CrossReach staff recognised for ‘extraordinary contribution’ to Scotland’s care sector

The annual CrossReach service of celebration has heard tributes from Scotland’s Chief Social Work Adviser for the extraordinary contribution staff make to the country’s care sector. Alan Baird told the gathering in the General Assembly Hall on Tuesday 27th May they were part of a tough world with difficult challenges, and he paid tribute to the resilience and compassion they displayed through their work.

The Moderator of the General Assembly, the Right Rev John Chalmers, told the 200 staff and guests he was proud the Church of Scotland remained one of the country’s largest social care providers. “No one does more to serve those in deprived communities than the Church. We lead our faith communities to help in many places and circumstances we personally will never go, inspired by our faith and I am proud of that. Every single act of goodness we complete is another brick in the wall of building the Kingdom of God. We are a voluntary body no one in the country comes close to.”

The ceremony saw dozens of staff recognised for their personal achievements in the past year, achieving qualifications which help maintain the high standards CrossReach is renowned for. Thirty three Crossreach services now have customer service excellence awards. CrossReach Director of Services to Older people Allan Logan praised the dedication staff had shown in achieving these awards and personal certificates, and the commitment they had shown in completing their studies in their own time.

As a national service provider, CrossReach is unique in delivering facilities and support for both the young and the old, as well as adults with complex care needs or affected by alcohol and addiction issues. Inspired by the Commonwealth Games baton relay, CrossReach began its own baton relay at the Heart and Soul festival in Edinburgh last week. The baton has been carved from a church pew, and will travel to seventy CrossReach services in the coming weeks before it finishes at the Kirkhaven project in Glasgow, right next to the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome. The baton is currently in Shetland, and residents and staff from the Walter and Joan Gray care home in Scalloway took part in the service by videolink. Senior care worker Jeremy Sansom said “the baton has made us realise we are connected in to a larger organisation, connecting us to you and you to us, and other remote CrossReach homes across Scotland”.

The event’s finale came with the special awards for outstanding achievement. Mary Therese McCabe was adult learner of the year, in recognition of the qualifications she has gained since joining the Rainbow House team in Glasgow as a support worker four years ago. Mary, who is now a senior addiction worker, was commended for sharing her knowledge with the team and supporting student placements. Her commitment to Rainbow House is said to give it credibility as one of the best rehabilitation services in Glasgow.

The Ian Manson Award for Excellence was received by The Bungalow Staff Team in Stonehaven. They run a residential care home for 5 young adults with comprehensive and complex needs. The service heard The Bungalow team had gone above and beyond to support the young people and make links with the local community. In conjunction with a local church, they have created a café style meeting called ‘The Haven’ on Saturday mornings which has quickly been established as a place where people with learning disabilities, their carers and friends can explore their faith.

Volunteer of the Year was Millicent Evans from Threshold Glasgow. As a seventy something service user and a CrossReach volunteer, Millicent is Chair of the Community Involvement Committee at Threshold Glasgow, as well as tirelessly volunteering, fundraising, and inspiring everyone she meets. Through organising her own discos and barbeque, she raised £2000 for the people using Threshold Glasgow’s services last year.

The final award of Employee of the Year was presented to Douglas Freeland, a temporary Project Worker at Threshold Edinburgh. The gathering heard Douglas had made a huge contribution to a achieving a higher level of service for people with learning disabilities. From taking part in the smaller things to achieving bigger outcomes, he was described as showing leadership, passion and caring in everything he does.

The service came one week after the Church of Scotland General Assembly had formally congratulated CrossReach staff on their achievements and the high regard they are held in by Scotland’s care sector. Scotland’s Chief Social Work Adviser Alan Baird said the care sector has been too defensive at times, and needs to stand up and talk about the richness of the change it brings about in people. He said there was nothing more powerful than hearing service users reflect on that. He congratulated CrossReach staff on changing the lives of individuals every day, and encouraged them to talk themselves up and promote the great work they do whenever they have the opportunity.