Community heroes honoured at Aberdeen ceremony to hail charitable efforts

Equal Partners in Care group (EPIC) won the Integrated Working Award for their work in helping to resolve carers’ issues.
Equal Partners in Care group (EPIC) won the Integrated Working Award for their work in helping to resolve carers’ issues.

Heroes of the health sector have been recognised in a glittering awards ceremony in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen City’s Health and Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP) held its second annual HEART awards, which seek to reward and celebrate people, teams and projects from across the wider health and social care sector.

Around 350 colleagues from across the Partnership, and third and independent sectors, attended the event at the Beach Ballroom on Thursday.

The HEART awards – “Having Exceptional Achievement Recognised Together” – gathered more than 60 nominations for teams and individuals for the seven award categories.

An executive team and Integration Joint Board (IJB) member judges whittled down the nominations to shortlists of three finalists in each category. And the seven winners each received a commemorative HEART Awards plaque.

Balnagask Supported Living Learning Disability Service took home the award for Hearing Others – Community and Inclusion for their work in supporting individuals who have learning disabilities and complex behavioural needs.

The team were praised for the person-centred work, and their nominator explained “they were blown away with their approach and communication with the individuals they support”, describing them as “priceless and inclusive”.

Hazel McAllan and Christina Geddes, who run Balnagask Social Music Group, with ACHSCP Clinical Lead Dr Stephen Lynch

The Empowering People Award was gifted to the staff of North East Sensory Services (NESS).

NESS, made up of 50 staff and more than 100 volunteers, is dedicated to helping those with a sensory impairment to lead more fulfilling, independent and healthy lives.

The team supports more than 6,500 people by providing social work, specialist equipment, advice and signposting.

Anonymous nomination forms stated that “the NESS team work hard to support every service user to become more independent and to live a more fulfilling, healthy life”.

The accolade of Aberdeen’s Choice – The Community’s Award was bestowed to local charity, Alcohol and Drugs Action (ADA).

The charity, formed in 1986, was praised for its work in empowering service-users by championing their recovery and bringing people together.

Volunteer co-ordinator Anne McAlister said: “The volunteers and the staff were absolutely delighted. It was a lovely evening and we were pleased to be a part of it.”

The Integrated Working Award gong, nicknamed #TeamAberdeen, was awarded to the Equal Partners in Care (EPIC) group at Royal Cornhill for their work in resolving carer issues.

The group – comprising of Susan Clegg, Gill Moffat, Arlene Malcolm, Hilary Benson, Shona Sinkins, John Donaghey, Jane Fletcher, Karen Gunn, Shirley Porter, Jennifer Gibb, Kevin Barclay, Jaqueline Kynoch, Alastair Palin, Shirley Porter, Susan Wright, Debbie Banks and Dan Warrander – help bring together health, social work and third sector staff to identify issues in the area.

Balnagask Supported Living Project won the Communication & Inclusion Award.

Marywell Homeless Practice took home the Beating Heart award for its team’s work on providing homeless clients with access to healthcare.

Nominators for the award praised the practice’s hard work in making clients – who are homeless or in temporary accommodation – feel welcome by saying “every client who walks through the door is treated with dignity, respect and compassion”.

The final accolade – the Staff Choice Award – was given to the organisers of Balnagask Social Music Group, Hazel McAllan and Christina Geddes. The sisters, who call themselves the Torry Quines, entertain senior citizens and their carers by singing and dancing along to traditional Scottish songs, in order to tackle loneliness and isolation.

Those who nominated the sisters said: “Hazel and Christina fundraise tirelessly throughout the year to pay for everything – and they really do deserve a huge thank-you for all their efforts over the years in the area in which they both grew up and still live.”

Hazel said: “Christina and I were delighted to win. The older folk who attend have a great time and since we started the group it has gone from strength to strength.”