Balhousie Care Group staff shortlisted in National Care Awards

A carer and an activities coordinator working for Balhousie Care Group have reached the finals of the prestigious National Care Awards.

Lavinia Tanu of Balhousie Pitlochry care home has been shortlisted in the Carer category, which recognises the “vital role” care assistants have in providing quality care, say the organisers.

Lavinia, who has worked at the Perthshire home since it opened 10 years ago, grew up in Romania where, she says, respect for elders is strong. “As carers it’s our job to be a family to our residents and to show them respect at the same time. They and their relatives entrust us to do that,” says Lavinia.

Tanya Smith of Balhousie Huntly in Aberdeenshire has been nominated in the Care Activities Coordinator category, which awards someone who has made “an exceptional contribution to the quality of life, health and happiness of all the people they support through activities”, say the organisers.

Tanya hit national headlines this year with an activity she runs annually at the Aberdeenshire home –  inviting newborn lambs in for some animal therapy with residents. The story was picked up by ITV’s This Morning, BBC TV, Radio Scotland and Radio 4.

Tanya, who this year reached the finals of both the RCNi Nurse Awards and Scottish Social Services Awards, said: “I’m thrilled to be nominated for work that I love doing day in, day out. Catering to the individual activity needs of residents, offering person-centred care and seeing the smiles on the residents’ faces just makes my day.”

Lavinia and Tanya, who both beat hundreds of nominees to reach the finals, will meet a judging panel on October 11 in London. The National Care Awards winners will be announced at a glittering gala night on November 28 at the Hilton Metropole in London, with more than 700 guests in attendance.

Jill Kerr, Group Chief Executive Officer of Balhousie Care Group, said: “At Balhousie Care Group we call our staff Everyday Heroes and it’s a phrase that speaks volumes. It sums up the respect we have for the devotion of staff like Lavinia and Tanya who are at the frontline of care, delivering to the diverse and changing needs of our residents on a daily basis across 25 homes. That’s why it’s important to see them recognised with these nominations, which are very well deserved.”