An inspirational care assistant from a Sanctuary Care home in Oxfordshire has beaten off her competition to successfully win a prestigious national care award.
Vanessa Howkins from Yarnton Residential and Nursing Home in Yarnton’s Rutten Lane went head-to-head with five finalists to win The Care Worker accolade in the Great British Care Awards at a high profile gala night.
On cloud nine
Following her win Vanessa, who has worked at the home for four years, said: “It feels amazing to have won, I honestly wasn’t expecting it! I was so shocked when they called my name; I just sat there in disbelief and thought ‘Oh my goodness, that’s me!’ I was on cloud nine and didn’t even notice the big crowd when I collected my award.”
Describing the event, Vanessa continued: “I’ve never been to an awards evening before so wasn’t sure what to expect, but the whole experience has been just brilliant and so enjoyable. I would do it all again if I could – it was such a great feeling and I’m still so grateful to even have been nominated, let alone winning.”
The Sanctuary Care home’s manger Sheena Montague added: “The award evening was a perfect celebration of Vanessa’s dedication and hard work. We are all so pleased for her, the win is thoroughly deserved and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”
“Outstanding” care assistant
Within her award-winning nomination, Vanessa was described as “outstanding”, “patient”, “kind” and “respectful”. It also provided glowing examples of her complete dedication to her residents – for instance, when she gave up her own time to take a resident whom she had built an unbreakable bond with to a hospital appointment because the resident wanted her by her side.
The resident’s son commented: “Vanessa shows genuine love and care for mum. She speaks respectfully and directly to her, with clear language and always smiles. Vanessa is calm and wise and deserves to be recognised for her outstanding contribution to my mother’s wellbeing.”
Rewarded in a priceless way
Sheena added: “Residents and loved ones adore Vanessa and it’s easy to see why – for Vanessa to support residents at hospital appointments to ensure they feel settled is a heartwarming thing to do and there’s no other place she would rather be.”
Concluding on how it felt to be nominated Vanessa added: “I was extremely touched to hear I had been nominated by members of my team. I’ve worked at Yarnton for four years and I have loved every second of my time caring for our residents – it’s a joy to do and being rewarded for it in such a way is priceless.”