A man from Gwynedd who decided to switch to a career in caring after visiting a Dolgellau residential home to do some building work and eventually rising to become its manager, has won a gold award at the 2016 Wales Care Awards for ‘Excellence in Learning Disability and Mental Health’.
Andrew Papirynk, 30, visited Cerrig Camu in Dolgellau in the winter of 2004 to carry out some labouring work for the firm he was with at the time.
He quickly struck up a rapport with some of its residents and immediately opted to make caring his profession.
Nine years later Andy was appointed as Cerrig Camu’s registered manager and has been commended for the way he runs the service, and credited for helping integrate clients with learning disabilities and mental health needs into the community.
The judges said it was Andy’s ‘dedicated approach to his caring role’ which put him ahead of the competition.
Meanwhile an ‘imaginative approach to care’ has enabled his colleague Gwenda Potter, 37, from Anglesey, to secure a bronze Wales Care Award in the category of ‘Leadership and Management in Residential or Nursing Care.’
Farmer’s daughter Gwenda Potter was brought up next door to Beudygwyn Farm at Carreglefn, near Amlwch, which she now manages, and recalls the residents visiting her home.
That inspired her to go into the care profession six years ago and to involve the 12 residents of Beudygwyn Farm in the day-to-day work on the farm.
The eight-acre smallholding can accommodate up to 14 people and Gwenda, who has a partner and three children, still lives next door and is Welsh-speaking which is often useful as most of the residents are from North Wales.
Other family members had worked at Beudygwyn and Gwenda started there in 2010 as a support worker and trained to become a senior social worker and then deputy manager before taking over.
Mario Kreft MBE, Chairman of Care Forum Wales, said: “The aim of the Wales Care Awards 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.”
Cerrig Camu and Beudygwyn Farm are both run by Regard, the UK’s fourth largest private organisation which provides supported living and residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury.
Regard is one of just four of the 17,000 care organisations in the country to have achieved the Gold Standard from Investors in People which – to quote the head of the accrediting body – acknowledges Regard’s “great people management practice, and commitment to being the very best it can be.”