A passionate senior care support worker who scooped a double prize at a top awards ceremony offered one of them to a man who “gave his life to social care.”
Modest Denis Mulcahy won gold at the 2022 Wales Care Awards in Cardiff last week, but after hearing his story, felt that fellow finalist, Morton Webber was more deserving of the accolade.
The 51-year-old was honoured for his dedication and commitment to his role at Ucan Care Ltd, Hillside in Pontypridd.
Among his achievements was helping a resident overcome addiction and reunite with his estranged son after eight years, as well as helping others regain control of their lives, be it through losing weight, gaining independence or getting on top of their finances.
Denis won gold in the Dignity in Care category for which he didn’t know he was shortlisted and was also nominated for the Supported Living or Small Group Community Living Care Practitioner Award for which he won bronze.
But the news is still sinking in for the father-of-two after the glittering presentation ceremony, which was sponsored by Ontex Healthcare and hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.
He said: “I was absolutely shocked to have even been shortlisted, let alone win these awards, it is very overwhelming and humbling.
“I was listening to the story of Morton Webber (from the SEW Shared Lives Scheme) and wanted him to accept the honour because he gave his life to social care and as much as it meant the world to me to be nominated, I felt he was more deserving.
“He had my deepest respect for what he has done for the people of Wales.”
Morton and his wife Cynthia earned plaudits in their own right by scooping gold for the Spirit of Care award at the annual event, run in association with Care Forum Wales, a not-for-profit organisation set up in 1993 to give independent care providers a single professional voice with which to speak on one of the most important issues of our time – how to provide better quality care for those who need it most.
Originally a plasterer, Denis, who lives in Trehafod, Pontypridd with his partner has worked in the health and social services sector for 13 years, joining Ucan Care Limited in 2016 providing supported living for adults with a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition.
He has worked across the fields of rehabilitation, respite, dementia, daily living skills, respite, palliative care in a variety of settings such as hospitals, domiciliary care and supported living.
Denis was praised for working on a one-to-one basis with one resident, helping him manage his own finances and make better lifestyle choices.
He also helped him get back in touch with his son after eight years which had a huge benefit on his well being with his family commenting it’s the “best they’ve ever seen him.”
He was also hailed for being a “positive influence” on others, giving them the confidence to be more independent and sociable.
Denis added: “Being at the awards ceremony was one of the best moments of my life, it was an amazing night and everyone was made to feel so special with so many facets of the profession being represented, I will remember it forever.
“It makes you realise how much support is out there and how many thousands of committed workers dedicate themselves to helping others on a daily basis.
“Just being there among them was a huge honour and I’m still in shock.
“This is for everyone who ever believed in me and taught me so much. They will never understand how much it means.”
Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the ceremony was all the more poignant because of the Covid pandemic and what front line staff had endured.
He said: “I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to all the wonderful people who work in social care after the rose magnificently and courageously to meet the unprecedented challenges they have faced over the past couple of years.
“We have always recognised their true value and hopefully now the rest of Wales is also aware of how lucky we are as a nation to have them providing care and safeguarding our most vulnerable people.
“Our finalists are the best of the best and are here representing the whole social care workforce who all deserve a big pat on the back.
“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 and in the months and years to come.
“In the words of the powerful song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, let the Diolch last forever.
”We take our hats off to them.”