Canford Healthcare’s very own Amanda Rae and Donna Barks have won awards and high commendations at the Women Achieving Greatness in Social Care (WAGS) recently.

Donna Barks, manager of our Tunbridge Wells Care Centre (TWCC), won the WAGS’ Rising Star award. She had joined our Barty House Nursing Home as an agency nurse in January 2020. By June she had become deputy manager and, when Barty’s manager left six months later, Donna found herself in charge during an outbreak of Covid! In early 2022 she became home manager of TWCC. Donna is delighted with her award, saying: “I was proud to share the evening with so many wonderful inspirational women. It’s not about the winning but being recognised for doing something that I love.”

“Having worked in the sector for many years, Donna Barks is both highly qualified and experienced,” commented the judges. “Her expertise was especially put to use during the pandemic, where she passionately and effectively led the home through a very difficult time. Under Donna’s leadership, staff feel supported and her calm demeanour ensures the very best for colleagues and service users alike. She will continue to have a positive influence on those around her and the sector as a whole in years to come.”

Quality & compliance manager Amanda Rae received a high commendation in the WAGS’ Women in Tech category. During the pandemic, with no budget or IT knowledge Amanda built an intranet-type system using Microsoft Office 365 to remotely monitor quality, identify areas of risk, facilitate good governance and provide safe, person-centred care. This is the only one of its kind to be used by a UK care provider and has been hailed with enthusiasm by the likes of Care England, the Department of Health & Social Care and others who have asked for Amanda’s support in embedding it within their own organisations. Amanda, who was recently made a Queen’s Nurse, says: “It is wonderful to have your work recognised and your contribution acknowledged by your peers. Women comprise 84% of the sector and it is amazing to hear about all the great things these women do.”

The judges said: “This system proved to be incredibly successful navigating such a tough time, and Amanda has since innovated and adapted it to suit the ever-changing demands of the sector. Being noted by Care England and Microsoft, her work is truly exceptional.”