An activities organiser whose innovations and willingness to “think outside the box” has helped improve care for people with dementia at a Bridgend care home has had her work recognised with a prestigious award.

Ceri Powell, who works at Hafod Care’s Brocastle Manor won a bronze award in the Category for Excellence in Dementia Care in this year’s Wales Care Awards, organised by Care Forum Wales to recognise outstanding service in the care sector.

The ceremony, sponsored by Ontex Healthcare and Barchester Jobs, was held in City Hall, Cardiff, and hosted by singer and presenter Wynne Evans, popularly known as Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV advert. Ceri’s category was sponsored by All Care (South Wales) Ltd and A Baldwins and Company.

Ceri, 58, from Pencoed, introduced an audit tool to assess the quality of life outcomes for all service-users and has devised a dementia-friendly action plan for Brocastle Manor, working closely to engage the local community.

One such activity has been to involve students from nearby Atlantic College who visit the home on weekly basis to chat one-to-one or engage in group activities with the residents.

“Home staff have reported a significant reduction in distressed reactions for the dementia service users who have participated in the activities,” said Marc.

Another innovation is Book Cwtch in which residents meet each week to read and review literature and poetry, and Ceri also reviews newspaper articles, short stories and other items.

Ceri who has worked in the care field for 20 years, was stunned but delighted to be shortlisted after being nominated by Marc Pullen-James, currently manager of Brocastle Manor.

She started work at Southerndown Care Home but transferred nine years ago to Brocastle, which has a total of 80 residents with different needs, including dementia sufferers, and in a number of different units.

She has been responsible for co-ordinating activities from the outset and the home’s management team was unanimous in nominating her because she was seen as an outstanding role model.

“She values choice, dignity and respect for all, in all areas of her professional practice,” said Marc.

Ceri is a former chair of the PTA at Pencoed High School and believes that is where she picked up many of her organisational skills.

She herself derives great pleasure and job satisfaction from enhancing the residents’ lives.

“It’s lovely to see the difference one makes to them, and though I am amazed to have been nominated – and I know it’s a cliché – but it really is a team effort because it would be impossible to do it without the support from everyone in the home,” she said.

In her spare time she enjoys listening to music and eating out.

Mario Kreft, the Chair 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 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.”