The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) gathered in Nottingham last night (7th October 2021) to celebrate the great and the good of care catering at the NACC Awards 2021.

The prestigious awards shine a spotlight on the many outstanding contributions to care catering over the past 12 months. An abundance of innovation, excellence and dedication was demonstrated by the winning teams and individuals, together with resilience, agility and care, in what has continued to be a challenging period for the care catering sector.

The very special event saw NACC members and industry colleagues, partners and guests reunited in person to celebrate the worthy winners, having been forced to go virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic. The NACC Awards 2021 gala awards dinner was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham.

Sue Cawthray, National Chair of the NACC, said: “What a tremendous evening! A very big congratulations to all the NACC Awards 2021 winners. It was a real privilege to recognise the extraordinary contributions so many have made to care catering and joyful to be able to present our worthy winners with their awards in person. 

“As well as honouring our winners, the evening was a real celebration of the care catering sector. The shortlists were inspiring, and we can all agree that this year’s finalists and winners are a true reflection of everyone in our sector who has and continues to work so tirelessly, selflessly and innovatively as the challenges of the pandemic, and other factors such as Brexit, staff shortages and supply chain, have continued to unfold. I could not be prouder to be part of the amazing care catering sector.”

The 2021 NACC Award winners are:

  • The Triumph Over Adversity Award, sponsored by Bullseye Food Packaging: Anwar Kajee, Head of Hospitality, Country Court

Whilst continuing to provide its service to its homes, Country Court considered the welfare of its staff. Care packages of 20 items of food, drinks and basic provisions were delivered to all 2200 team members across the country. Employees of all levels helped to unload the artic trucks of pallets and pack the individual care packages prior to their delivery.

  • Care Establishment of the Year Award, sponsored by Hobart: Long Close Retirement Home

As well as developing take-away menus and creating its own clothing protectors, the team at Long Close ensured the nutritional needs of all its residents were met through its purpose built IDDSI kitchen. The team has developed recipes to ensure every menu item can be produced to meet all IDDSI levels and has shared good practice with other homes in the area.

  • Meals on Wheels Award, sponsored by apetito: The Bevy Community Pub

The Bevy is the only community-owned pub in a housing estate in the UK. During the pandemic it set up its own Meals on Wheels service to continue to support its vulnerable regulars during lockdowns and beyond. They delivered over 13,500 meals, collected prescriptions, and liaised with GPs. It has a genuine community spirit that wants to help local people during challenging times.

  • Catering Team of the Year Award, sponsored by e-f group: Care UK Residential Care Services

The Care UK team’s ‘Dining with Dignity’ approach puts residents at the heart of every meal, which has improved consumption and reduced those at risk of malnutrition. A menu app was developed to enable person-centred menus, bespoke IDDSI training has been given to all chefs, and e-learning courses have been developed for all home team members. In March, Care UK became the first care sector organisation to join the global Fair Kitchens movement to support a more inclusive, healthy culture in hospitality.

  • Catering Manager of the Year Award, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions: Rida Diab, Chef Manager, Royal Star & Garter – Surbiton

Rida, a new chef to the care sector, listens to his residents. When a resident said the pastry wasn’t as good as her Mum’s, he changed the recipe! He developed ‘WOW Wednesday’ when he selects a resident and cooks their chosen recipe or favourite dish. Listening to staff and residents, he completely restructured and enhanced the menus and has given residents real ownership of their dining experience. Through excellent communication and a calm confidence, he has inspired his team and earned their respect.

  • Our Care Catering Hero Award, sponsored by Premier Foods:

The judges overwhelmingly agreed that there were two worthy winners of this award.

Adriano Carvalho, Dining Service Coordinator, Sunrise of Sonning, Sunrise Senior Living,always goes that extra mile. During the pandemic he took on extra responsibilities managing housekeeping, decontaminating rooms and filling PPE stations. His extracurricular activities included shopping with his daughter to ensure residents had Christmas plates, converting a shed to a summer house, and building a Christmas gingerbread village with the residents. Throughout, he supported staff, making personalised ‘Thank you’ cakes and talking to those who were suffering mentally from the pandemic. As one team member said: “I will always have a life of gratitude to that man.”

Luke Webb, Second Chef, Mill House Care & Dementia Homeis an inspirational young chef. He began his career as a kitchen porter and at 21 years old now delivers exceptional food. He involves the residents when developing recipes and spends his lunchtimes reading residents’ family histories. He encourages residents to eat by putting on his tie and inviting them to dinner. He works anywhere within the home and after working a night shift he developed night-time breakfasts for the dementia residents.

  • Region of the Year Award, sponsored by Meiko: South West Region

This year, the NACC regions have all done an outstanding job in supporting and connecting members around the country with a series of outstanding, relevant webinars. The judges therefore had a significant task in deciding the overall winner. However, a decision had to be reached and it was South West region that stood out to claim the coveted award.

  • Pam Rhodes Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by Anglia Crown: Sophie Murray, Head of Nutrition and Hydration, Sunrise Senior Living

The Pam Rhodes Award recognises the work and commitment of an individual that has made a lasting contribution to the NACC. Sophie joined the NACC in 2013 and became Deputy National Chair in 2016. Her expertise in the field of nutrition and hydration, and in particularly in relation to vulnerable and older people, has been invaluable to the NACC and its campaigns. Her work, for example, has involved bringing together the Nutritional Care and CQC standards and producing Menu Planning & Dining in Care Homes publications for members and other care catering professionals.

With an immense wealth of knowledge and expertise within the care sector, Sophie is an outstanding example of a caring individual. She is thoughtful and considerate, with an ‘only our best will do’ attitude, which she has continued to share with colleagues and customers alike.

  • National Chair’s Award: Andy Jones

Sue Cawthray, the NACC national chair, awarded this special recognition to Andy Jones for his work within the public sector catering industry. Sue has worked alongside Andy for many years, particularly on the PSC100, and his wealth of knowledge and expertise of the wider range of healthcare services is truly inspiring. He is a well-respected character, loved and admired by so many for his dedication to the importance of catering for good nutrition and hydration, and the importance of having access to good British Food.