The manager at a care home unit named after one of Wales’s most famous actors has turned in an award-winning performance.
Ann Ridgway, 52, team leader at the Llys-y-Seren Home in Moor Road in Port Talbot, was among the recipients at this year’s Wales Care Awards ceremony held at City Hall, Cardiff.
The awards, known as the social care Oscars, are organised by Care Forum Wales to recognise outstanding work in the care sector and Ann won a bronze award in the category for Residential Care Practitioner, sponsored by Christie and Co.
Compere for the evening was famous tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ad.
Ann is team leader of the Burton Unit at Llys-y-Seren, which is named after the acclaimed Welsh Hollywood actor and “local boy” Richard Burton. It has 10 residents, some of whom are physically disabled.
In addition to her managerial duties she enjoys helping the service users to grow their own fruit and vegetables including tomatoes, strawberries, chillies in the home’s garden. They then have the added satisfaction of eating their own produce.
Ann, a mother to two and grandmother to four, said: “I find it really, really rewarding to help people enjoy themselves towards the end of their lives.
“When some come into the home they think it everything is virtually over but for some it is just beginning, and it’s lovely to be able to make them happy.”
Ann can also turn her hand to woodworking, and her helpful husband Jeffrey provides the basic materials for her and the residents to make items such as bird boxes, fairy houses and Christmas logs.
She works closely with family members in preparing care plans and also maintains close links with the local community.
Ann, who lives in Cwmafon, was nominated by the home’s manager Karen Rogers.
She said Ann set an example to all members of staff by providing the best possible care while promoting their rights and had done “outstanding work in supporting the organisation to provide an environment where individuals are able to live their lives to the full in a comfortable and pleasant setting”.
Karen added: “She is a good advocate for residents and supports other care staff to understand residents’ care plans and outcomes,” she said. “She has extremely high standards and you will always see her cleaning as well as caring.”
Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries 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 and 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.”