A hospice manager who’s at the forefront of a major expansion scheme is in the running for a coveted social care Oscar.
Joyce Bellingham has been a familiar face at St Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph for more than 20 years, including serving as manager since 2006.
The grandmother-of-four’s time at the helm has included the hospice successfully pioneering a nurse-led care model.
The hospice is currently undergoing redevelopment work as part of an ambitious £2.5 million expansion.
Joyce’s commitment to the hospice and support for her staff has been recognised as she has made the shortlist in this year’s Wales Care Awards, known as the Oscars of social care.
“The hospice is my passion,” said Joyce, who lives in Rhyd-y-Foel, near Abergele.
“It’s what I have been doing for a long time. My family have played their part as well and the staff here are also passionate about what we do.
“It’s very humbling to be shortlisted for the award and it was very unexpected. But this is really about the hospice, rather than me.”
Joyce’s achievement comes at a time of celebration for the hospice, as it will mark its silver anniversary of opening next year and extension work is currently nearing completion.
This will enhance the hospice’s facilities, with the number of beds to increase from eight to 12. A café is being created, that can be used by the community as well as hospice users.
“We have to keep moving forward as a hospice and keep doing what we can,” said Joyce, 57.
“We want the community to come here and use the café. It’s not my hospice, it’s our hospice and we are reliant on fundraising.
“We are fortunate to have more than 400 volunteers supporting us. Without their generosity, we couldn’t do what we do.
“It’s important we help the patients here as much as we possibly can.”
One of the most significant developments at the hospice during Joyce’s tenure was the adoption of an innovative nurse-led model of care several years ago.
The hospice was a pioneer of the system, fronted by consultant nurse Dinah Hickish. She is believed to be the first person to occupy such a role in palliative care in Wales.
“We had to look at our model of care and we chose to this. It has worked well and Dinah has had conversations with people from as far away as Australia about it,” said Joyce.
“The success of the model would not have been possible without the work of our team at the hospice. The staff are amazing.
“We also work closely with other hospices across the UK, as we face the same challenges.”
Originally from Kent, Joyce relocated to North Wales in 1991 and joined the hospice’s administrative team in 1998.
Her position as business manager includes overseeing the retail, fundraising and administrative departments at the hospice, to help ensure it remains in a sound position and can keep making advancements for the benefit of patients.
Numerous awards have been gained by the hospice during Joyce’s time in charge, including the Investors in People accolade in 2014.
Now she can claim an honour of her own. Joyce’s passion and commitment has helped earn her a place on the shortlist in the Excellence in Palliative and End of Life Care Award in this year’s Wales Care Awards.
Joyce, mother to grown-up children Lucy, Alex and Christopher, plans to attend the ceremony at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 18 with her husband Nigel Williams.
She also anticipates being accompanied by Dinah as well as Ann Atkin, with both having received individual honours at the Wales Care Awards in recent years while working for the hospice.
Dinah nominated Joyce for the award on behalf of the hospice community, saying: “The humanity, love and care that she shows to us employees has made us a unique family, cohesive in our fundamental aspiration to provide a first class service to our community.”
The awards ceremony will be hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
“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 the care in society.
“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.
“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”