AFTER much deliberation the finalists of the 2021 Worcestershire Health & Social Care Awards have been revealed.

The awards were launched - in conjunction with the University of Worcester - earlier this year to recognise the talent and dedication of those heroes who work in the industry.

Run by Newsquest’s Worcestershire titles, including the Worcester News, Malvern Gazette, Evesham Journal, The Shuttle, Droitwich & Bromsgrove Advertiser and Redditch Advertiser, the aim of the awards is to champion those teams and individuals that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to care for people during the Covid pandemic.

In total an incredible 250 nominations were submitted and after much thought and consideration a panel of judges has decided on three finalists for each of the 11 categories. There will also be an overall winner - announced on the night.

Over the next few weeks we will be meeting the three finalists in each category, starting with the Adolescent and Child Health Care Award:

  • Daniel Bennett, aged 32, from Fernhill Heath, has been described as an "exceptional carer."

He is a carer at Doves Care and Support, which is a registered home care company that provides 24 hour assistance for people with disabilities to help them live independent lives.

As part of his work, Daniel supports individuals within their own homes - from children to bed bound elderly clients - listening to their needs.

He enjoys helping people and making a difference in their lives. Daniel said: "It's very fulfilling and rewarding when people reach milestones. It's about encouraging individuals to lead a better quality of life."

Those who put Daniel forward for the award believe he "always goes the extra mile" and "deserves to be recognised for his hard work and positive attitude.

He said it was an "nice surprise" to reach to award finals.

  • Hollie Burfitt, aged 35, has been described as an "outstanding" member of teaching staff at Wildgoose Rural Training in Worcester.

It's a care centre for adults and young people with learning disabilities and young people struggling with mainstream education.

In her role, Hollie teaches students horticulture, conservation on their nature reserve, cooking, woodworking and crafting. She's been working at the farm for nearly six years and has aimed to inspire students to become the best versions of themselves.

She has been described as a selfless person who has made a huge difference to all of the students that she cares for.

Hollie said she is "overwhelmed" to be a finalist for a Worcester Health & Social Care award. She added: "I love my job - I'm very lucky."

  • Care worker Heidi Fearnall, aged 56, supports children and young people with severe disabilities and complex needs.

The Bewdley support worker currently helps three families and has been working in care for nearly a decade.

She supports one youngster with severe learning difficulties, continuing to take him out in the community and go for drive thru meals with him throughout the challenges of lockdown.

His parents said: "Heidi always has a smile on her face and a cheerful manner.

"Heidi is always happy and upbeat and our lad is always very happy to see her. She enhances his life experiences.

Heidi said: "It's nice to know that I have helped them.

"We need to get more people to go into this job. It's really rewarding.

"I try to help people have as normal a life as possible and have fun."