Neil and Jillian Powell win the Wales Care Awards

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Jillian and Neil Powell have won a Wales Care Award

A Blackwood couple who have dedicated their lives to caring for vulnerable adults have won a national award.

Neil and Jillian Powell have spent the past 29 years at the South East Wales Shared Living Scheme and have cared for three people during that time.

What is the Shared Lives program?

The Shared Lives program connects adults and youth who need long-term support with a certified Shared Lives coach, through their local Shared Lives program.

The County Borough of Caerphilly falls under the South East Wales Shared Lives scheme.

In the UK there are 10,000 Shared Lives carers.

For more information on the scheme, visit

Today, their commitment has been rewarded with the Wales Care Award. The couple won in the Excellence in Learning Disabilities and Mental Health category.

Neil, 67, and Jill, 66, were originally nominated for the award in 2019. However, before they could be interviewed, Neil fell from a ladder and broke his arm, which led to two weeks in the hospital, depriving them of a chance to win. the reward.

The awards ceremony took place on October 21 at Cardiff City Hall and was hosted by radio presenter Wynne Evans.

Speaking of the ceremony, Jill said: “It was an absolutely fabulous evening. It was nice to hear what people were saying about us and to know that what we do is appreciated by so many people.

“The event also opened our eyes to what other people in the care sector are doing.”

The couple were nominated for the award by Shared Lives worker Shaun Nicholls, who said: ‘It’s not a job for Neil and Jill, it’s a calling.

“They are kind, positive and proactive caregivers, dedicated to enriching the lives of the three people they support in their home.”

He added: “It has been a privilege to work alongside them and to be able to see first hand the high quality care and support they provide on a daily basis. The term “beyond” is the most appropriate term to describe their work. »

But despite nearly three decades of care, the couple have no plans of stopping anytime soon.

“We will continue as long as we can, and we hope those we care for get as much out of it as we do,” Jill said.

The history of their appointment was published by Caerphilly Observer last month – with the couple told by their son, Rhys, who lives in Australia.

“A friend of his, who lives in Blackwood, read about it and told Rhys he had read about us. Until then, we didn’t know the article had appeared,” Jill said.

Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales – which organizes the awards – said: “Our finalists are the best of the best and here represent all of the workforce in social care who all deserve a big pat on the back.”

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