A former Benedictine monk has been singled out for a special award after setting up a ground breaking advice service to help families to access funding for care.
Jeremy Nixey was presented with a prestigious Dignity in Care Gold Award, by Julie Morgan, the deputy minister for health and social services, at the prestigious Wales Care Awards
The award is sponsored by the Welsh Government and only handed to those offering inspirational service in the social care sector. Jeremy also took home Bronze Award for Outstanding Service.
The event, sponsored by Ontex UK, was attended First Minister Mark Drakeford with and hosted by BBC Radio Wales presenter Wynne Evans.
Jeremy is the founder of My Care My Home, which has a base in Pontypool and offers free care advice, a find a care home service and a new scheme to help with funding residential care.
Explaining the new funding scheme he said: “I have contacted many authorities in Wales regarding this means of funding care while not requiring the family to sell up their home.
“I think that sooner or later sombody will listen,”
He said his Dignity in Care Award was totally unexpected and a very nice surprise.
“It was a really nice evening. Of course, all those attending are really lovely people and the organisers did a superb job,” he added.
Jeremy was a Benedictine monk for 12 years and for some of that time a parish priest, but he left the order when he met his wife as marriage and life as a monk were not compatible.
However, the Benedictine values of serving the community, listening, hospitality and stewardship were useful when his career moved into the care sector.
Today Jeremy is the Chief Executive of the Shaw Foundation and until last year was Chief Executive of Shaw Healthcare (Group) Limited. Shaw Healthcare has over 4,000 staff and an annual turnover of approximately £120 million and operates over 70 care homes and other facilities.
But it was for his work as founder of My Care My Home that Jeremy was shortlisted for the award at Wales Care Awards, dubbed the Oscars of social care.
He was nominated for the Outstanding Service Award, sponsored by the Caron Group, by Samantha Tremlin, who said she hoped his pioneering efforts would find the recognition they deserved.
She said: “Jeremy has dedicated his whole life to helping people and pushing for higher standards in the care industry.
“He continues to innovate and his commitment to ensuring everyone receives the highest standard of care in later-life motivates and inspires everyone around him.”
Explaining his motivation behind the launch of My Care My Home, Jeremy said that there was an urgent need to tackle the issue of funding health care.
“I set up the service because the issue remains an unsolved problem,” he said.
“Health care is an expensive business and there is a much greater need for funding support than the Government has allocated money for.”
My Care My Home offers free advice on funding care, including access to a scheme where the family home can be rented out, rather than sold, to pay care home fees.
“It’s a simple solution that would work for a lot of people,” said Jeremy.
Samantha, who nominated Jeremy for the award added, “People don’t know where to turn when they are facing care home bills. The service can really help and the advice is free.”
Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the awards ceremony was all the more poignant because of the Covid pandemic and what front line staff had endured.
He said: “I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to all the wonderful people who work in social care after the rose magnificently and courageously to meet the unprecedented challenges they have faced over the past couple of years.
“We have always recognised their true value and hopefully now the rest of Wales is also aware of how lucky we are as a nation to have them providing care and safeguarding our most vulnerable people.
“Our finalists are the best of the best and are here representing the whole social care workforce who all deserve a big pat on the back.
“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.
“In the words of the powerful song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, let the Diolch last forever.
” We take our hats off to them.”