Towergate Care Awards 2016 Winners

Having been truly overwhelmed by both the quality and quantity of nominations for the inaugural Towergate Care Awards, our judging panel was eventually able to narrow down each category to three stand-out finalists. Meet our 2016 winners.

On 10th March 2016, the inaugural Towergate Care Awards culminated in a ceremony, welcoming 24 finalists to the Berkeley Hotel in London. Each category winner was presented with their trophy and Red Letter Day vouchers, and two highly commended winners per category received certificates and a hearty round of applause. Last but not least, our Unsung Hero was presented with a trophy and £2500 worth of holiday vouchers.

Click on the tabs below to meet our winners for each category.

Care Home Worker of the Year

Justyna Karbowska

Justyna is a valuable team member at Somerville, a Potens service in Wallasey. Somerville offers intensive support for adults with learning disabilities and complex health needs, including mental health disabilities and behavioural challenges.

Speaking about the awards, Justyna said, “There were some extremely talented and compassionate people nominated, let alone shortlisted for this award and I want to pay credit to every single one of them for the work they do.”

Highly Commended:

  • Maxine Cope, Bristol
  • Chris Balahura, Bangor

In partnership with Care England.

Dedication to Early Years

Jenny Taylor

Jenny works as an ‘intervener’ with Sense Children’s Specialist Services. Her role is to provide one-to-one support to deaf blind children and adults to enable their social and personal development. Her focus is to encourage independence and facilitate communication for the person, with the world around them. Jenny works specifically with children, young people and their families.

Speaking about the awards, Jenny said, “The one to one relationships I have with the people I work with are very rewarding. All of my clients have very different needs and I have to adapt what I do for each individual.”


Highly Commended:

  • Joanna Wilkinson, Romford
  • Caroline Jamieson, Sevenoaks

Practice Manager of the Year

Rachel Dilley

Rachel has been practice manager of Town Hall Dental since it opened in November 2012. Her team describe her as a phenomenal leader who excels at motivating the whole team and continuously improves patient care. She tirelessly guides the team with praise and constructive feedback to go above and beyond. Her strong ethos for creating a patient-centred dental practice has filtered through the team and created a happy "family" environment.

Speaking about the awards, Rachel said, “Fulfilling my role while juggling being a mum and caring full-time for my husband can be hard work, but I am devoted to both my family and my work and really enjoy what I do.”


Highly Commended:

  • Emmy Butcher, Wiltshire
  • Timothy Goldsbrough, Cheshire

Volunteer of the Year

Steve Tallett

Steve is a champion for young people. He has spent the last eight years volunteering as a business adviser for Young Enterprise at Worcester Sixth Form College, helping students to start and run a business. Steve has also worked with young offenders as a volunteer mentor for youth support services and was a volunteer group facilitator and counsellor at Core Community, supporting alcoholics on their journeys to recovery.

Speaking about the awards, Steve said, “I would encourage anyone who wants to give volunteering a go to do so - it's extremely rewarding and it's not like a real job because you can fit it in around your own life."


Highly Commended:

  • Thomas McAlpine, Manchester
  • Leila Touak, Hertfordshire

Sponsored by Zurich Insurance.

Outstanding Contribution to the Education Sector

Alex Macdonald

Alex is Head Teacher at Uffculme Specialist School for Autism and as such, ensures that investment in communication for the community of children with autism in his school is outstanding. He ensures that no child is left behind.

Speaking about the awards, Alex said, “I've been a head teacher for 17 years and I really believe that all children - whatever their needs - should be given the opportunity to learn through play.”


Highly Commended:

  • Jayne Barnett, Kettering
  • Kinny Gardner, Brighton

Fostering Contribution of the Year

Laura Barron

Laura is a social worker and has assisted one particular foster family for the past three years. In that time, she has made a real impact on the life of one of their children who has special needs - so much so that he now treats her not only as a social worker but as a good friend.

Speaking about the awards, Laura said, “I want every young person I work with to achieve their dream and to be successful in whatever they want to do.”


Highly Commended:

  • Sandra Andrews, Rochdale
  • Tom Fisher, Littlehampton

In partnership with The Fostering Network.

Creative Counselling Initiative of the Year

Josie Mahoney

Josie offers professional art therapy sessions to children and young people living with life -threatening health conditions. She encourages children to express their emotions by making sculptures. Josie is also welcomed by parents at the most painful times of their lives – when their baby is dying. She will tenderly take prints of babies’ hands and feet and present the precious memento to bereaved families. Her empathic approach embraces the whole family.

Speaking about the awards, Josie said, “Palliative care is emotionally very hard but I truly believe in what I do; my artwork classes allow vulnerable children who have life limiting illness to simply be children, to express themselves through art and help them to work through their own emotions."


Highly Commended:

  • Polly Renwick, Cornwall
  • Frances Weston, Ashbourne

Home Carer of the Year

Sabitha Yogarajah

Sabitha takes great pleasure in helping people by providing comfort and consistency. From assisting a lady with Alzheimer’s to tackling another lady’s deep rooted fear of loneliness, Sabitha always strives to be a genuine and friendly support. Taking time to get to know her patients, Sabitha ensures that her care is never “one size fits all” but tailored to their individual needs.

Speaking about the awards, Sabitha said, “I have only been caring for seven months as I have recently left university and ultimately would like to be a doctor. To give myself hands on experience, and to fine tune my bedside manner I chose to care for a short period. It can be very hard work and without much recognition but my mother always taught me to be as kind as I can be and I am delighted to win this award today.”


Highly Commended:

  • Justin Appleyard, Halifax
  • Dariusz Motyka, Basingstoke

Sponsored by Abbey Legal.

Towergate Unsung Hero Award

Chris Balahura

Chris started with Fairways Care at the end of 2010 and was quickly identified as someone with a natural rapport with people. Fairways Care specialises in care for the elderly, many of whom are affected by dementia. Chris is, by training, an engineer but he felt that this didn’t allow him to go home at night knowing that he’d “made a difference”. Chris is a rare example of someone who has left a better-paid job to fulfil a role he finds enriching and satisfying in other ways that are closer to his heart.

Speaking about the awards, Chris said,“I started caring about five years ago. Ultimately I want to become a psychiatric nurse and working at the care home has given me the hands on experience that I need and allowed me to undertake various qualifications to help me achieve my dream.”

Thank you, once again, to everyone who took part.

If you have any Care Awards-related queries, please email us.

With thanks to our sponsors and partners