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Celebration of Recognition and Achievement

On Friday 14th October Catholic Care held their second Oscars evening, a celebration of staff achievements, recognition of all the good works and a night simply to say Thank You.

The evening started in the chapel at Hinsley Hall where Mgr. Donal Lucey celebrated Mass accompanied by some lively singing. Then it was all change to the Edmond Sykes room for continuation of the celebrations.

The evening was hosted by Carol Hill, Director of Catholic Care, and Richard Strudwick, a former Catholic Care boy who has many fond memories of his time in care, often joking that his father was a priest and his mother a nun. Richard was the Sergeant at Mace in the office of the Lord Mayor of Leeds until his retirement in 1993 after 27 years in civic service. Since then he has pursued a self-employed career as a professional toastmaster and master of ceremonies. From the moment he stepped up to speak until the end of the evening Richard had everyone laughing and made the evening very special.

The first awards of the evening were for those achieving qualifications which included Levels 2, 3 and 5 Diplomas, and a Practice Education Award for Jessica Hall. Carol told the room “we have high expectations of our staff … to achieve this high standard we recognise that training plays a key role”.

Our second category of awards for the evening was for those achieving 100% attendance. There were 52 winners of this award representing over 1/3 of our entire staff. This reflects the continued level of high quality care the staff deliver.

This year a volunteer award was introduced in recognition of these very special people who give freely of their time and energies, especially in our community services. “Without our volunteers we simply could not deliver these services” said Carol. The award was made to a special lady known to her friends as ‘Deanery Debbie’. Unfortunately Debbie could not join the evening’s celebrations but she had kindly written how she feels about volunteering for Catholic Care and her words were shared with those present and included:

volunteering at the Deanery Project changed everything for me ……I feel like a completely different person now”.

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is on of community, seeing what a difference reaching out can make ….

The next category of awards was for those members of staff who had achieved 25 years service. “It’s when you look at long service that adjectives like dedication, loyalty, commitment and devoted really do start to have meaning” said Carol. Three staff were recognised, all for serving the Charity for 25 years:

    Kathy Snell – Registered Domiciliary Care Manager
    Peter Simmons – currently working with older people
    Janet Kavanagh – currently working in the Charity’s mental health service

This year service awards were introduced in recognition of a member of staff who has made a significant impact on their service. The award for the Children’s Services went to Owen Corrigan:

Despite harrowing circumstances, Owen approaches whatever is in front of him with a calmness and serenity and with a total focus on the wellbeing of the young person he is caring for and their family.”

The award for the Adult Services went to Deborah O’Brien. Dementia is never easy to deal with and when faced with the onslaught of dementia in a resident Deborah responded so positively, supporting staff and family members alike.

There was something a little different this year with the presentation of the Mathew Kearns Award. This was for someone in the School and Family Social Work Service who had demonstrated outstanding social work, showing understanding, support and empathy. The beautiful glass sculpture was awarded to Eileen Holland O’Malley in particular for her bereavement work.

The penultimate award of the evening was for Employee of the Year and staff were asked to nominate their colleagues who they thought had gone beyond the call of duty. Nominations were received from across the spectrum of services. The nominations for the 2016 Employee of the Year were:-

 Janet Kent  Eileen Holland O’Malley  Jessica Hall
 Peter Simmons  Matthew Kearns  Steve Clarke
 Sharon Forbes  Bernie O’Horo  Deborah O’Brien
 Sue Thomas  Caroline Happs  Joanne Cunningham
 Christopher Harrison


The list was then shortlisted by the Trustees to Joanne Cunningham and Mathew Kearns:

Joanne – “…..has dedicated her life to Catholic Care. She works tirelessly with a smile on her face”.

Mathew – “I feel very proud and privileged to have Mathew on our schools team and I believe he is a great ambassador for Catholic Care.”

How could we choose between two such excellent people and both were awarded jointly Employee of the Year.

The final award was a fun award recognising two members of staff who went above and BELOW the call of duty, when Deborah O’Brien and Michelle Stead from Craven House went down the manhole to unblock the drain. Yes there was photographic evidence to prove it!

Sue Rix, Trustee, commented at the end of the evening; “Sometimes we forget to say thank you but tonight helped us to get it right for the amazing teams that make Catholic Care what it is and continues to be as it seeks to fulfil its mission.”

Congratulations to all our winners.