Craig
• Making a Difference to Customers Award – Partnership of Ramsbottom Day Service and Positive Lives Team who supported a specific gentleman
• Learner of the Year – Debbie Riley
The ceremony was held on 6 October 2016 in the Elizabethan Suite at Bury Town Hall.