Norfolk’s Extra Hands has announced the winners of its latest Going the Extra Mile Awards.
Carers Mark Potter and Daniela Silva have both been chosen after a raft of nominations were sent to the home care company’s offices in Heacham and Horsham St Faith.
Mark, 56, of Cromer, is described as being ‘so kind and patient’ in one of the nominations sent to Extra Hands, which has been operating for 27 years in the county.
The father-of-four was genuinely surprised to be told he was the Horsham St Faith office’s GEM winner for December - and says he even felt a bit guilty at the news.
“I was pleased and like all of us, it’s lovely and very kind of people, but you do think of all your colleagues and feel guilty really, they all work just as hard,” he said.
Along with his colleagues, Mark has worked throughout this year with Extra Hands - which was one of the first in the county offering wellbeing checks for relatives, friends or carers who can’t visit regularly.
“The hardest thing for most of them has been missing their families. They are all really looking forward to having the vaccine and getting a bit more back to normal.”
Alongside all his colleagues, he has been working hard during the most difficult of years, and says he is looking forward to his service users being able to get vaccinated against Coronavirus in the very near future.
“Nothing phases him and he deals with any situation calmly and professionally," one nomination read. "We watched Mark supporting his [service-user’s] arm as he chatted away and while they walked along the seafront, we knew he couldn’t be in more capable hands.”
Daniela, 27, has been with award-winning Extra Hands for nearly three years and is based at the company’s Heacham office, which has been rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.
Daniela chose to work with Extra Hands because she likes helping people and she was really surprised to be a GEM winner.
“I absolutely love this job and it is very gratifying to be nominated - I have never won before. I do not know a single person in this job who does not deserve an award,” she said.
Having arrived in England four years ago, she was determined to carve a caring career for herself after working as a waitress and in factories to begin with.
Daniela is a ‘natural carer’ according to one nomination, which also said she "seems to research conditions her service users have, therefore being able to understand the difficulties, and in my case, how things can change from day to day".
The nomination continues: “She is instinctive and I'm sure she cares for every service user the way she cares for me. I think she is amazing; intuitive, caring and will always go the extra mile should you be having a bad day. She does it in a way that you feel she is doing it to make your day that bit better or more comfortable. She is an asset to the company.”
Both winners will receive a special GEM Award trophy as well as gift vouchers as a thank-you for their hard work.
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