A keen football fan has transformed the life of a youngster in his care after sharing his love of the game.

As a result Daniel Squire has been shortlisted for one of this year’s Wales Care Awards, organised by Care Forum Wales to recognise outstanding work in the care sector.

The awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony at City Hall, Cardiff, on October 18, and Daniel, 33, has been nominated in the category for residential care practitioners. Compere for the evening will be tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV ad.

Daniel, who lives in Wrexham, is a team leader with Branas Isaf, which is part of the CareTech group which provides care and support for children and young adults.

He works at Dewis, one of the organisation’s homes in Bala, which accommodates fou r lads aged 15-17 with challenging behaviour.

He has worked in the care sector for seven years, five of them with Wrexham County Borough Council’s social services department where he cared for children with complex problems.

He joined Branas Isaf in 2018 and took to the job immediately, impressing his superiors and, more importantly, making an impact on the lives of the youngsters.

Daniel was nominated for the award by Laura Hughes, a home manager with Branas, who said that in the short time he had been there his support and commitment for her had been invaluable. He has also helped to implement new systems for administrative tasks, assisted in reshuffling staff to better meet the needs of the young people and encouraged those around him.

“His work is to a high standard and he takes absolute pride in empowering the young people to achieve positive outcomes,” she said. “This is always evident in his interaction with the staff team, he offers sound and clear advice, provides good quality task-focused supervisions and has been an absolute asset to the team.”

One of the Dewis residents who had difficulty in social interaction was felt to need a boost to his self-confidence and the only thing which sparked his interest was football.

Daniel managed to find a local inclusion team which catered for young men of his age and needs and arranged for him to attend a training sessions. After a nervous start he soon settled down and has not missed a since. He has also played in tournaments, made a number of friends and plans to travel to other parts of the country to play.

“The change in his demeanour and confidence has been plain to see,” said Laura.

A father-of-two, Daniel has long been a football fan and both he and his younger son Hari, aged five, are season ticket holders at The Racecourse.

With Daniel’s help another young person with behavioural problems has started a college course and his tutors report that he has exceeded expectations.

Daniel said he derived great satisfaction from observing the development and rehabilitation of the youngsters, some of whom have criminal records.

“It can be very challenging work but I feel strongly that these young people, some of whom have not had the best start in life, deserve the best chance possible and it’s very rewarding to see the progress they make,” he said.

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.

He 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.

“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”