A care home housekeeper who describes herself as ‘a cleanliness fanatic’ is in the running for a top award.

Julie Michael, 58, of Ogmore Vale, Bridgend, is in her element when kept busy dusting, cleaning and facilitating an appealing environment.

“I’ve always been like it since as long as I can remember. When I was a child I was never happier than when my mum would give me a dustpan and brush. It’d keep me occupied for hours,” she laughed.

So when the chance came to become Head Housekeeper at Anwen Care Home, Bridgend, she leapt at it. The home is part of the Caron Group, formerly known as Care Inn Ltd.

“It’s the dream job, the perfect role for me. I love it,” said Julie, who goes the extra mile to ensure everything is spick and span for the individuals living with dementia who reside there.

Although her shift doesn’t officially start until 7.30am, she gets in at 6.15am every day and often doesn’t leave until well into the evening when she is happy the home environment is  as it should be.

Now her fastidiousness has led to her being nominated for an accolade for outstanding service at the Wales Care Awards 2019.

She was put forward by Anwen manager Meriel John who feels lucky to have Julie on her team.

She said: “Julie has an ability to keep all aspects of her role running smoothly and even when the unexpected happens Julie deals with the situation in a calm, professional manner, always leading from the front and setting a good example.

“She was an obvious choice to be nominated for this award and the first choice of the team she works with. She is a lovely lady who works with compassion and understanding and is efficient and effective in her role.”

The Wales Care Awards – a highlight of the social care calendar – will be presented at a glittering ceremony at Cardiff City Hall on Friday, October 18, hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.

Julie is shortlisted to receive a gold, silver or bronze honor in the category for Commitment to Quality in Hospitality.

She worked for 20 years in pharmaceuticals before switching careers to the care sector.

She said: “My personal circumstances changed, I was looking for a new direction. When Anwen opened five years ago I went for an interview. I was told I didn’t get the job I originally applied for, but instead they offered me the Head Housekeeper role. I can still feel the smile on my face when I think about it now. I was over the moon and I’ve never looked back. It was like it was meant to be. I can’t see me ever doing anything else.”

When not at work the mum of two loves to spend time with her daughters Danielle, 36, and Victoria, 33, and her three grandchildren.

She enjoys cycling and walking in the scenic hills around her home.

She said: “If there’s something on my mind then I will put on my boots, get out in the fresh air and stomp away any stress. It’s the best remedy. I feel so content to live in such a beautiful part of Wales and to have a job I love.”

She plans to take her partner Geoffrey to the awards ceremony and is looking forward to catching up with colleagues she has not seen for a while.

She said: “To be honest whatever happens on the night I just feel very honored to have had my name put forward. We have a great team at Anwen and it’s nice to think the hard work we put in is appreciated.”

Mario Kreft MBE, Chair of Care Forum Wales, which runs the Wales Care Awards, said the aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of unsung heroes and heroines, like Julie, who work across Wales.

He said: “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 care in society.

“We must do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce. They deserve to be lauded and applauded.

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