A hardworking social care charity director, who has never lost touch with her keyworker roots, has been shortlisted for a lifetime achievement award.
Executive director of operations, Gaynor Chisnall, has been with national adult health and social care charity Making Space for 31 years, making her one of the longest serving team members.
Gaynor, who lives in St Helens, Merseyside, began her career on the frontline with Making Space in 1990 as assistant manager at a St Helens residential home for people living with mental health conditions. She then took over as registered manager at an Ellesmere Port residential home for people with mental health conditions and learning disabilities.
Rising through the ranks at Making Space, Gaynor, who previously worked at a residential school for autistic children and in supported housing for autistic adults, has now been director of operations since 2005.
Nominated by colleagues at the Warrington-headquartered charity, Gaynor is in the running for a National Care Award for lifetime achievement in care and will find out in November if she has won.
According to the awards organisers, the award will be presented to ‘an exceptional person who has committed a significant portion of their life to working in a care home, or in social care, in the community or in sheltered housing, and has made a substantial difference to the quality of life of the people they have worked with.’
Rachel Peacock, chief executive, Making Space, said: “A pioneer from day one, Gaynor has based her whole career on building and maintaining relationships with the people she supports, patients and carers, colleagues, partners, health authorities and councils – everyone she comes into contact with.
“Gaynor leads with kindness, encouragement, gratitude and by example. She isn’t tucked away, hidden in her office. Gaynor is visible, accessible and, more often than not, found at our services with our frontline teams and people we support. Gaynor has a sincerity about her that our teams find reassuring and valuable.”
Kim Smith, regional head of operations, Making Space, who is line-managed by Gaynor, said: “Gaynor has always seen the best in me when I doubt myself. She knows me so well after all these years working together and picks up when I’m having days when I just need to talk through situations and days when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Her kind words, manner and support always leave you feeling you can achieve anything you want and nothing is ever too much trouble
“She is able to see situations and support with solutions when you feel stuck.
“She always has a story to tell that makes you laugh and remember why we do what we do
“Her relationship with the people we support is amazing and her compassion to ensure people receive the right care and support shines through.”