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Extra Hands recognises staff ‘worth their weight in gold’ at GEM awards

Extra Hands.

A Norfolk home care provider has recognised the “exceptional efforts” of its staff with company awards.

Family-run Extra Hands asked service users and their families to nominate carers who go the extra mile and deserved being the first recipients of the company’s GEM Award.

And this week, the provider has announced that the winners are Sharon Jarvis, who has worked at the Extra Hands’ Heacham office for almost 20 years, and Jools Saunter (pictured below), based at the Broadland office.

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Both will receive a trophy and gift vouchers as a sign of the company’s appreciation of the hard work they have put into caring for their clients.

Jarvis took the GEM award win in her stride, saying: “Too often we underestimate the power of a smile, friendly chat or the smallest act of kindness, which can make all the difference to someone’s day,” she said.

Despite playing it cool, Jarvis’ nominators were keen for her work to be put in the spotlight.  

“Sharon is an excellent carer at the best of times, but since my operations, she has gone the extra mile,” said one of her nominators, who had recently undergone heart surgery. “She’s always caring but she truly has gone the extra mile since lockdown. I would be lost without her.”  

Another service user, whose family is affected by dementia, praised Jarvis for her “consistently calm and professional manner in all her dealings with us”.

As for Saunter, she entered the caring profession five years ago, having previously worked in local government.

Commenting on the award win, she said: “There are so many other people I can think of who could have won this award, so the news came as a total surprise to me. 

“A while back we were told they were going to have the awards but I didn’t give it a second thought until one day I have a phone call saying ‘guess what, you’ve won’.”

Describing Saunter, one customer said: “She always goes the extra mile, she is brilliant and will always help me sort anything out without hesitation.

“She is worth her weight in gold and I am sure other clients feel the same about her. Nothing is too much hassle for Jools.”

Extra Hands was the first company in Norfolk to launch a wellbeing check service, which provides short visits to check up on service users when friends and family are unable to make the visit, giving everyone peace of mind. Its Heacham office was rated ‘Outstanding’ in its most recent Care Quality Commission review. 

Extra Hands director of care Jo Tier said: “We were contacted by people who just wanted to say thank you and highlight the outstanding efforts our team have made to ensure everyone is coping during this time.

“It was lovely to read all the nominations and discover just how much is thought of our team which puts a huge effort into making sure our service users are safe, comfortable and happy.

“We know how hard everyone has been working because of coronavirus and highlighting individuals is not always easy, but we wanted to make sure they know how valued they are,” she added.

Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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