Balhousie Care Group is being recognised with three major award nominations, two of them for a young staff member who is emerging as a rising star in the care sector.

The 25-strong care home group has been shortlisted for two Scottish Social Services Awards and a prestigious RCNi Award. One of the SSSA nominations recognises Balhousie Care’s dementia care practices and a highly successful project in cognitive stimulation therapy. The other two nominations recognise Tanya Smith, an activities coordinator at Balhousie Huntly in Aberdeenshire.

Smith, 23, is a finalist in the Healthcare Assistant category in the RCNi Nurse Awards and in the Bright Spark category of the SSSA Awards. As one of Balhousie Care Group’s dementia ambassadors – staff members in each home who champion the company’s dementia programme – Tanya is making a mark for her innovative approaches to caring for the elderly. These have included resident awards, an indoor garden for people with dementia, music and exercise sessions, cinema nights, and liaising with local farmers to bring their lambs into the home during lambing season. The last lambing visit made national headlines when it was captured by a BBC TV crew.

Claire Docherty, Head of Operations at Balhousie Care Group, said:

“We’re thrilled that Balhousie Care Group has been recognised once more for its innovative practices, particularly in the field of dementia care. I think this is testament to the dedication of our staff both in care homes and at head office level, to provide not only highly personalised care for our residents, but to do it in an innovative and fun way.”

Yvonne Manson, Operations Dementia Manager at Balhousie Care Group and winner of the 2018 RCNi Leadership Award, said:

“I’m proud of the hard work of all of our dementia ambassadors, who are represented in each of our 25 care homes. Tanya is emerging as a fabulous ambassador not only for our dementia practices but for the social care sector in general. I love that we’re attracting such promising talent at Balhousie Care Group.”

Smith said she was “hugely honoured and chuffed to bits” about the nominations. The next step for her is to attend an RCNi judging panel in London. Winners of the SSSA Awards will be announced in June, and the RCNi Awards in July.