A YOUNG care worker who turned around the fortunes of a care home criticised by inspectors is in line for an award.

After seven years in the care sector Mathew Jones was recently appointed Head of Quality, Innovation and Development with the Caron Group based in Ebbw Vale.

But it was for his work at the company’s Springbank Home, in Barry, that he was nominated for one of this year’s Wales Care Awards.

The awards are organised by Care Forum Wales to recognise exceptional work in the care sector, and Mr Jones, 33, has been shortlisted in the category for leadership and management in residential care.

The awards will take place at City Hall, Cardiff, on October 18

He originally worked with young adults with learning disabilities as an advanced teaching practitioner but decided on a change of career when he was made redundant.

He joined the Caron Group, previously known as Care Inn Ltd, which has several homes in South Wales, in 2014 and after four months as acting manager at Brynwood Care Home in Brynmawr became manager of Springbank in October the same year.

Operations Director Ramesh Patel, who nominated him for the award, said Springbank had gone through a troubled period, with nine previous managers since 2009 and an embargo on admissions imposed by the local authority in July, 2014.

Mr Jones, one of the group’s youngest manager, took up the challenge and within five months the embargo was lifted. Subsequent reports by Care Inspectorate Wales have reflected the improvements carried out.

“He saw it as a challenge to prove to himself and to the company that he was ready to manage his own home at the age of just 30 and, more importantly, he viewed the move to Springbank as a personal goal to improve the lives and well-being of the residents, and to build a staff team that shared his vision,” said Mr Patel.

In his three-year spell as manager he introduced fresh, innovative ideas and regular competency checks to ensure that nurses and carers maintain an appropriate level of skills and knowledge to ensure residents’ safety.

“His approach is best described as a research-based drive for best practices, and put ting people first,” said Mr Patel. “For example, he was instrumental in building links with the local community and local schools, an example of which is the pen-pal scheme which provides a link between residents and primary school pupils.”

In their report of March, 2017, the inspectors said the home’s philosophy and delivery of care promoted people’s well-being, adding: “We conclude that the home is pro-active in providing social and mental stimulation for residents in order to promote their well-being.”

Mr Jones said he was happy to have found his niche working in the care sector and was delighted to have been nominated.