Mother-of-two Helen, 42, and husband Dean, are both registered childminders who run Blythswood Childminding Services from their large Victorian detached house in Norman Road in Wrexham.
Helen will be one of the finalists at the Wales Care Awards organised by Care Forum Wales.
She has been nominated for the “Innovation in Residential Care for Children” Award, sponsored by Prospects.
The glittering presentation evening will be held at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 18.
In 2004, son Dyfan was born with the extremely rare condition chromosome 8 deletion – the only child in Britain to have it and one of only five in the world.
He has complex health needs and when he was born Dyfan’s parents were told he would never walk or talk. Happily, the youngster has proved doctors wrong. “He’s a chatterbox. He’s such a little fighter,” Helen said.
Dyfan was born with meningitis and two holes in the heart which required surgery at the age of six months. The youngster is also partially sighted and has a hearing impairment and other health problems. His early years were spent between Wrexham and Alder Hey Hospitals, a horrendous time for his family.
Helen said: “As a family we were entitled to a few hours a week of free respite care and so we could place him with a child carer in the area. However, when I looked there was no-one out there really capable and trained to meet his complex needs. I decided that I wanted to do something about this lack of provision for children with disabilities and started my own specialised setting.”
Welsh-learner Helen, a qualified Zumba instructor, has a raft of awards. She recently won two City and Guilds Lions’ Awards including an Outstanding Achievement Award. Last year she was declared “Tesco Mum of the Year,” meeting David Cameron at No. 10 and celebrities, and in 2011 she was “Student of the Year” at Deeside College, now part of Coleg Cambria, for her high standards in her National Vocational Qualification (NVQ). Two years ago she also won the “Family Hero Award for Wales.”
The couple look after children from just a few weeks old to 14 years, with and without disabilities. Helen has been a childminder for eleven years and before this was a personal assistant to a breast surgeon.
After taking a childminding course and registering, she set up a business which is now the biggest childminding setting at Wrexham. Dean joined as a registered childminder in 2008 which enabled them to provide more spaces for children.
Catherine Rowell at Coleg Cambria, who manages the work-based learning team in health and social care, said: “Helen is an absolute inspiration to other learners. She has lots of children with special needs. Children love her and parents speak very highly of her.”
Care Forum Wales represents more than 500 care homes and independent care sector organisations across Wales. It works to help members provide high-quality services and dignity in care for the elderly and others in need of social care.
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.
“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.
“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.
“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”