Selfless Blackwood Couple Hailed Social Care Heroes

A selfless couple whose lives have been dedicated to helping others less fortunate than themselves are in line for a major award.

Jeff and Lynne Gornicki are in line for a prestigious award despite claiming, with typical modesty, that their work is ample reward in itself.

For 40 years the couple from Wyllie, near Blackwood, have provided support for vulnerable people, initially as foster carers and then within the South East Wales Shared Lives Scheme run by Caerphilly County Borough Council.

It was Shaun Nicholls, who is employed in the council scheme, who nominated them for one of this year’s Wales Care Awards, and they have been shortlisted in the category for the Peter Clarke Award for promoting excellence in services for children and young people, sponsored by Care Inn Ltd.

The awards are organised by Care Forum Wales to acknowledge excellence in the caring profession. It is the 15th anniversary of the awards and the 25th of Care Forum Wales, and this year’s ceremony will be held in Cardiff City Hall on October 19th.

Jeff and Lynne became foster parents when their own sons, Mark and Robert, were only seven and two years’ old respectively. Their first foster child “J”, who is autistic and has cerebral palsy, “J” is still living with them – at the age of 40.

It was to ensure stability and consistency for the young man that they initially became Carer’s within the Shared Lives Scheme

The scheme supports adults with a variety of needs in maintaining long-term arrangements within a family setting

“J had never known anyone else and we wanted him to stay with us,” said Lynne, who first gained experience while caring for her brother, who has learning difficulties.

Jeff and Lynne, also provide care and support for two other adults within the family home

Though Jeff is now 68 and Lynne two years younger they have no plans to retire because they love what they do.

“I have never got up in the morning and thought ‘I don’t want to do this’,“ Lynne said.

She said they were overwhelmed to have been nominated and then shortlisted for the award.

Shaun described them as “the very embodiment of the type of carers that we hope to recruit and they consistently demonstrate why they are so highly thought of by the people who access their support”.

“To say that they go above and beyond their role would be an understatement of colossal proportions and in my opinion there have never been two more deserving nominees to have their contribution to the care industry acknowledged like this,” he said.

He described the couple as “selfless beyond belief, compassionate, caring, pro-active, non-judgmental and patient”, always striving to advocate for vulnerable people and to achieve the best possible outcomes.

“They offer 24/7 support and are regularly called upon during the night to support individuals,” he added.

Jeff and Lynne take respite breaks, during which Jeff and Lynne enjoy visiting other parts of Britain for weekends and other short stays, and both enjoy walking. They are now looking forward to attend the presentation evening.

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.

He said: “This year’s ceremony is an even more special occasion because it marks the 15th anniversary of the awards and the 25th anniversary of Care Forum Wales, and the event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.

“The aim is to recognize 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,” he added.

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