A keen baker who brings Great British Bakeoff competitions to the Swansea care home she manages is in line for a top award at the prestigious Wales Care Awards.
Catrin Hooper reignited her own love of baking when she made a Swansea City Football Club cake for one of the residents at Sudbury House, in Ynystawe.
And she recently held a successful cookery competition for the residents there which culminated in a shared feast featuring everything from a simple trifle to a complex chicken dish.
Catrin, who became a support worker for Swanton Care and Community instead of going to university, has been the manager of Sudbury House since 2007.
The home, which provides care for adults with learning disabilities, is in the process of being de-registered to provide supported living tenancy for the benefit of the six residents aged from 29 to 41.
Catrin, 35, a mum-of-one, from Ty Croes, Ammanford, is employed by Swanton Care and Community. Swanton is a national provider of care services across England, Wales and Scotland.
She has been short-listed for leadership and management in residential or nursing care and will be among those attending a glittering event, organised by Care Forum Wales, at Cardiff City Hall on October 21, which celebrates and rewards those who have excelled in the care sector.
Catrin, who along with her husband, enjoys ballroom dancing, said they liked to give their residents every opportunity to integrate with the local community and she said: “Two of them do volunteer work at a rescue dog shelter which gives them a nice taste of responsibility.
“We’ve enrolled some of them in a cookery course at a local college and we’re keen to explore other opportunities in evening courses as well which could cover things like photography and cake decorating
“It’s about belonging to the local community and being properly included in it.
“I like baking and making cakes and got back into it when I made the football club one for one of the residents and I’ve even done a couple of wedding cakes since then and it’s nice to be able to do some baking with our service users here.
“It’s very gratifying when people are able to come together and do things like that and we like to support our residents in that way.”
Catrin likes to support residents to fulfil their dreams. This has included holidays as far afield as Florida and EuroDisney or, closer to home, to Tenby.
She said: “I have been trying to de-register the home to become a supported living setting which is really exciting for the people who live here. We will be working slightly differently and people will have security of tenancy.”
She and 15 colleagues look after six residents and Catrin said: “You couldn’t do it for 16 years if you didn’t love it.”
Jacqui Orrells, Swanton Regional Director, said: “Catrin has worked for the company for more than 16 years, starting as a support worker, and I have seen her develop and blossom into a mature, confident, knowledgeable and experienced manager.
“She believes passionately in the people she supports and she has mentored other managers within the region and is highly regarded by colleagues and external professionals.”
The annual Wales Care Awards showcase best practice in care across Wales and are an important part of raising the profile of care workers and educating the public about the vital work they do. They were first held in 2003.
They are run by Care Forum Wales which represents more than 450 care and nursing homes and other independent health and social care providers across Wales.
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim 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.”