Custom Search 1

Woman of the Year Award: Birmingham care worker shortlisted

CARING: Valerie Paragon, who has been shortlisted for a Women of the Year award, with one of the residents she looks after

A BIRMINGHAM care manager, who is the driving force behind a unique and vibrant care scheme for elderly people, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Valerie Paragon, the service manager at Mary Street Extra Care Service, has been shortlisted for the Woman of the Year accolade at the 2018 Women in Housing Awards, which celebrates the achievements of outstanding women working in the housing sector.

Paragon said: “When I heard about the nomination and the shortlisting for this award, I was absolutely speechless and anyone who knows me will tell you that is a first.

“Precisely what it is that I have done to warrant this nomination is beyond me, but I am very proud to have been put forward, nonetheless.”

In her role, Paragon leads and inspires Mary Street’s dedicated team of staff to deliver a heartfelt service to those in their care, helping to provide a varied, engaging and stimulating schedule of events that ensures their time at the centre is as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.

The centre in Balsall Heath provides individualised support for up to 20 elderly residents – many of whom are living with dementia – who choose to live as independently and happily as possible within an African Caribbean cultural setting.

Paragon has taken it upon herself to organise special celebrations to enrich the lives of her residents.

Realising that one of her residents would be turning 100 years old – the first at Mary Street to reach the milestone – Paragon set out to deliver a special celebration.

Not only did she and her team organise a party in the his honour, she personally arranged for Wade Lyn, Jamaica’s honorary consul, to be the guest of honour and present the resident with his birthday card from Her Royal Highness, The Queen.

When it became clear that another resident wouldn’t be able to fly over to America to attend the wedding of her daughter, Paragon stepped in to help once again.

She liaised closely with the family and helped the resident to record a video message which was played at the ceremony, ensuring she could still be part of her daughter’s big day, despite being thousands of miles away.

In her role as service manager, she also assumes sombre duties. She regularly attends funeral and memorial services for her former residents, often in lieu of family or friends, to deliver readings and heartfelt eulogies to people who she regards as members of her own extended family.

On top of her daily duties, she also finds time to be an avid fundraiser for a number of charities close to her heart and those of her residents.

She is an ambassador for the Stroke Association and was chosen as the national face of the charity’s Make May Purple fundraising effort. In May, she ran the 5k Race for Life in Birmingham to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Reflecting on being shortlisted, Paragon said: “I have been telling people for years that I am a whole lot of woman – this would only serve to endorse that self-belief.

“On a serious note, I’d like to thank everyone for the recognition and best wishes ahead of the awards.”

Louise Platt, Longhurst Group’s Executive Director of Care and Business Partnerships, added: “On behalf of everyone at Longhurst Group, I’d like to congratulate Valerie for this fantastic recognition of her incredible work.

“Everything we do at Longhurst Group is to improve the lives of our customers and Valerie is a shining example of that, so it’s brilliant to see her hard work recognised.”

The awards ceremony, held by Inside Housing magazine, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Housing, will take place on Thursday, October 11 at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.

Mary Street Extra Care Service is managed by Friendship Care and Housing – part of Longhurst Group. The Longhurst Group is one of the leading providers of housing, care and support services in the Midlands and East of England.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.

Facebook Comments