Southern Healthcare team and therapy dog honoured at awards ceremony.

Three members of the Southern Healthcare team plus Ruby, Parkwood’s much-loved therapy dog, have won awards at a glittering ceremony in Plymouth.

The Celebrating Excellence in Care Awards, organised by Plymouth City Council, have been held for the first time since 2019. The event aims to honour and recognise outstanding care staff, including those working in residential homes, supported living provision, day centres and domiciliary care (supporting people in their own homes).

Our Director of Nursing and Compliance, Margot Whittaker, won the Innovative Partnership Working and Engagement Award for her role in developing a Social Care Nurses Diploma in conjunction with the University of Bolton.

Margot said: “It was a lovely surprise to be nominated and I am very grateful for the recognition. The award is entirely due to the great team who work with me.”

Parkwood’s manager, Lorna Smith, was joint winner in the Excellence in Dementia Care category, while her labradoodle, Ruby, was honoured in the People’s Choice Award for providing pet therapy.

Lorna said: “It was an enjoyable evening. Well, done to everyone involved. It was great to celebrate the excellence of social care and so many worthy and passionate people. I am so surprised and delighted that Ruby was recognised. She comes into work with me every day and is loved by everyone living at Parkwood, the team and visitors.”

Kerrie Haughey, who is also from Parkwood, was joint winner in the Care Home Activity Coordinator of the Year category. She said: “Well done to Parkwood’s team and to Margot for her continuing commitment to social care nursing.

I am so thankful to everyone who nominated me.  A massive well-done to everyone working in social care in Plymouth for the amazing work they do.”

People across Plymouth were invited to nominate a member of staff or team in categories such as Care Worker of the Year, Excellence in Dementia Care and Care Home Activity Coordinator of the Year. More than three hundred nominations were received and reviewed by an independent panel of judges who chose the winners.

Gary Walbridge, Interim Strategic Director for People, said: “Care matters – our adult social care workers are invaluable, supporting people to live independently for as long as possible and caring for adults who need extra support with dignity and respect.

“The Awards are an opportunity for the whole city to thank these amazing staff. Huge congratulations to our highly deserving winners and well done to everyone who was nominated. We were blown away by the sheer volume of nominations which just goes to show how much brilliant work is going on every single day across Plymouth.”