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Support Worker nominated at prestigious award ceremony for excellence in the Care sector

Wales Care Awards Max Cusak, M&D Care Award Catagory - Leading Practice in Learning Disability & Mental Health Services Award

A positive behaviour support worker is in the running for a top award after “improving and enriching” the lives of residents at a care home.

Max Cusack who works at Ynystawe Lodge, in Swansea, will be among the finalists at the prestigious Wales Care Awards, dubbed the Oscars of social care.

He has been shortlisted in the category for Excellence in Learning Disability and Mental Health Services, sponsored by Amaya Care Homes.

The awards, sponsored by Ontex Healthcare, are organised by Care Forum Wales to recognise outstanding work in the care sector.

The ceremony will be held in City Hall, Cardiff, on October 21, when the host will once again be the popular tenor and radio presented Wynne Evans, well-known as Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV adverts.

The evening, which is sponsored by Ontex UK, will be streamed live on the night.

Max’s colleagues say they have been amazed by the “outstanding positive outcomes”  being achieved by the people supported at the home, some of which have experienced long hospital stays and have difficulties adapting to change.

Ynystawe Lodge, a purpose-built bespoke residential service owned by M&D Care, accommodates 10 people with learning disabilities and autism.

Max specialises in PBS and, after assessing individuals, is able to work alongside them to help develop their independence and enrich their lives.

Gemma Howells, M&D Care’s Head of People & Culture, said “Max ensures that achieving positive outcomes for the people he supports is at the forefront of all that he does and this is evidenced in the outstanding progress being made.

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“He is passionate about making a difference and improving the quality of the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society and truly deserves this recognition for his exceptional contribution to care”.

Before moving to South Wales Max, 26, worked in pupil referral units and had an internship in America as a behaviour intervention specialist – a huge change of direction for him as he had studied business management in university.

“I have always known that it was within the field of PBS and intellectual/developmental disabilities that I would like to work,” he said.

Max, who is originally from Lincolnshire, said he felt humbled by his nomination but felt it reflected the work of the whole team who worked together so well.

“It can certainly be a challenging job at times but it is also the most rewarding. It is so important being able to give people a voice,” he said.

Mario Kreft MBE, Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the aim of the Wales Care Awards was to recognise the unstinting and remarkable dedication of unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.

He said: “The social care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation – these are people who go the extra mile for others.

“During the Covid crisis, this fantastic workforce rose magnificently to the challenge, putting their own lives on the line to do everything they possibly could to safeguard the people for whom they provide care.

“Unfortunately, it has taken a global pandemic for many other people to realise how important and how significant our social care workforce is.

“Their incredible contribution was summed up best in the powerful and emotive words of the song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, which was set to the famous tune of Men of Harlech. The message that the diolch should last forever is one that we should never forget.

“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards people need and never recognise the value of people who need care in society.

“All the nominees deserve to be lauded and applauded and it’s a real pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists.

“I congratulate all the individuals who have shown outstanding dedication and professionalism. Every one of them should be proud of their achievement.

“They are Wales’s finest.”