A caretaker, hostel support worker, homecare worker, catering supervisor, cultural planning officer, a housing advice service for young people and a poignant commemorative woodland sculpture trail are all winners in South Ayrshire Council's 'Outstanding People Awards' 2015.
These awards recognise those members of staff who go the extra mile to deliver a truly outstanding service to customers, service users and colleagues throughout South Ayrshire.
Each year, staff are nominated under various categories and in 2015 there were five service categories: Service Excellence, Innovation, Sustainability, Equalities in Action and Inspirational Young Employee.
All those nominated received a bronze certificate to mark their achievement. A judging panel then looked at all submissions and shortlisted 19 finalists – each receiving a silver award – from which the final seven winners were selected.
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: "All of those nominated, our finalists and the winners should be very proud of their achievements. They are ambassadors for the Council, delivering the best services possible and are an inspiration to fellow staff.
"The Outstanding People Awards give us an opportunity to celebrate the dedication and commitment of employees from services all across the Council. I feel this is particularly important at a time when we must continue to deliver quality services in the face of financial pressures....Well done to you all"
Councillor Robin Reid Resources and Performance Portfolio Holder at the Council said: "I would like to congratulate all those nominated, our finalists and the winners of these prestigious awards. Of course, the real winners in this process are our service users and customers who benefit from the extra efforts of staff.
We all know Council employees that go out of their way to deliver the best service possible, so keep them in mind for next year and hopefully they will get some recognition too."
South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie added: "The outstanding work our employees carry out makes a big difference to people and communities across South Ayrshire. Our winners in particular are exceptional and have received these awards not for one off gestures but for their selfless efforts throughout the year."
The finalists and winners for each category were:
Tracey Capstick, Catering Supervisor, Cairn Primary School
Karen Miller, Principal Teacher Dalmilling Primary School, and Daniella Miller, Principle Teacher Newton Primary School
Margaret Grieve, Janitor, John Pollock Centre
David O'Connell, Music Instructor
Dixie Sloan, Janitor, Barr Primary School
Customer Services Team
David Watson, Head Teacher, Forehill Primary School
Winner: Tracey Capstick
From the 'Cairn Café' at Cairn Primary School in Maybole, Catering Supervisor Tracy Capstick goes out of her way to encourage the children to try different things, make healthy choices, and even try cooking for themselves. She has pioneered a new programme of weekly cookery workshops for parents, promoting healthy cooking using fresh, local produce. Tracy's enthusiasm and drive has also seen the introduction of a breakfast club, primary 7 leavers lunch and regular parent's lunches.
Winner: Margaret Grieve
Since The Outstanding People Awards were launched in 2011, Margaret has received a record number of nominations for her hard work and dedication to her post of Caretaker at the John Pollock Centre. Nearly everyone who nominates her makes reference to the fact that 'nothing is ever a problem for Margaret' and this sums up her approach to her work. She is enthusiastic, helpful and obliging and doesn't think twice about going that extra mile to make sure that the building is safe, clean and tidy for its staff and visitors.
First Home Project
Alistair Mutch, Team Leader Sports Development
WW1 Commemorative Sculptures
Winner: First Home Project
The First Home Project is a housing advice and tenancy preparation service delivered to young people aged 16-22 in need in South Ayrshire. The project ensures that these young people have access to practical sessions in painting, decorating and housekeeping which could help their tenancy. The sessions have ensured that skills from the wider community are transferred to young people to help them build self-confidence and the ability to create and maintain a home.
James Skilling, Hostel Support Worker
Troon Sand Dune Restoration Project
School Waste Recycling Project
Winner: James Skilling
James is a Hostel Support Worker who has led a team of residents at Secession House in Troon to create a reclaimed garden. Everything has been recycled, for example, the bricks outlining the borders were on their way to a skip when James stepped in! The idea behind the project is to engage with residents and to give them ownership of a project, and allow them to be part of something positive. James has been the driving force behind making this project a success, and the next step is to prepare the garden for entry to next year's Ayr Flower Show.
Equalities in Action
Avril Galloway, Pupil Support Assistant, Forehill Primary School
Joan Elliot, Cultural Planning Project Officer
Jane Cowan, Margaret Filson, Anne Howe, Davina McLarty, Domestic Staff at South Lodge Residential Unit
Winner: Joan Elliot
When the Great Tapestry of Scotland was exhibited in Ayr, Joan went out of her way to ensure that it was accessible to all. When she was told of a lady who couldn't attend as she had no one to push her wheelchair, Joan stepped in to help. She also made special arrangements for a women's mental health group to visit the tapestry and take part in a closed workshop which they thoroughly enjoyed. These are just a couple of examples of how Joan enhances arts and cultural projects and allows vulnerable people to access in the best way possible.
Inspirational Young Employee
Craig Currie, Customer Services Adviser
Claire Rogerson, Active Schools Coordinator
Louise Bufton, Home Carer
Winner: Louise Bufton
Louise is a shining example of how a positive approach can really make a difference to our customers. She is a home carer who ensures that she cares for all of her clients to the highest standard possible – and always does so with a smile on her face. She is a very popular member of her team and away from work she is the main carer for her Gran, and is undertaking a college course in Health and Social Care at College. She is enthusiastic, diligent, and reliable and ensures that the vulnerable people she visits are cared for to a very high standard.
Chief Executive's Award
Winner: WW1 Commemorative Sculpture Trail
South Ayrshire Council has worked with the Maclaurin Trust to develop a commemorative woodland sculpture trail at Rozelle as part of the World War 1 centenary commemorations. The poignant and permanent remembrance woodland features stunning tree sculptures of soldiers and poppies, with further development planned to incorporate other conflicts.
Commenting on this award, Eileen Howat, Chief Executive at the Council said: "I wanted to recognise this very moving commemorative project with an award. The carvings are magnificent and help tell the story of past conflict in an innovative way. The trail will change with the seasons and develop over time but the message of sacrifice remains constant."
Also invited to the awards ceremony were Modern Apprentices who, while working and gaining valuable practical experience, have also been studying. The following Business and Administration level 3 Modern Apprentices graduated on the evening, and received a certificate in recognition of their achievements:
The Council's Business and Administration Modern Apprentices are an integral part of services and work hard to gain the experience they need. They display innovative thinking and enthusiasm in their studies and in the working environment.
In addition to the awards made on the night, a raffle held during the event raised £585 for the Council's charities: Ayr Housing Aid Centre, Chernobyl Children's Lifeline, Gardening Leave, PDSA, Riverside Care and Share, RNLI (Troon and Girvan), SeAscape, South Ayrshire Women's Aid.