Optalis Star Awards Winners 2020

In our organisation, recognising and celebrating outstanding staff achievements and innovation is one of our priorities. The STAR Awards are a brilliant opportunity to do just that. It’s a real shame that we were unable to hold our Award Ceremony Event, due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, we took the decision to push ahead with the STAR Awards to ensure that colleagues and teams who received a nomination get the recognition they deserve.

We know that the winners and short-listed candidates who are celebrated here are by no means the only ones that have made a difference to our customers, particularly over the past few months, where every colleague has stepped up and shown continued professionalism and dedication.

Our winners for 2020 are listed below: 

Communication Award

Maria - Communication Award Winner, holding certificate

Maria Harrison, Physical Disabilities and Older People’s Team

Maria is approachable, helpful, calm and dependable and willing to share her knowledge with whomever needs it. If Maria does not have the answer, she will independently research to expand her knowledge which she then shares with the whole team.

Maria will provide a listening ear to anyone in need. Maria is observant and notices when someone might need some extra support, which she gives discreetly and mindfully. Maria will check in on that individual to ensure their continued well-being. Maria is kind and empathetic to all. As Maria’s manager I have great faith and confidence in all that she does. Maria is able to communicate effectively and successfully with all, and builds rapport quickly and with ease. Maria is able to diffuse stressful situations with service users with her calm approach. Maria is always professional and respectful with colleagues and represents herself and the organisation to an outstanding level.

Respect Award

Respect Award winner Olivia

Olivia Macleay, Physical Disabilities and Older People’s Team
Olivia stands out for her approach to social work. One case that stands out is regarding a lady (Z) who we were receiving concerns about. Z had declined services and any involvement from adult social care. The concerns became so concerning that partner agencies were applying pressure to place Z in a 24-hour care setting despite this not being Z’s preference. Olivia showed great determination in respecting everyone’s view but keeping Z at the forefront of any decisions.

Olivia didn’t make any judgement regarding Z, respected her choices and as a result was able to build rapport with Z which enabled services to be introduced at a pace that Z was comfortable with.

Olivia was able to respect the views of all involved parties and above all respected the wishes and views of Z. Any decisions made would have impacted Z the most and Olivia kept this as her focus.

Enjoyable and Rewarding Award

Enjoyable and Rewarding Award winner Peter

Peter Hughes, Fosters Extra Care

One day Peter got chatting to a customer and heard about this gentleman’s life as a Saville Row tailor. Whilst on a trip, Peter took the time to visit some of this customer’s old haunts and took photographs. He presented the photos in a folder, which he gifted to the customer. This brought great joy to the customer and encouraged him to share more about his earlier life.

The category we are nominating Peter for is Enjoyable and Rewarding, due to his commitment to brightening the day of the people he supports. His cheerful demeanour is infectious and our customers always look forward to seeing him on shift. When working with customers he gives them his attention and makes them feel special. He is eager to learn from our more experienced staff and is keen to develop his practice

Customer Service Award

Customer Service Award winner Kim

Kim Waters, Woodley Learning Disability Day Service

Kim uses communication aids such as Makaton to enhance their ability to understand, and to give them ability to express their choices.

Kim delivers high quality sessions, listening to customers suggestions. With the customers in her Sensory Story session, she created a wonderful world in a small room where the group get to experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a country as they ‘travel’ around the world. Kim brings fabrics, items of clothing, small pots containing spices, fragrances, appropriate music and DVD’s. She supports the customers to make a landscape backdrop with things like skyscrapers in New York, Pyramids in Egypt, gondolas and ice creams in Italy. This lovely environment is just an example of the massive efforts Kim puts into her sessions.

In short, every day Kim looks for ways to bring out the abilities of our customers and to offer them new and memorable experiences.

Continuous Development Award 

Continuous Development award winner Tanya

Tanya Snooks, Physical Disabilities and Older People’s Team

Tanya has consistently expressed an interest in completing her social work training and has worked towards that goal diligently and with determination. Tanya has embraced complex casework to enhance her skills and to increase her knowledge. Tanya moved from social care practitioner to senior social care practitioner as her knowledge and skills increased.

Tanya was successful in her application for the social work apprenticeship. Tanya has embraced her studies and it is clear she is working hard to achieve her ambition.
As Tanya’s manager I am enjoying watching her confidence and professional curiosity grow. This has also had a positive impact on the wider team who can see a clear pathway for career development within the organisation.

Tanya has demonstrated her desire for continuous development. She has completed reading and research outside of her working hours to increase her skills and knowledge and to assist in her application.

Unsung Hero Award

Unsung Hero Award Winner Danny

Danny Lewis, 1-2 Abel Gardens

Danny will help anyone and often will work over his time because; he knows he can make a difference. When he brings the customers he supports to the Boyn Grove Day Centre, He goes out of his way to help the staff there. He is always on hand to assist in any situation. Nothing is too much trouble. If I need to pass on a message to the team at Abel gardens I know if I have spoken to Danny then I can rest assured that he will do this without question.
Danny is more than a driver. He is empathetic with the customers who, he knows very well. They all respond positively to him. A very unassuming man, Danny is truly an Unsung Hero who gives 100% exceptional customer service to all our customers. He deserves, to the moon and back, to be recognized for his work.

Outstanding Team Effort CEO’s Award

Outstanding Team Effort CEO's Award winners Wokingham Learning Disability Day Service Team

Wokingham Learning Disability Day Service Team

The hard work of the team has led to great compliments, one of which won the team compliment of the month.
We have carried a number of vacancies for over a year which has put the team under pressure daily. However, they have pulled together, and help each other cover gaps that we have. They also have to be very flexible as they are regularly changed from their usual activities to cover gaps in the programme –the staff do not grumble, they understand our position and continue to work with a smile upon their faces.
They consider the viewpoints and ideas of other people as well, which has been evidenced in team meetings.
Our clients regularly tell us how much they love coming to the service, which is largely down to the dedication to provide the best level of care from our staff team.

Previous article

Optalis teams celebrate 10 years

Team across the Optalis organisation celebrated the tenth anniversary this month with a series of events.