A highly experienced care home manager with the X-Factor has had a double success in major national awards.
Angela Rees, who lives in Bridgend, is in charge of the Ty Newydd care home in Roath, Cardiff, which cares for a small number of women aged 18 to 65 with mental health issues, and is known as an effective leader who is keen for her staff to progress so they can maximise the help they give to clients.
It is this dedication to her job which saw Angela honoured twice at the 2016 Wales Care Awards held to recognise people who have the X-Factor in social care.
The awards, now in their 14th year, are in association with Care Forum Wales, a not-for-profit organisation set up to give independent care providers a single professional voice with which to speak on one of the most important issues of our time – how to provide better quality care for those who need it most.
Opera singer Wynne Evans, famous as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV adverts, was master of ceremonies at the glittering presentation evening in City Hall, Cardiff.
Angela,54, first won the bronze award in the Nurse of the Year category, sponsored by Ontex UK, before going on to be presented with the coveted Dignity in Care Award, sponsored by the Welsh Government, a special honour which goes to a person who has demonstrated compassion and real understanding for the needs of others.
Angela spent many years working as a qualified mental health nurse before moving into home management and now works for Integra Community Living Options, who have a number of care homes across South Wales for adults aged over 18.
Originally from Aberdare, she began her training as a mental health nurse at the age of 18 at the Whitchurch Hospital in Cardiff, qualifying three years later, and has spent her entire career in the either the health or social care sectors.
After qualifying she spent a few years working as a staff nurse at various hospitals run by the former Mid Glamorgan Area Health Authority, with spells at various times in acute, long-stay, rehabilitation and day units as well as doing some community-based work.
Angela has been married to her husband Paul, 58, for 32 years and the couple have two sons and a daughter.
She said: “In the year 2000, when the children were a little less dependent, I thought it was time to concentrate a bit more on my career and decided to go into independent health care.
“I joined an independent company as a staff nurse at one of its medium secure hospitals.
“With the same company I later became a deputy manager and then the registered manager of one of its secure hospitals just outside Cardiff.
“Subsequently, I did a short period of agency work which provided me with valuable experience in honing my clinical skills.
“Three years ago I joined Integra Community Living Options, which was then just opening its first women’s service, and became manager at the new Ty Newydd home.”
Angela added: “The aim is to prepare people for independent living, eventually moving into their own flats supported by a social worker.
“We currently have two clients with us, a third client currently transitioning to us from a secure hospital and there is also a waiting list for women to join us.
“We have a total of 11 staff who have a range of experience, including one member of the team with expertise in housing, which is invaluable when it comes to helping people to move on into their own homes.
“I think what I enjoy most about my job is leading and developing a team, supporting all members of staff by providing guidance, which I believe is key to us supporting our clients, providing opportunities to enhance their quality of life.”
Describing the kind of transformation possible for clients at the home with the right support, Angela said: “We had one client who had been in secure accommodation for some years but had always wanted to work as a volunteer in a charity shop.
“She now lives in a flat and has not only been a volunteer in a charity shop but has actually secured paid employment in one which has exceeded her expectations.”
In Angela’s award nomination, a senior colleague said of her: “She is a warm and sincere person who is also an effective leader and keen for her staff to progress.”
Of her double success in the Wales Care Awards, she said: “I’m honoured and delighted to receive these two awards in recognition of being part of an excellent team at Integra working together to achieve positive outcomes.
“Thanks to my colleague who nominated me and all who supported me.
“It was a wonderful evening and an opportunity to meet with other award nominees and representatives of all the social sector.
“I was thrilled to receive the bronze award but also to be presented with such a prestigious award as Dignity on Care was the icing on the cake for me.”
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair 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.”