Belong scoops National Award for Innovation
Not-for-profit care village operator Belong, which has a location on Lower Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, has been recognised for its pioneering approach to care at the prestigious Laing Buisson Awards – which celebrate the industry’s finest examples of best practice and excellence.
Belong won the Innovation in Care Award, in part for the opening of the North-West’s first intergenerational care village, Belong Chester, which incorporates a fully integrated research nursery, the Nursery in Belong, which is operated by national charity Ready Generations.
Some of the first residents to move into the village, including those living with dementia, are exhibiting improvements in physical and mental well-being and reporting how the nursery has enriched their lives and given them new purpose and meaning.
Ready Generations works with a number of research universities to investigate these benefits.
The judges commented: “Belong’s visionary approach is yielding tangible results addressing notoriously difficult challenges, such as reducing isolation and loneliness and having a positive impact on residents with dementia through interaction with children and through community networks more broadly.”
Commenting on the award win, Belong Chief Executive, Martin Rix, said: “We’re delighted to receive recognition at such prestigious national awards, not simply for pioneering groundbreaking models of care, but for demonstrating the positive impact these are having on people’s lives. Congratulations to the team at Belong Chester for what they have achieved in their first year.”
Ready Generations co-founder Sue Egersdorff added: “We are incredibly pleased to be recognised for demonstrating the benefits of multi-generational relationships for both young and old, as well as contributing to the pool of knowledge on best practice in this growing area at these and other prestigious professional awards.”
Belong provides a range of housing, care and support options for older people, with apartments for independent living as well as households for people requiring 24-hour care centred around a village hub providing a range of amenities, including a bistro, hair salon, exercise studio and function rooms.
At Belong Chester, an intergenerational practice lead works with village and nursery teams to support the planning, co-ordination and evaluation of a range of intergenerational opportunities, including weekly stay-and-play sessions, a multi-generational choir, storytelling, poetry and dance workshops.
There has also been success at regional awards for Belong colleagues.
Nicola Johnstone, who has recently been promoted to General Manager of Belong Atherton, took home the Supported Living Manager Award at the North West heat of the Great British Care Awards, while Pauline Stringer, who is a volunteer at Belong Warrington, where her father who lives with dementia is a resident, won the Unpaid Carer Award.
Roksana Drzewick, a Community Support Worker at Belong at Home Newcastle-under-Lyme, who embarked on her career in care just six months ago, was recognised for the impact she has made on people’s lives in a short space of time at the West Midlands heat of the national awards, where she won the Newcomer of the Year award.