Nicola Richards, Director of Palms Row Healthcare, has been shortlisted for a national award in recognition of her work to raise awareness of the care sector during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Nicola has been shortlisted for the ‘Not All Heroes Wear Capes’ category in the CovidComms awards which will celebrate and record the extraordinary achievements of people working in the field of communications throughout the pandemic.
She was shortlisted by colleagues who saw the work she did to draw national attention to the challenges facing care homes, care staff, residents and families during this extremely challenging period.
As Sheffield was ahead of the curve in terms of infections at the start of the pandemic, the lack of support for care homes across the country became apparent even before lockdown. Nicola saw what was happening at her care homes and wanted to speak out.
She became a leading spokesperson for the care sector speaking out for homes, care staff and residents across the country who were all placed under enormous pressure as the virus took grip.
Working with social enterprise, Campaign Collective, Nicola secured media opportunities to raise awareness of issues ranging from access to PPE and tests, lack of support from government, the mental wellbeing of care home staff and residents and long-term funding for care homes.
Nicola has spoken on scores of international, national, regional and local media platforms throughout this pandemic including live TV debates, radio phone-ins with government ministers and print media interviews.
She was appointed as a National Care Association Board member because of her high profile in the north of England. She also continued to Chair of the Sheffield Care Association throughout the pandemic which enabled her to support local care homes throughout the city. Nicola continues to speak out about continuing challenges facing the sector.
Throughout the crisis, she has given a voice to some of the most vulnerable people in our society and has ensured care homes have stayed firmly on the media agenda. Most importantly, the impact of the coverage has been to see care homes propelled onto the government radar and changes in national and local policy to become more supportive of the sector.
On hearing about her nomination Nicola said:
“I’m blown away by this nomination and the fact that I’ve been shortlisted has made me feel really emotional. I’ve seen first hand how hard this pandemic has been on the care home sector, our tirelessly dedicated staff and, of course, care home residents and families across the country. I’ll continue to speak out for the protection of our elderly and vulnerable for as long as I need to to make sure that their voices are heard.”
The results will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on 18 November.