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RCT Care Worker Honoured at Awards

A care worker from Rhondda Cynon Taf is among the 12 extraordinary care workers recognised as Care Stars who shone brightly during the past 15 months in Wales.

Conor O’Leary, a residential child care practitioner for Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, has been recognised for going above and beyond during the pandemic.

When the children’s home Conor worked at lost half its staff overnight because they had to shield, Conor did not hesitate to move into the home for two weeks. Conor provided invaluable support and care and made a frightening time for the children in his care a shared experience, in which they could find positives every day.

Through the distressing time, Conor provided invaluable support and care. He was nominated for the Care Stars award by his manager Mandy Meredith, who said: “He deserves to be recognised for this and for being a role model in our service. This was an act of compassion for others and an understanding of their needs.”

Care Stars 2021, organised by Social Care Wales, was created to shine a light on the social care and early years workers who have made a truly positive difference to people’s lives during the past 15 months when the whole country struggled with the challenges of the pandemic.

Councillor Tina Leyshon, Rhondda Cyynon Taf Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:

“Congratulations to Conor for the amazing commitment and dedication he showed to those people within his care during the global pandemic and it is wonderful that his work has been recognised in this way.

“I would also like to say a big thank you to everyone working within the social care and early years sector in Rhondda Cynon Taf. So many people have gone above and beyond during the past 15 months, just like Conor. They are all stars and a great credit to our communities.

“The professionalism and dedication shown by our workforce in a time of such adversity is simply astonishing. Thank you all for all you have done and continue to do.”

In June, employers, colleagues and members of the public were invited to nominate the paid care workers they felt deserved to be recognised for their work over the past 15 months.

As a result, 120 care workers from across Wales were nominated. A panel of judges, made up of Social Care Wales Board members and representatives from partner organisations, then whittled them down to the 12 Care Stars they thought deserved widespread recognition for the inspirational work they had done.

Sue Evans, Chief Executive of Social Care Wales, said:

“People working in social care and early years make a crucial difference to people’s lives day in, day out, in communities across Wales.

“During the past 16 months, that crucial difference they make really did shine through more than ever. Our care workers stepped up under extremely challenging and difficult circumstances to show just how vital and valuable they are.

“All 120 care workers nominated showed kindness, dedication, and professionalism in the work they did. This was not about winning awards, because all 120 nominees and everyone else working in the care sector during the past year and a half have been outstanding in their response. But the judges chose the ones they thought represented the most shining examples of care and support provided during the pandemic.

“A huge well done and thank you to all our Care Stars – their stories are humbling, moving and inspirational, and show just how incredibly dedicated they are, not only to their profession, but to the people and the families they support.”