A woman from the Vale of Glamorgan who reaped major success after swapping life as a farmer’s wife to go into the care sector has struck gold in major national awards.

Jane Davies left the farm 18 years ago to join All Care South Wales Ltd as a care worker because the job gave her more flexibility to bring up her young family.

She rose through the ranks of the organisation and five years ago was appointed Deputy Care Manager sharing responsibility for guiding the efforts of around 110 staff who provide home care for about 90 service users across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.

Jane, who says that caring is her “absolute passion”, has been the driving force behind a number of special caring projects one of which was so successful as a pilot that it is now being rolled out across the area.

It is this dedication and commitment to her role that saw 57-year-old Jane strike gold in prestigious national competition, the 2018 Wales Care Awards.

This was the 15th anniversary of the awards and the glittering presentation ceremony was held at City Hall in Cardiff.

The awards, whose headline sponsor was Onyx Healthcare, are in association with Care Forum Wales, a not-for-profit organisation which is celebrating its own 25th anniversary this year after being set up in 1993 to give independent care providers a single professional voice with which to speak on one of the most important issues of our time – how to provide better quality care for those who need it most.

Jane, whose home is in Trestillian Close, Llantwit Major, took gold in the Leadership and Management in Supported Living or Small Group Community Living Award, sponsored by the Silvercrest Group.

Originally from Hatfield in Hertfordshire, she married a farmer from the Vale of Glamorgan and moved to the area about 40 years ago.

In the year 2000 Jane started a new career when she became a care worker with All Care South Wales Ltd which is based at Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan.

After spending some time as a care supervisor she was promoted to the deputy manager’s role in 2013.

Jane, who has four grown-up children aged from 25-30 and one granddaughter, said: “The agency provides domiciliary care for all types of people, from children to the elderly, whose main requirement is to stay in their own homes with our help, and our care is tailored to their individual requirements.

“As deputy manager my role is to support the acting manager in all aspects of the daily running of the agency. I’m also still a hands-on care worker and when necessary go out to care for people in their homes. I do this because I think it’s important to be seen to be working with and supporting your staff.

“I was also chosen to lead a special project called Your Choice, which is about providing outcome focused care to clients in conjunction with social services.

“This began as a pilot project in 2016-2017 and has been so successful that it’s now being rolled out across the whole of our area.

“I was also closely involved with piloting a Step Up to Management course, which started after we saw a gap in the availability of qualified care managers. Together with Social Care Wales we developed a course aimed at equipping up-and-coming managers like myself with the knowledge and understanding of what it is to be a manager.

“I’m grateful to All Care South Wales for giving me the opportunity to be involved in both these projects.

“For me community care is an absolute passion and a way of life and I am very honoured to have been shortlisted for the Wales Care Awards. I’ve been to the awards for the past five years and seen some inspirational people going up to receive their awards and I’m now privileged to be amongst them.”

Of her golden evening at the awards Jane, whose partner Howard Winstone is a musician with a local band, said: “It was absolutely unbelievable and I am so honoured to have won this award.

“I was awe-struck by the entire night and it was amazing to be part of something which gave so much recognition to the unsung heroes of the care sector.

“It was also good to be able to get together with people who are doing such a fantastic job out there.”

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.”