A dedicated care manager who believes her home should be part of the community has won a national award.
Shirley Morris won bronze at a glittering Oscars-style awards night in Cardiff City Hall, hosted by BBC presenter Lucy Owen, and organised by Care Forum Wales, to acknowledge and reward excellence in the care sector.
She achieved success in the leadership and management in residential or nursing care category, sponsored by Christie and Co, at the 2014 Wales Care Awards.
Shirley is manager of the Fairhaven Care Home in Ellesmere Road, Colwyn Bay, and her open door policy has created such a happy home environment that staff rarely ever leave – which provides great continuity for the residents.
It’s something which independent inspectors picked up on earlier this year when they found that residents thought the best thing about Fairhaven was the manager and the staff.
The company she works for, Liverpool-based Argyle Care Group, nominated Shirley.
Originally from Cheshire, Shirley has lived in North Wales for nearly 50 years and worked as a care assistant in a couple of local homes before she started working nights at Fairhaven 27 years ago, the last seven as its manager.
“I just thought caring was something I would be good at, and I really enjoy it,” said mother-of-three Shirley, who will attend the awards evening with daughter, Karen Richardson.
“The care sector has changed hugely over the years, Of course people are living longer, legislation changes all the time, and the residents have a lot more input into the running of the homes,” said Shirley who lives in Seaview Road, Colwyn Bay.
It’s something encouraged by Shirley, whose open door policy means her “office looks more like a lounge than an office with residents sitting there with cups of tea and toast or cake, sometimes with family joining them,” according to company boss Stephen Cole.
Shirley has encouraged children from Llandrillo Primary School to visit the home four or five times a month over the last 18 months.
One elderly resident, who died this year, was a very keen painter – in fact he claimed he had worked with the famous artist J S Lowry – so Shirley created space in his room to enable him to pursue his passion for art.
“I had no reason to doubt him and certainly his work looked like it had been influenced by Lowry. He carried on his painting and then developed an interest in photography,” she said.
Fairhaven Rest Home provides residential 24 hour care for people of 60 years and over, just a short walk from Colwyn Bay promenade, ranging from short stays and rehabilitation, to full time support.
Owners say the home is more of a hotel, but with constant care provided if and when required.
Owner and director Stephen Cole said: “Shirley is a ‘hands on’ manager who has dedicated 27 years to Fairhaven and the caring profession and leads her staff by example, promoting respect, dignity and wellbeing for her residents.
“It is plain to see Shirley loves the residents of Fairhaven; she is not just an office based manager, far from it.”
Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said there was a record number of nominations and the standard 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 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.”