We're delighted to announce that two of our houses have been shortlisted for this year's Great British Care Awards.

The Firs Nursing Home in Nottingham has been shortlisted for four Regional Great British Care Awards (GBCA), with The Abbeyfield Hertfordshire Residential Care Society (AHRCS) also nominated. The Firs and The Abbeyfield Society's shortlisting fall into the East Midlands category, whereas the AHRCS shortlisting is in the London category.

The Firs Nursing Home

The Firs provides dementia specialist care and support for older people. It has been nominated in the Care Home of the Year category by its own staff team, who have flourished under the management of Kay Fritchley, appointed to lead the team earlier this year.

Kay said,


This award nomination and subsequent shortlisting is something that we are all so very proud of. I have never personally had the privilege of working with a team that has been so driven and focused on improving their own service as a unit. They provide support for each other and work as part of a very dedicated team at all times. I am exceptionally proud of them and can’t wait to see what the future brings for us.

Three of the home’s individual staff members have also been shortlisted. In the Newcomer to Care category, Georgie Ward was nominated for her exemplary commitment to the home and the care of its residents in her first six months’ employment. Georgie works at The Firs alongside studying for a career in nursing and midwifery.

Georgie Ward Image

Georgie Ward

Nominated for 'Newcomer to Care'.

Tracey Woodward Image

Tracey Woodward

Nominated for 'Activities Coordinator of the Year'.

Hannah Mpeksambo Image

Hannah Mpeksambo

Nominated for 'Front-line Team Leader'.

Tracey Woodward’s role as Activities Coordinator has been especially important during the pandemic, ensuring that residents remain physically fit and mentally stimulated whilst visits from family, friends and community groups are restricted. Tracey has developed the activities room into a sensory room to benefit those living with dementia, and has ensured that residents receive the one-to-one time they need to complete meaningful activities. For her efforts she has been shortlisted for the Activities Coordinator of the Year Award.

Hannah Mpeksambo has been shortlisted in the Front Line Team Leaders category. Hannah always leads by example and ensures that the care that she delivers is person centred and to the highest standard. She has also responded exceptionally well to the changes have been implemented with the recent handover of management.

Abbeyfield Hertfordshire Residential Care Society

Meanwhile, Karoline Gullin, the manager of Friars Mead care home in Kings Langley, managed by AHRCS, has been shortlisted for the Home Care Registered Manager Award.

Karoline and her team have responded brilliantly to the challenges that the pandemic has brought, and the home has consequently remained COVID-free throughout.

Friars Mead is home to 27 residents over 55 years of age with a wide variety of needs. It provides spacious studio rooms with an en-suite bathroom for each resident, homemade meals every day, plus the use of a mini library, beautiful landscaped gardens and other communal areas to facilitate socialising and activities.

With vulnerable residents for whom uncertainty and change can be daunting, Karoline has ensured that her team can continue to provide the best service possible. No agency staff have needed to be employed to cover for others, which is important to maintain an air of familiarity and security within the home, and is testament to the high standards of safety which are maintained for both residents and staff.

Karoline herself has been instrumental in sourcing PPE for her team, carrying out tests on her colleagues and residents and chasing for results, all the while managing the home so that residents continue to be cared for, occupied and entertained.

Geoff Fairfield, Chairman of the AHRCS, said,


Karoline is incredibly deserving of such an accolade. She has preserved an atmosphere of tranquillity at Friars Mead during an incredibly stressful time. She has not panicked and has been very calm and level-headed throughout the whole period, and this has permeated through to the residents and staff. We are delighted that she has been shortlisted for a Great British Care Award and we will all be cheering for her.

We will find out if the nominees have been successful in winning a GBCA Award at a gala ceremony, to be held in Nottingham and on London’s South Bank respectively in April 2021. Good luck all!