Perhaps one of the greatest unsung heroes in the care sector is the caretaker, working hard behind the scenes, taking on all essential maintenance demands, and actioning the odd jobs that make care environments a little bit nicer for everyone.
And for Macclesfield man, Chris Jones, his personal dedication and commitment to those residing at the Belong village have earned him The Care Handyman/person Award at the Housing with Care Awards 2023.
An industry judging panel were full of praise for the nominee, with the outcome revealed at a dazzling ceremony in London, last weekend, celebrating excellence in accommodation and services for older people residing in care communities, such as assisted or independent living.
Speaking of his interview assessment, the adjudicators said: “Chris spoke with passion about his role and the difference he makes to the lives of individuals whilst undertaking his duties. He told stories of supporting people to live independent lives through his interventions adapting everyday items to meet needs, going above and beyond his role.”
Having joined the Upton Priory village in 2017, Chris quickly forged close relationships with the independent apartment tenants, as well as residents receiving 24-hour care in supported ‘households’. Whilst his job on paper is to provide a safe, functional place to live, his contribution to everyone’s wellbeing through creating a happy home with his cheerful character gained him a nomination for the award.
Notable efforts include staying late and working extra on weekends, getting to know customers’ families, and going out of his way to help others, like carrying their shopping. Last year, he funded his own skydive to help raise funds for the village’s Jubilee celebrations, raising over £1,000 with colleagues for a garden tea party and earning him another finalist placing: this time, the compassion award at Belong’s annual colleague recognition ceremony, the Champion Awards.
Colleagues from other Belong villages in Chester, Crewe and Newcastle-under-Lyme, joined Chris at the ceremony as finalists for Innovation in Supported Housing, Tenant Co-production, and Activities Coordinator of the Year.
Chris Jones, caretaker at Belong Macclesfield, said: “It was truly overwhelming to be announced as winner, and I couldn’t have been prouder to represent Belong on a national stage. It was certainly a night to remember.”
Caroline Ray, general manager at Belong Macclesfield added: “Chris has natural empathy, respect and regard for everyone; his instinct to make things the best they can be makes him truly special. He’s a such big part of our community – when he’s on holiday, we all miss him. Congratulations on your award, Chris!”