A mum of two with a heart of gold is in the running for a prestigious award.
On October 21 Emma Ogden will attend a glittering ceremony at City Hall, Cardiff, for the presentation of the 2016 Wales Care Awards, known as the social care Oscars.
The awards are organised by Care Forum Wales to highlight and reward exceptional practice in the care sector and Emma has been shortlisted in the category for Supported Living or Small Group Community Living Care Practitioner.
For the past 11 years Emma, 34, has worked for the St Asaph-based charity Cartref Ni, having previously worked for another local agency.
Almost immediately she was allocated to be a support worker for three people with physical and learning difficulties, living in the Colwyn Bay area. She took to the role and remains there today.
At about the same time that she started work there she had her first child, a boy who himself turned out to have learning difficulties. She also has a three-year-old daughter.
Emma found that caring for her son helped give her an insight into the needs of the three she worked with which meant she was better able to communicate and care for them.
“I always wanted to be a carer and I love the work; it is so satisfying,” she said.
She was nominated for the award by a colleague and further supported by Cartref Ni’s Service Manager Wendy Gardner who said all her colleagues spoke highly of her.
“She is an excellent support worker, always putting the person before anything or anyone else,” she said.
“She can be very reticent when speaking up for herself but will become very passionate when speaking up for the people she supports.”
Wendy said that despite having two young children and her son having special needs Emma never expected any special treatment from myself or her colleagues.
“I have attended meetings with Emma and other professionals and have been impressed with the way she conducts herself,” she said.
“She will always question and relay information to the person she’s supporting and ensures that they understand before moving forward. She then tries to ensure that as far as practicable the persons she is supporting makes decisions about what they want and tries to facilitate that decision.”
Wendy also praised the standard of Emma’s written reports which are always factual and informative.
Emma, whose nomination has been supported by the Charity’s Chief Executive Neil Ryder, finds that most of her spare time is, understandably, taken up with her two children.
“But when I have a chance I like to go out walking,” she 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.