More than 60 staff, people using services and guests came together recently for Vivo Care Choices’ very first Employee Awards.

Vivo has new CARE values – caring, aspire, respect and enable – and the Employee Awards helps celebrate all the fantastic work staff do to improve the lives of the people they support.

Following some speeches and performances from people using services, the main awards ceremony began, with six different categories in total.

Pauline Davies won the Customer Service Award for how she went above and beyond during the pandemic – often in her own time – to make sure people continued doing the activities they love, while Julie McGurty was given the Role Model Award for the way she coped in a brand-new service as Vivo and its staff had to adapt in the first lockdown.

The Team Award went to Winsford Supported Living for the way the service coped in challenging times, having to provide care and support 24-hours-a-day and supporting more people who didn’t have any care outside of Vivo during the pandemic.

The Innovation and Value for Money Award was given to Philip Myers-Shone for advocating the importance of mental health support and being a huge help to both staff and people using services, while Karen Bunnagar picked up the Spirit of Vivo and Community Award for the work she has done over many years to support the Chester Self-Advocacy Group and provide people using services with a strong voice in the community.

The Family and Carers Engagement Award was handed to Fiona Gibson and Johnny Crawford for the extra care and support they provided for an individual who sadly lost his mother during the pandemic and needed help to continue living independently.

There was also Special Recognition for Shared Lives and Gary Hayward. Shared Lives receives a significant number of compliments from carers, family members, people using services and partners Vivo works closely with, while Gary’s invaluable support to teams across Vivo has helped them get the personal protective equipment (PPE) they needed during the pandemic and continue to improve the facilities available.

Following the various categories and special recognitions, Karen Bunnagar was named the overall Employee of the Year, recognising the incredible work she has done to benefit the lives of people being supported by Vivo over many years.

Full list of winners

  • Customer Service Award – Pauline Davies
  • Role Model Award – Julie McGurty
  • Team Award – Winsford Supported Living
  • Innovation and Value for Money Award – Philip Myers-Shone
  • Spirit of Vivo and Community Award – Karen Bunnagar
  • Family and Carers Engagement Award – Fiona Gibson and Johnny Crawford
  • Special Recognition – Shared Lives and Gary Hayward
  • Employee of the Year – Karen Bunnagar

Alistair Jeffs, Managing Director of Vivo, said: “After such challenging times for Vivo and the care sector, the Employee Awards was probably a lift everyone needed.

“At Vivo, we want to have an skilled workforce with the right values and a key part of achieving that is making sure staff feel valued for the amazing work they do.

“While it was fantastic for people to receive awards, it was very much about recognising all the work everyone had done across Vivo.

“It was inspiring to hear all the stories about the nominees and the real difference they’ve made to the people we support, along with their carers and family members.

“We’re really excited to host more Employee Awards in the future and build on a very successful first event.”