Record number of entries underlines social care’s commitment to excellence

Nearly 500 professionals and service users
from the social care world came together to celebrate the
achievements of social care workers at the Community Care
awards last week at the London Hilton in Park Lane.

The annual awards recognise and reward
projects that are particularly innovative, and which have made a
substantial difference to the lives of service users.

This year a record number of entries were
received, all of a very high standard, making the judges’ task
especially difficult.

Disability rights campaigner and model Heather
Mills hosted the awards and she saluted the work of the social care
professionals who, she said, worked day in and day out to make a
difference to the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. “Everybody
here today is a winner,” she said.

Community Care editor Polly Neate
welcomed the guests and told them the awards paid tribute to the
success of social care staff up and down the country.

“As we move into an era where social care will
be provided, more often than not, in agencies where social care
professionals work alongside those from other professional
backgrounds, it’s more important than ever to acknowledge the
skills and values of social care as a discrete discipline,” she

“All the shortlisted projects here today
demonstrate the ability to listen to the experiences of others and
support people to achieve their potential. They show creative
possibilities within a legislative and monitoring framework which
all too often can seem to constrain front-line practice. They show
that it is right and realistic to expect standards of excellence
from social care services – because they have achieved

All the winning projects received £4,000
to be used to further their work, with the overall winner receiving
an additional £8,000.

Category award winners

Work with carers
Sponsor: Reliance Care

Older Carers Support Scheme, run by Community
Health Sheffield NHS Trust.

The project works with older family carers of
people with learning difficulties, building positive relationships
with older carers and supporting them to ensure they feel confident
to contact them before a problem becomes a crisis. The judges were
impressed by this genuinely innovative idea.

Child protection
Sponsor: Fostering Support Group

Option 2, a preventive service for families
with parental substance misuse, run by Cardiff social services

Option 2 provides a therapeutic service for
families where there are serious child protection concerns because
of the substance misuse of parents. It offers short-term crisis
intervention which aims to change the way families function, based
on what the families themselves want to change about their lives.
The judges felt it was a fine example of preventive work in

Children and families
Sponsor: Five Rivers

Khandan Initiative for Asian Adoptive
Families, run by Barnardo’s Scotland

This project gives support to adoptive
families and children from the Asian community.

The judges said it was a model of good
practice in cultural sensitivity and in understanding the needs of
adoptive families for long-term support.

Sponsor: Cooper Stanley

Rainbows in the Ice, a new approach to day
care from Lancashire social services

l Rainbows in the Ice is a day centre that
challenges the traditional image of day care by focusing on
self-esteem and enabling disabled people to tackle the prejudices
they meet in the wider community. This project brought the “jargon
of social inclusion” to life.

Drugs and alcohol

The 8-16s Support Group for children whose
mothers have substance misuse problems, run by Brighton Oasis

The 8-16s Support Group provides a creative
supportive environment for young people affected by their parents’
substance misuse. The group has developed a passion for film-making
and plans in future to help the young people pursue this passion by
buying equipment and training staff and volunteers.

Inter-agency work
Sponsor: OLM

Crannog, a service for troubled young people,
run by the Aberlour Child Care Trust

This project was set up to resolve the problem
of conflicting advice from different agencies and professionals. It
has achieved a substantial reduction in young people placed far
away from their homes and has been able to offer highly flexible
and individual support.

Mental health
Sponsor: Personnel & Care Bank

Thomson Court Dementia Project, run by Argyll
and Bute Council

This project provides a very wide range of
services, from respite and residential care, to outreach, carer
support, helpline and life story work. The judges felt it was a
shining example of a project providing excellent care to people
with dementia and increasing the understanding of dementia within
the community.

Older people and intermediate
Sponsor: Bupa Care Homes

Cumbria Direct Payments Advice and Information
Service, a joint venture between social services and the voluntary

The service made a real difference to the
independence and control older adults can take over their lives. It
has responded to the anxieties of service users and has also
challenged the stereotypes held by health and social care
professionals – “an exemplary direct payments service,” said one

Young offenders
Sponsor: Corvedale Care

Phoenix Project, a partnership between
Sunderland Youth Offending Service and the Tyne & Wear
Metropolitan Fire Brigade

This project is a partnership between two very
different agencies which offers young offenders and those at risk
of offending a unique work experience course leading to a profile
of achievement and certificate for each person. An extremely
successful project – nearly half the young people who attended the
course did not reoffend, and the reoffending rates of a further 33
per cent were cut significantly.



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