A care worker with a career spanning 25 years in care, triumphed at the East Regional Great British Care Award ceremony in July 2021.
Julie Monaghan, the scheme manager for Willow House, a care and supported housing service for people with learning disabilities, operated by Hightown Housing Association, won the Housing with Care award for her person-centred approach demonstrated over the last year.
Julie has worked at Hightown since 2001 and has been at Willow House since February 2020. Julie and her staff provide care to people over 50 with learning disabilities and physical mobility issues, helping them maintain their independence and lead fulfilling lives.
As a scheme manager, Julie is passionate about empowering residents to live their life as independently and as fully as possible, building on their daily living skills. Julie enjoys supporting residents to accomplish their goals and aspirations and interacting with residents, as well as being their voice in times when they are not being heard. To help residents achieve their goals, Julie and her team have been using Hightown’s new innovative ‘growth model’. This model enables staff to work with residents to set and track progress against their goals using the ‘Growth Tree’ – a visual representation of where they started, where they have grown and where they are growing to in key areas such as physical health, mental health and living skills.
Julie makes it her mission to always provide the highest quality of care to residents. Her person-centred approach has been very evident throughout the pandemic, where she has supported residents through some of the most difficult times, including John, who sadly lost his sister Sylvia during lockdown.
After discovering that due to the Covid-19 restrictions there would be a cremation with no family or friends in attendance, which would have devastated John, Julie stepped in to advocate, to explain John’s situation.
Thanks to Julie’s intervention, John was able to give his sister the send-off he had imagined, including laying a white carnation on her coffin and acting as a pallbearer. By putting John’s needs first, Julie has helped him cope with loss and grief. This approach led her to win the prestigious Great British Care Award.
Overwhelmed by her win, Julie said: “I was genuinely surprised to have won the Housing with Care award but was delighted to have been recognised for my work, which I absolutely love. It’s wonderful working in care as it’s such a rewarding job seeing the strides and achievements the residents make with our structured support and their determination. It makes me feel proud of the work we do.”
Since joining Willow House, Julie has had a huge impact on staff, residents and their families. Firstly, she recruited a committed and dedicated team whose values align with Hightown’s. Her ethos is to always work in a person-centred way, to listen and be proactive, taking into consideration the residents’ choices, wishes, goals and aspirations, and made it possible for staff to challenge professionals, to be inquisitive and to show courage to challenge the status quo.
Alyson, Head of Care and Supported Housing in Berkshire, said: “I am proud of Julie’s wonderful accomplishment, she has shown exceptional leadership, true grit, resilience and commitment to the people we support and her team through the most challenging of times. Julie is one of many inspirational Hightown heroes that espouses dignified personalised care and support at the heart of all we do.”