A care worker employed by Norfolk home care provider Extra Hands has been honoured with special award.
Stella Cason, who joined Extra Hands just over a year ago, was crowned the winner of The Gill Chase Award at a celebration event at Fakenham Race Course on Wednesday.
The award was created five years ago in memory of a long-standing Extra Hands carer who died suddenly in 2014 at the age of 68.
Ninety carers from the company, which has offices in Heacham and Norwich, were nominated for the accolade, and eight were handpicked as finalists.
Cason, who had previously worked at a residential care home
before joining Extra Hands, said of the win: “I didn’t expect this. I
really enjoy what I do. I’m happy here and it’s nice when you know you’ve
brought enjoyment to somebody and made their lives easier – that’s rewarding
enough for me.
“It’s lovely to get this award. But, as I say, if I go somewhere and a service user has got a smile for me, and they are happy when I’ve left that is rewarding enough for me. One of my service users recently put a little sticky note on me that said ‘Stella the Best’ and that just meant everything to me.”
Lynda Hilliard, manager of the Heacham office, said: “Families have complimented Stella about the quality time she spends with their relations and the kindness shown – she always goes that extra mile. Stella is very professional at all times, supporting our service users in every aspect, enjoying the time she spends with them and takes pleasure in listening to stories they have to tell.”
This year’s runner up was Andrea Johnson, who has worked for Extra Hands for just over two and a half years.
“To have been shortlisted and to hear what others have said about me, and then to have been a finalist is mind-blowing,” Johnson said during the ceremony.
“I like doing my utmost to help our service users and make sure they can stay in their homes for as long as possible so they can be stay as independent as possible. That’s what my focus is – to look after our service users to the best of my ability and to make sure they are safe.”
Hayley Claxton, manager at the Norwich office, said Johnson was a carer “everyone would want in their team”.
“She is committed to ensuring that the people they support have a good quality of life,” she added.
“She will go that extra mile regularly, escorting their service users to our social events. She has taken the time to really understand people as individuals and she is outstanding in achieving good outcomes for them. Extra Hands are very lucky to have Andrea and she was so deserving of her nomination.”
Other finalists were Pamela Aberdeen, Julie Wooberry, Susan Bloy, John Thompson, Amy Rix and Joanne Warrant.
Caption: Stella Cason (centre) with Extra Hands owners David and Hazel Evans. Photo credit – Ian Burt.