Awards success for Surrey maritime care home

The training and development at Banstead-based maritime charity and care home, the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, has been recognised at the postponed 2020 Great British Care Awards which took place on 23 July.

The Society’s in-house trainer Sharon Hicks won the Workforce Development Award for the South East in acknowledgment of her efforts to maintain high levels of staff training throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Royal Alfred caters for retired seafarers, their families, and dependents – as well as those living with dementia – at its care home Belvedere House. The charity brought Sharon on board in 2019 when the senior team identified learning and development as a key area to not only support its colleagues who required regular training but to bring more consistency for residents.

Sharon has been instrumental in the smooth-running of Belvedere House over the last three years and particularly during the pandemic. The Workforce Development Award recognises the importance of training and support within the care sector and champions those who have helped meet the development needs of care staff.

Sharon Hicks, Home Trainer, said of her award win: “Winning the Workforce Development Award means so much to me and is testament to the Society itself, which invests so much time and effort in fostering a culture of learning and development. Investing in our workforce and in staff training means we are able to keep talented and caring individuals at Belvedere House long-term, resulting in a comforting environment and continuity of care for residents.

“I genuinely couldn’t think of a better place to work, and I’m pleased to be able to support such a talented team with their training and development needs, as well as play my part in nurturing a strong workforce that will shape the future of the home.”

Sharon provides bespoke training for colleagues at the Society, delivering more than 1,000 hours of training annually. During the pandemic, she adapted courses to ensure they could still be delivered; with more e-learning programmes, smaller session sizes, and more one-to-one training. Sharon delivers on average eight different courses per month for staff across the home and also helped establish the Society’s specialist Maritime Acquaint Training programme which provides an insight to the lives of seafaring residents so that their care can be tailored to their individual requirements.

As well as managing all training for colleagues, Sharon also coordinates the Society’s information boards for its equality, diversity, and inclusion programme.

Brian Boxall-Hunt, CEO at the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, said: “We are incredibly proud of what Sharon has achieved in her relatively short time with the Society – she has gone far beyond the call of duty over the last 18 months and thoroughly deserves this award for her dedication to our home and to the development of our fantastic team.

“When we had to reduce class sizes to three attendees during the pandemic, Sharon delivered so many courses to ensure our training levels remained high which, when you consider that we have 86 colleagues who each have to complete numerous mandatory classes, is a mammoth task.”

The Great British Care Awards is a series of regional events throughout the UK celebrating excellence across the care sector. As a regional winner of the 2020 Great British Care Awards in the South East, Sharon and the Royal Alfred are through to the National Finals which take place on 25 September at The ICC, Birmingham.

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