A newly-qualified social worker who was inspired to make a difference after helping to care for her cousin has become the toast of the care industry – after scooping two national awards on the same night.
Hannah Carpanini, who has worked for Monmouthshire County Council’s Adult Disability Service as a social worker for the past 16 months, was stunned to win a coveted gold award in the Exceptional Newcomer category, sponsored by Coleg Cambria, in the Wales Care Awards 2019.
It turned out to be a double celebration for the 28-year-old, who is still in her first professional role as a social worker since completing training, after she was also announced as the gold winner of the Dignity in Care Award, supported by the Welsh Government and presented by Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services.
Hannah, who lives in Griffithstown, Pontypool, and manages a respite facility for children with disabilities on her days off, collected her award at a glittering ceremony at Cardiff City Hall, hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV adverts.
The national awards are organised by care sector champions Care Forum Wales and acknowledge the exceptional work and dedication of those in the care sector.
Reacting to her win, Hannah said: “It was a complete surprise I didn’t expect to win at all.
“The Exceptional Newcomer award was up first and you kind of sit back down and enjoy the rest of your evening, but then they announced my name again. It was a shock.
“It’s such a positive thing for all the people I work with and for social care to receive some positive recognition. I’m looking forward to sharing the news with the services users as one of them was involved in the nomination process.
“It’s a really humbling experience to see what’s going on at the frontline. I’m extremely grateful for my manager Claire Campbell who put my application through as without her I wouldn’t have been nominated.”
Hannah, who lives at home with her two pet dogs, completed her secondary education at St Alban’s Roman Catholic High School in Pontypool before embarking on an under graduate course in Early Childhood Studies at Swansea University.
She was inspired to follow the path of social work after spending time with her cousin growing up who has a learning disability.
After her course, she took a year out and gained work experience at Dewstow Primary School in Caldicot, supporting children with disabilities and complex behavioural needs. She also began work with Action for Children on a children’s disabilities project working alongside social services before heading back to Cardiff to complete a masters in Social Work.
Her current role is as a social worker supporting people between the ages of 18 and 65 with physical and learning disabilities. The role involves going into a variety of settings including the home, community and residential homes and helping service users to lead as full a life as possible.
One of the highlights of her career so far is securing funding to enable two of the people she supports to embark on a college course in September.
“It’s extremely rewarding for me to give people the opportunity to do things that other people do,” said Hannah, who was nominated for her award by Claire Campbell, senior social work practitioner for Monmouthshire County Council.
“It’s a massive journey involving rigorous assessment processes and the challenge of gaining the finance. It will be so positive for me to see how these two individuals progress when they’re there.
“Social workers help to improve the quality of life for people. Not much is really understood about the relationships social workers build with the families they work with. Having a person-centred approach is paramount to our work.”
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.”