Lesley Megarity of Domestic Care Services, Joan Telford of Mears Care NI, winner in the Domiciliary Care Manager category, and Nuala McKeever at the Northern Ireland Independent Care Awards.
JOAN Telford, the Manager of Mears Care in Lisburn, has won a prestigious Care Award at the recent Northern Ireland Independent Healthcare Awards.
Joan, from Saintfield, leads a team of 225 care staff at the Sackville
Street-based branch, and scooped her award in the Domiciliary Care Manager
category. The branch has grown significantly under Joan's stewardship,
delivering more than 5,000 hours of care per week to almost 500 clients.
Joan was one of the ten winners at the awards, which were announced at a Gala Ball in the Ramada Hotel in Belfast last week.
Joan said she was "absolutely delighted" to have picked up the award.
She added: "It's great, I did not expect it so it was super to win; it's good for the carers and all of the office staff."
Joan, who has been with the company for almost ten years, said she had been delighted just to be nominated and reach the final five.
She then had to go through an interview before making it to the final three.
"I was delighted with the accolade, it is super for the branch and all the staff who make my job easier" she said.
Joan, who is married to Alan and has a daughter Laura and son Kyle, was accompanied by her daughter at the gala evening, where fellow care worker John Moore was also nominated for an award.
Joan said: "It was just a great night for all. My family have all been supporting me so much, I wanted to lift it for them. My mother was so delighted."
"These awards recognise people in Northern Ireland who go way above and beyond the call of duty every day," said Eddy Kerr, Chair of the Independent Health and Care Providers (IHCP).
In addition to her core duties, Joan has had great success in fundraising, with over £20,000 raised for good causes. She also founded the 'Mearly Care Bear' scheme which sees staff and elderly service users come together to knit teddy bears which are then sent to vulnerable children in the developing world. The scheme has seen nearly 4,000 bears knitted and taken to Belarus, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
Joan explained: "My mum's women's club in Church were knitting bears and she asked if I could get them to orphanages in Romania and the Philippines, where I have done some missionary work. I brought the idea into our branch and when the Chairman came over he thought it was a great idea. It also gives our clients purpose and has really helped us to makes links in the community. There are schools involved, Stepping Stones, the Rowan Centre. It is also good for the carers to be doing something together."
Joan concluded: "I'd like to thank Alistair Fitzsimons, the Operations Manager, who really does support me in the branch; I couldn't do my job without him. I'd like to thank the crew, we have a very good team, and my mother Iris Taylor."