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Natasha wins GB Care Award

Gloucestershire carer Natasha Richardson has been named Home Carer of the Year at the prestigious Great British Care Awards South West, during a ceremony held in Bristol.

Now Natasha, 21, from Yate, who works for Stroud-based homecare provider DoCare, will go forward to the national finals next year.

It was a personal tragedy – the death of her mother when she was just 14 – that inspired Natasha to follow a career in care.

“I saw the care my Mum was given when she was ill and it really encouraged me to give it a go,” said Natasha. “I really didn’t expect to win this award but I am delighted.”

Initially, Natasha trained in childcare but was drawn towards older people, and wanted to look after them. She started her career in homecare in 2012, with DoCare’s team based in Yate, and quickly became a huge hit with the clients and her colleagues, resulting in her being named Support Worker of the Year, at the company’s annual in-house awards in April.

She said: “I love spending time with the clients. We have one lady, for example, who likes to talk about her days in the West Indies and I love hearing her stories.”

Dorothy, another of DoCare’s client, said: “I think she is really excellent. She knows what to do before I even have to ask her. There are 18 steps I have to go up and down, and she always makes sure she goes in front of me or behind me as I can feel wobbly sometimes. She memorises everything so she never needs to ask about something more than once. She’s very kind and I look forward to her visits.”

DoCare founder and Operations Director Una Mills said: “We were absolutely delighted that Natasha won. It's a heavily contested category and we were told by one of the judges that she won by a good margin.”

DoCare also had two other members of the team in the finals: Jinny Searle was shortlisted for the Dementia Carer award and Anne Rogers for the Care Newcomer award.

Una added: “We are very proud of all three of them. They are but three of an army of high class support workers backed up by our excellent team leaders, managers and office staff.”

DoCare is no stranger to winning care awards. One of its area managers, Kerry-Ann Lees, was named Dementia Carer of the Year at the national finals of the Great British Care Awards in 2011, and Una and husband and co-director Steve were finalists in this year’s Care Employer Award category of the same awards.