A care manager from Swansea has been rewarded for her exceptional work over 20 years.
At a ceremony in Cardiff City Hall Andrea Lock was presented with a bronze award for the high standard she demands from herself and the support she gives colleagues.
Andrea, 62, from Killay, won the award in the category for Excellence in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in this year’s Wales Care Awards.
The awards are organized by Care Forum Wales to recognise exceptional practice in the care sector and the ceremony was hosted by singer and presenter Wynne Evans, popularly known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV adverts.
The event was sponsored by Ontex Healthcare and Barchester Jobs, and Andrea’s category was sponsored by Educ8 Ltd and Home Instead Senior Care.
For many years Andrea worked for Swansea City Council before joining Family Housing Association in 1999. The Association runs a supported housing scheme for people with mental health issues and has about 90 tenants at any given time.
She has worked at management level for most of her time with FHA and was co-ordinator for the Working for Independence in Supported Housing (WISH) project for many years. She is currently registered manager for the Association’s St Helens scheme in which there are 22 tenants in six supported units.
She was nominated for the award by Operations Manager Shirley Jones, with several supporting testimonials from colleagues.
“It was not difficult to consider Andrea for this award due to her dedication over the years to the tenants who use our service,” said Shirley.
Initially all FHA’s projects were temporary but Andrea identified that some individuals kept reappearing in the system after failing to cope with a return to unsupported living, what she dubbed the “revolving door syndrome”.
She was therefore instrumental in introducing long-term provision which, according to Shirley, has helped them stay well in the community.
“I now line-manage Andrea but still draw on her experience when dealing with difficult situations as there isn’t much she does not know in this field,” she said.
Sarah Mills, who has worked alongside Andrea for 18 years, described her as “a real team player” who is passionate about promoting the independence of vulnerable adults.
Another colleague, Mark Davies, said she was an inspiration to all, adding: “She is always on hand to provide advice to other managers and staff, and her detailed knowledge of the tenant group, coupled with her empathetic nature, ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of the tenants.”
Andrea said she derived great satisfaction from training staff to a high standard and seeing tenants enjoying a good quality life through the support offered to them.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, visiting relatives and walking in the Gower, from where she originates, and also visiting her daughter and two grandchildren in Cambridge.
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.”