Baker Catrin rises to the challenge to win award

A keen baker who brings Masterchef competitions to a Swansea care home has picked up a top prize. Catrin Hooper reignited her own love of baking when she made a Swansea City Football Club cake for one of the residents at Sudbury House, in Ynystawe.

She recently held a successful cookery competition for the residents there which culminated in a shared feast featuring everything from a simple trifle to a complex chicken dish. After “hot” competition from across the country, she can now savour receiving the bronze award for leadership and management in supported living at the Wales Care Awards.

Catrin, who became a support worker instead of going to university, has been the manager of Sudbury House since 2007.

The home, which provides care for adults with learning disabilities, is in the process of being de-registered to provide supported living tenancy for the benefit of the six residents aged from 29 to 41.

Catrin, 35, a mum-of-one, from Ty Croes, Ammanford, is employed by Swanton Care and Community. Swanton is a national provider of care services across England, Wales and Scotland.

Catrin, who along with her husband, enjoys ballroom dancing, said they liked to give their residents every opportunity to integrate with the local community. She said: “Two of them do volunteer work at a rescue dog shelter which gives them a nice taste of responsibility.

“We’ve enrolled some of them in a cookery course at a local college and we’re keen to explore other opportunities in evening courses as well which could cover things like photography and cake decorating.

“It’s about belonging to the local community and being properly included in it.

“I like baking and making cakes and got back into it when I made the football club one for one of the residents. I’ve even done a couple of wedding cakes since then and it’s nice to be able to do some baking with our service users here.

“It’s very gratifying when people are able to come together and do things like that and we like to support our residents in that way.”

Catrin likes to support residents to fulfil their dreams. This has included holidays as far afield as Florida and EuroDisney or, closer to home, to Tenby.

She said :”I have been trying to de-register the home to become a supported living setting which is really exciting for the people who live here. We will be working slightly differently and people will have security of tenancy.”

She and 15 colleagues look after six residents and Catrin said :”You couldn’t do it for 16 years if you didn’t love it.”

Jacqui Orrells, Swanton Regional Director, said: “Catrin has worked for the company for more than 16 years, starting as a support worker, and I have seen her develop and blossom into a mature, confident, knowledgeable and experienced manager.

“She believes passionately in the people she supports and she has mentored other managers within the region and is highly regarded by colleagues and external professionals.”

The annual Wales Care Awards showcase best practice in care across Wales and are an important part of raising the profile of care workers and educating the public about the vital work they do. They were first held in 2003.

They are run by Care Forum Wales which represents more than 450 care and nursing homes and other independent health and social care providers across Wales.

The MC for the presentation evening at Cardiff City Hall was opera singer Wynne Evans, aka Gio Compario from the television adverts for Go Compare.

Mario Kreft, the chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries was extremely high.

He added:“There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.

“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.

“We take our hats off to them.”ENDS