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Regard and Hema reach the final of the National Learning Disability Awards


Regard and Hema reach the final of the National Learning Disability Awards

We are delighted to announce that, after judging, we are through to the final in two categories at the National Learning Disability Awards. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Birmingham on the 15th May. We will all be keeping our fingers crossed for Hema and Regard!

The Employer Award: Sandie Foxall-Smith and Regard

The Lord Rix Award for Supporting Older People with Learning Disabilities: Hema Abeyatunge, Chertsey Road

The Employer Award

This award seeks to “acknowledge and celebrate an exceptional employer who is committed to their employees delivering an excellent service to their customers, people with learning disabilities or people with autism and their families. Employers should be able to provide considerable acumen and entrepreneurial flair whilst at the same time having a sustained track record of delivering high quality care and managing change improvement”

Judges were particularly impressed by our Values, Vision and Mission, developed in consultation with staff and service users to “Promote a company brand based on integrity, reliability and trust which will be a transparent and honest employer recruiting, supporting and developing staff to be the best in the industry”.

We pledged that every person Regard employs will experience:

• A training and development plan specific to the job that they do

• Robust human resources processes

• Continuous support, and regular supervision and appraisal

• Effective leadership and performance management

• Working in an environment that recognises and values individual contributions

• Being part of a skilled, caring, motivated and conscientious team

• Positive working environments”

Focus groups of Regard staff, service users and their support workers around the country agreed Values of “Hard Work”, “Compassionate Care” and ”Excellence” resulting in a company-wide determination to show enthusiasm, creativity and commitment to enable service users to achieve their full potential.

We have fostered a culture of innovation through team-working and developed specialist services which deliver best practice and care that is second to none. This included the rapid growth of our Positive Behaviour Support Service and investment in an experienced Benefits team, which helps the people that Regard supports to ensure they are claiming the right benefits.

Sandie also oversaw the development and implementation of market leading real-time care quality audit tool and team.

Staff training and development is encouraged and in the six months to November 2014, 1850 employees attended 174 training courses over 40 locations and completed over 4000 e-learning courses per month. Each employee has a personal development plan from their first day.

The changes led to a Silver Investors In People Award in 2014, with many positive comments from the inspector. And with Sandie at the helm we’re not planning to stop there, strategies are in place to enable Regard to realistically aim for gold next.

The Lord Rix Award Supporting Older People with Learning Disabilities: Hema Abeyatunge

Applicants for this award where asked to show “excellence in supporting older people with a learning disability or autism”. The judges were looking for evidence from providers and individuals who are positive about older people, provide excellent person centred support, promoting independence, dignity and respect.

Aliza Rahman, Service Manager at Chertsey Road wrote:

“I have known Hema for the last five years and I am nominating her for her extraordinary achievements with the individuals she supports at our service.

Hema is an incredibly hard-working carer and her dedication to those she supports really shines through and has given a real boost to our provision. Feedback from other professionals, Regard management, next of kin and colleagues on the staff team, make it evident that her contributions are highly valued all round.

For example Hema has successfully supported her key individual to overcome her fear with dogs. Hema was not sure on what originally triggered MG’s fear of dogs. Whatever the reason, with patience, observation and determination, Hema has supported MG to overcome this fear.

Part of MG’s daily activity is to go for a walk to the park. As soon as they get to the park, Hema will remind MG that dogs are not going to get her or bite her. Hema has also written a list of goals for MG not to be afraid of dogs i.e. “watch a dog”, “walk a dog”, “be near a dog”, and so on.

Hema also spoke with MG’s nephew who has a dog which he normally leaves at home when he visits MG at the weekend. With Hema’s support, MG was slowly but surely introduced to the dog, sitting next to the animal and helping MG befriend her. Slowly and gradually the process helps MG to overcome her phobia with dogs and now she gets excited to see her on the weekend as she is familiar with her and she understands that it is a family-owned dog.

Hema maintains a very positive working relationship with other staff team. No task is too insignificant for her to tackle. She simply jumps in and gets the job done. Hema has an abundance of good and positive aura of energy around her which drives the staff team’s morale and productivity whenever she is on shift.

Hema, being the oldest among the staff team, accepts her career maturity and takes pleasure in sharing her experience with her colleagues (who really value her input). Hema is such a pleasure to have around, with her can-do and conscientious attitude. She is always bursting with enthusiasm for her work and takes on everyday tasks willingly – never as a chore. In times of crisis Hema maintains her calm and focussed manner.

Sincerity and integrity are critical to both career and corporate success. I can spot sincerity a mile away and it’s personified in Hema - with her ready smile, using all the right words with the individual she is supporting daily.”

Chertsey Road


Chertsey is a registered residential home for four female adults with Learning Disabilities and individual complex needs in Twickenham.

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