A search has been launched to find the unsung heroes and heroines of social care in Rhondda Cynon Taf who have “risen magnificently” to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Entries are being sought for the 2022 Wales Care Awards, to honour the skill and devotion of people who work in social care looking after vulnerable children and adults.

The event is making a welcome return after being cancelled during the last two years because of the pandemic

The awards were introduced Care Forum Wales to inspire excellence in the care sector.

As ever, this year’s event will take place in the magnificent surroundings of City Hall in Cardiff, on Friday, October 21. The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 29.

Anybody who has been nominated over the past two years will be automatically entered this time.

Short listed finalists will receive a Gold, Silver or Bronze Wales Care Award, an invitation for themselves and a guest to the Oscars-style gala award ceremony.

The event will be hosted by the top opera singer, Wynne Evans, perhaps best known these days as Gio Compario, the moustachioed tenor from the Go Compare TV ads.

There are over 150,000 people in Wales receiving social care and the sector employs more than 80,000 staff. That’s equivalent to five per cent of the Welsh workforce.

Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales and the founder of the Wales Care Awards, “Care Forum Wales is engaged at every level in trying to raise the status of the social care profession and in particular the value to society of the many thousands of social care workers who provide such an important service to communities across Wales.

“The Wales Care Awards is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar although over the past two years everything had to be put on hold because of the pandemic.

“Front line staff working in care homes and in domiciliary care have been in the eye of the Coronavirus storm, protecting the most vulnerable people in Wales from the ravages of this dreadful virus.

“The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges and our fantastic workforce responded heroically, putting their own lives on the line to shield their beloved residents and staff.

“Care Forum Wales continues to campaign vigorously to ensure that these frontline heroes and heroines are properly rewarded.

“In Wales, pay rates for carers are effectively determined by local councils who set the level of fees care homes and domiciliary care companies receive.

“Most local authorities and health boards use a formula which calculates how much they want to allocate towards all care home costs, including what staff are paid.

As a result, wage levels have been unfairly suppressed by the local authorities who have managed the budgets for a quarter of a century.

“This is an opportunity to nominate the champions and ambassadors of social care and contribute to raising public awareness of the vital contribution of our sector, a contribution that has been even greater during the nightmare of the past two years.

“The dedication, professionalism and quality of the workforce within the care sector are an absolute inspiration.

“It is occasions like the awards night that enables Care Forum Wales to recognise and celebrate such skills, talents and heroic commitment.

“Our aim is to acknowledge the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of the unsung heroes and heroines working in the care sector.

“It is always a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.

“We are now accepting entries for the 2022 awards and we are looking forward to a fantastic occasion during which the dedicated men and women who work in social care can enjoy their well-deserved moment in the sun.”

Further information, including nomination forms can be found on https://walescareawards.co.uk/ or you can call 01978 755400 or email janet@careforumwales.co.uk