A Stoke-on-Trent care team has fought off tough competition from across the country to clinch the title of ‘Residential Team of the Year’ at the first ever virtual National Care Group Annual Awards.

Almost 1,400 National Care Group colleagues from across England and Wales tuned into the online event, which was hosted by radio and television presenter Jo Whiley, and broadcast live - marking the biggest celebratory event the company has ever had.

The team at flat two Cauldon Place, Shelton Care, part of the National Care Group, is made up of 20 people and led by senior support worker Matt Burton. Together, they provide residential care to individuals with learning and physical disabilities as well as mental illness and autism spectrum disorders. The team has been recognised for delivering an outstanding level of service and setting the bar when it comes to teamwork, ensuring quality care for the people they support.

Matt, 36, of Stoke-on-Trent, said: “I couldn’t be prouder of what our team has achieved over the past year, and to be recognised as ‘Residential Care Team of the Year’ is a real honour.

“We’re a really tight knit team and we really care about what we do and then of course, throw Covid into the mix and we had a challenge. But we overcame it and pulled together – caring is what we do.  The team here is like an extended family. I have been at Cauldon Place for 13 years this year and I couldn’t be more pleased that we have received this award.”

James Allen, CEO of the National Care Group, said: “We were very impressed by the work Matt and his team have done over the past year. The nominations we received for them detailed the support they provided to a particular person within their care community, who they’ve guided and brought through an incredibly tough year.

“This individual has since moved to a different location due to a change in their needs, but that’s not stopped Matt and the team from keeping in touch and maintaining that all-important connection they worked so hard to establish. The fact that they’ve done this and also maintained exceptional levels of care for everyone else they support is truly remarkable – congratulations.”

Awards were also presented to winners in a number of other categories, including:

  • Support Worker of the Year;
  • Manager of the Year;
  • Supported Living Team of the Year;
  • Support Function of the Year;
  • Newcomer of the Year;
  • Making a Difference Award; and,
  • Executive Board Award for Outstanding Achievement.

There was also a special award given for the National Care Group’s’ Pandemic Star of the Year’, dedicated to, and in memory of, two colleagues who lost their lives to coronavirus, which was awarded following a live poll that took place during the event.

James added: “The theme for this year’s event was ‘unlocking your potential’ and all of our winners have not only done this for themselves but, crucially, have unlocked the potential of the individuals they support as well – and that’s at the heart of everything we do at the National Care Group.

“We were truly overwhelmed by the volume of nominations we received for this year’s awards, with more than 400 people placing their vote, meaning it was really difficult to choose the winners. We’ve seen some fantastic examples of innovation and ingenuity from so many people and, while it’s a shame we couldn’t celebrate their achievements in person, the fact the awards were virtual meant we were able to have more people join in the celebration than we could have otherwise.

“Everyone who attended the awards ceremony was not only given the opportunity to dress to the nines, but also to share photos of themselves on social media with a prize for ‘best dressed’ being given out. In my eyes, that interactive and all-encompassing element has been the best thing about the whole event and we’re now in a really good place to look forwards as the sector continues to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.”