A busy mum praised for her dedication to making a difference to the lives of those she supports has won a gold award in a prestigious competition.
Welsh speaking Kelly Pirotte, 39, from Ystradgynlais, Swansea, won the Commitment to Training and Workforce Development category, sponsored by Cardiff and Vale College, at the Wales Care Awards.
She is Head of Learning and Development for the Accomplish Group, who are specialist providers of support for people with autism, mental health needs, learning disabilities and acquired brain injuries and who provide flexible care in registered residential, hospital and supported living settings.
Kelly was presented with her award at the glittering ceremony which took place at City Hall, Cardiff, on October 19th. This year’s ceremony, which was sponsored by Onyx Healthcare, marked the 25th anniversary of Care Forum Wales, who organise the annual awards.
Kelly said: “It was a wonderful experience, and fantastic to have all my colleagues there supporting me, I was really surprised to win and to have everyone there to see it.
“It was very humbling for me; my colleagues are all over the moon, as am I.
“It’s really nice to have the recognition for everyone’s hard work; my team and I have worked hard to try and make sure that learning and development is top of the agenda for social care.
“I’m still on cloud 9.”
One of Kelly’s biggest achievements in her role is the recently developed ‘Yr Hwb’ (The Hub), which offers courses and a place to meet for individuals that Accomplish support.
Kelly explained: “Yr Hwb was started up because I felt that drop-in type centres that we used to have are now missing from the community; I felt it would be nice to have somewhere where people can get together and have some fun and have positive experiences and just smile really!
“We set it up to have different things on different days. We have a singing group, a performing arts group, as well as IT groups, health and beauty, nail groups – there is all kinds going on, and we cater for people of all abilities.
“It’s an amazing group, we have some really good things going on there and it’s just good energy really.”
Kelly was nominated by Gemma Howells, Marketing and Events Manager at Accomplish, who said: “Kelly is passionate about people and making a difference.
“She is committed to improving the service provided to both staff and the people we support. I have worked with Kelly for the last four years and feel she deserves this recognition for her outstanding commitment she has shown to Training and Workforce Development.
“Kelly recognises that our people are by far and away our most valuable asset and that our high standards of care can only be met by carefully selected, motivated and able individuals.
“She has worked tirelessly to develop robust systems and processes and has completely overhauled the training department.
“The Hwb is an inspirational idea that is positively impacting on the lives of the people we support. “Kelly is now in the process of duplicating this innovative approach in our England services.
“Kelly is passionate about Learning and Development and is committed to improving the service provided to both staff and the people we support.”
Academic Kelly, who has an MSc in Business Management and also has CIPD chartered status, worked in a variety of roles in the education sector before starting with Accomplish in 2015.
Super-busy Kelly also has a disabled son. She said: “Having a child who requires additional needs, allows me to be more empathetic in my role, it helps me understand the families better and the challenges they face.
“Like all working mums, I’m busy, but I’m really passionate about learning and development and I like to keep as positive as I can.
“It helps me get things done.
“I like to try and be as positive as I can, and I hope it rubs off on other people.
“I have a glass half full attitude, hopefully that is what people will carry on with when they leave our service.
She added: “I was humbled to even be nominated, never mind win. It was a lovely feeling for everyone nominated to be able to get up on stage and receive thanks for their efforts.
“It’s lovely to be able to celebrate each other’s successes and all that’s achieved in the sector.”
Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists have 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.”