A care home owner who was stunned to receive two “Oscars” has said that much of the credit is due to her “fantastic” team of helpers.
Liz Durlucia was a double winner at a ceremony in Cardiff’s City Hall, at which this year’s Wales Care Awards were presented. The awards are organised by Care Forum Wales to reward exceptional standards in the Care Sector.
The ceremony, sponsored by Ontex Healthcare and Barchester Jobs, was held at City Hall, Cardiff, and was hosted by singer and presenter Wynne Evans, popularly known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV advert.
Liz, who owns the Ty Bryn Home in Brynteg, Abersychan, with her husband Adam, won silver in the category for Excellence in Dementia Care, sponsored by All Care (South Wales) Ltd and A Baldwins and Company.
But she was even more surprised to be named as a joint winner of the special Dignity in Care award, sponsored by the Welsh Government and presented on the night by Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children and Social Care.
It was the first time for Liz Durlucia to attend the glittering ceremony and she was accompanied by her husband, deputy manager Rachel Clarke, who had nominated her, and Lynn Tanner, a voluntary worker with Care Home “Ask and Talk”, who visits Ty Bryn regularly.
“I didn’t even know there was a ‘Dignity in Care’ award so it came as a huge surprise,” said Liz.
“It’s lovely to receive this recognition but it wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic staff.”
Liz, 47, who lives in Bridgend, formerly worked in the IT department of Lloyds TSB but switched careers 15 years ago when she started working at the Cardiff residential home owned by her parents-in-law.
When they retired she and Adam took over, and they moved to Ty Bryn nine years ago. Seeing the need for greater provision for dementia patients, they decided to concentrate on that sector. She has since gained a qualification to train staff and carries out her own research to help improve the standard of care.
Liz was nominated for the award by the home’s deputy Rachel Clarke who commented on her enthusiasm for the work.
She has also established a support service for people in the local community who suffer from dementia or are carers.
The nomination was supported by former Newport Council social worker Chris Tolliday who last year nominated Ty Bryn for an Age Cymru award. He wrote: “Providing care to 20 residents who have varying degrees of memory and behaviour problems is never an easy talk but the staff at Ty Bryn are well trained and informed, and work hard to maximise the residents’ individual abilities.
“Ty Bryn goes that extra mile to find solutions and provide dementia care in a warm and caring homely environment. I cannot thank them enough.”
Liz, whose father Anthony died last year, was surprised and delighted to be shortlisted and is looking forward to attending the ceremony.
“I love what I do and find it so rewarding making a difference to peoples’ lives,” she said. “When I come in it doesn’t feel like coming into work, but just like coming from one home to another.”
In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her three children aged 11, 16 and 18, reading and walking the dogs on Newbridge Fields. Husband Adam is a keen supporter of Bridgend Athletics Rugby Club.
Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries was extremely high.
He added: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.
“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.
“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.
“We take our hats off to them.”