WCS Care Chief Executive wins national award for 'making a difference' to care

WCS Care's Christine Asbury (CEO), Ed Russell (Director of Innovations and Delivery), Karl Demian (Chairman) and some of the team celebrate with Dame Esther Rantzen

WCS Care’s Chief Executive Christine Asbury has been recognised for ‘making a difference’ after winning a national award at a prestigious ceremony that highlights innovation and care excellence in the not-for-profit care and support sector.

Christine, who joined the Warwickshire-based charity in 2012, was invited down to the 3rd Sector Care Awards in London last week after being chosen as a finalist.

Presented by Dame Esther Rantzen, the 3rd Sector Care Awards celebrate the fantastic work across the sector with categories including ‘making a difference’, ‘citizenship’ and ‘leadership’.

The ‘making a difference’ award recognises ‘an outstanding Chief Executive who has demonstrated effective leadership which has significantly influenced outcomes for people who use their services, their families and the staff’.

'Bedside to boardroom'
Under Christine’s leadership, WCS Care has become the first care home group in England to have five homes recognised as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, and has begun a significant investment, redevelopment, and new build programme across its homes.

Christine introduced four key values which are the bedrock of daily life at the charity – ‘play’, ‘be there’, ‘make someone’s day’ and ‘choose your attitude’, training every one of the 700-plus team members in these fundamental principles herself.

In addition, she’s introduced the Oomph! exercise programme and MyChoicePad communication tool, which opened new ways of communicating for a number of residents who needed a voice.

Judges were particularly impressed with Christine’s ‘bedside to boardroom’ approach to leadership – it’s not unusual to find her working a shift as a carer, housekeeper, or laundry assistant, which helps her understand what needs to change and develop from the ground up.

Christine Asbury, WCS Care’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re delighted that our approach to leadership in care is really making a difference to the lives of the people who live in a WCS Care home, so that every day is a day well lived.

Everyone has a responsibility for the culture and reputation of our homes, so the award is recognition for the whole team, who have embraced and helped develop many of the innovations we’ve brought inafter all, you can’t be a leader if no one’s prepared to follow.’

She was joined at the ceremony by some of the management team including Ed Russell, Director of Innovation and Delivery.

'Why not?'
Ed received recognition as a runner-up in the ‘leadership’ category, which celebrates someone that has ‘demonstrated outstanding leadership which has significantly contributed to care and service excellence within a culture that puts people and quality first’.

Responsible for leading day-to-day operations, Ed has been instrumental in empowering the home management teams through passion, focus on the experience of people living in WCS Care homes, and his inspirational approach.

Ed’s mantra is ‘the standard you walk past is the standard you accept’ which is embedded across the organisation and demonstrates how his values and focus are cascaded to teams.  

Having started as a carer with WCS Care in 1992, Ed has rapidly worked his way up through the organisation, bringing his vast experience from the bedside to the boardroom, introducing and developing creative approaches to care such as electronic care planning and acoustic monitoring.

With a ‘why not?’ approach to innovation, he’s been responsible for building the first care home in the country to have a cycle path and side-by-side bike for two, a traditional launderette where residents can wash and dry their own clothes, and no central kitchen – with food being cooked in each household’s own kitchen instead.

Ed Russell, WCS Care’s Director of Innovation and Delivery, said: ‘We’re not afraid to push the boundaries of care, so we’re regularly coming up with innovations that benefit every resident who lives in one of our homes.

‘It’s not always about introducing new technology either - it’s also about recognising different ways to do things, asking ‘why not?’, and encouraging people to be creative in their approach to problem-solving.’