And the Connection Support 2018 winners are…

The weather may have been damp but the team spirits at Connection Support were definitely not as we stepped into The Spread Eagle Hotel in Thame on Friday 9 November. Our staff, volunteers and trustees were all here to celebrate the commitment and support shown to colleagues and clients over the last 12 months since the inaugural awards in 2017.

Mark Thompson, our CEO, kicked off proceedings by welcoming staff, trustees and volunteers who joined us from our various teams across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. He thanked every one of them for their hard work and commitment in an ever-changing landscape. He reflected back on the year and looked forward to our future plans and vision. Mark reminded everyone of the true difference they make to clients every day and that it is the way they work with clients and partners that makes Connection Support what it is.

The awards were presented by the senior management team sandwiched between the delicious three-course dinner.

Long Service Award

This was awarded to Elaine, Calvin, Patricia and Ursula for 10 years service to Connection Support.

That’s wonderful, thank you for your loyalty!

100% Attendance Award

Well done to all thirteen members of staff for having no recorded absence during the year. Wow, what an achievement to be proud of. You must be highly resilient or super healthy!

Pictured (L-R) are Debbie, Patricia, Melissa and Alexia.

Attendance award

Team of the Year

Connection Support Team Awards

This award was voted for by staff who provided a reason why they supported the nomination. The competition was so tight this year we couldn’t decide on one winning team so we had two!

The first nomination was read out:

‘This team has worked really hard to intervene early to prevent homelessness in Buckinghamshire.’

Yes, you guessed it, it went to The Resilience Team! Karen Ferguson, Team Manager collected the award on behalf of her team.

The judges were also bowled over with this comment on an entry form for a team in Oxford:

‘This team has had a really difficult two years. They have overcome many challenges including changes in management and fluctuating staffing levels. The team has worked tirelessly to meet their targets and welcome and support new staff. All staff manage complex caseloads and all team members go above and beyond.’

A big cheer went up for the Oxfordshire Mental Health Team headed up by Debbie [pictured holding the certificate].

Extra Mile for a Volunteer

We are blessed to have some brilliant volunteers who support our work with clients. Special mention was given to Niran, Aziza, Riki, Jane, Javier, Jane A, Tomine and our Syrian Refugee Project volunteers.

But the winner was Wendy who volunteers for us in Oxfordshire whose nominee comments included:

‘Wendy has given support to my client above and beyond what was needed. She attended hospital appointments, made applications and took him shopping. She always keeps me in the loop. She has made an enormous difference to my client and her support of him enables me to concentrate on my priorities.’

 ‘Always able to help out. A committed and dedicated young woman, Wendy has given an awful lot to Connection Support.’

Well done and thank you Wendy!

Extra Mile for a Member of Staff

There were twenty nominations (wow, our staff do go the extra mile) but there can only be one winner for each county, they are:

For Milton Keynes, Nicola in our Direct Payment and Employment Support Service. Comments on her nomination forms include: ‘This person really made an effort to make this new service work, has embraced new ways of working and has come up with good ideas for how to develop her area of the service over the last year.  They have recently stepped up to a senior post and is supervising two staff in a pretty relentless area of work.  They are open-minded and forward thinking with a really good eye on the detail. They are responsible for managing over £400k worth of clients’ money and making sure that over 300 personal assistants supporting almost 200 very vulnerable people are paid each month.’

Melissa in Buckinghamshire for the Outreach Project supporting homeless people. Comments in support of her award nomination included:

‘This person has achieved some outstanding outcomes with some very entrenched rough sleepers. They embody the Connection way of patiently building a relationship over a period of time with some very distrusting clients. She never gives up on people and always sees the potential in them. She is often the only person that the client will talk to. Other professionals rely on her to draw the client into their services.’

‘She is always cheerful and optimistic and is great to have around the office. This person works some very long hours in difficult conditions but has a passion for the work that is inspiring to others. This person has had to cover a lot for an absent colleague this year and has done so without complaint. They receive a lot of very positive feedback from other agencies– which is a pleasure to receive. This person is a great ambassador for Connection Support.’

Extra Mile Award

The final award of the night went to Deb from Trailblazer and Homeless Pathway Team in Oxfordshire.

Taking a few comments from her nominations:

‘This person is described as one of the hardest working managers. They are always happy no matter what pressure they are under. An excellent team manager, always listening and supportive to their staff members and puts up with a lot!’

‘A pleasure to work alongside.’ and ‘A fantastic manager, very supportive and will go that extra mile.’

And finally…

No award but everyone showed their appreciation, via a loud applause, to Amy Delisser who made the evening happen. A lot of hard work goes into organising us and the venue and we all appreciate Amy managed this on top of her daily challenges!

Congratulations to everyone!