THE MANAGER of a care home for veterans in Solihull has been handed a gong in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Cheryl Harbourne, the manager at the Royal Star and Garter care home, has been awarded an MBE for services to veterans during Covid-19.
The registered nurse, who has worked in social care since 2006, said she was “astounded” by the honour, and praised the staff who work with her at the Tudor Coppice Home.
In March and April last year, she led 35 members of staff who volunteered for a two-week live-in at the home, which cares for veterans and their spouses with disability or dementia, in a pre-emptive step to ensure all 60 residents stayed safe while infection rates soared.
Her approach to infection control management meant no residents or staff were affected by Covid-19 until November 2020.
When the virus did enter the home, Cheryl and her team redoubled their efforts to ensure that residents were protected, cared for and fully supported.
One resident sadly died after contracting the virus.
She also enabled residents to ‘meet’ loved ones when visiting restrictions were in place, first by organising for families to drive by the home, and later driving residents to relatives’ homes in a minibus for doorstep and driveway visits.
Cheryl said: “I am astounded, but delighted to receive this award for doing a job that I both love and feel very privileged to have.
“The residents are very precious to me, and I owe a huge thank you to the dedicated team at the Solihull home, who support me to ensure the residents live their best lives with us.
“The pandemic has undoubtedly been my greatest professional challenge to date, but one of the positive outcomes has been how we have bonded even more as a family, in the absence of loved ones in all our lives throughout the lockdowns.”
Since Cheryl joined as home manager in 2015, the Royal Star and Garter in Solihull has received two Outstanding Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections – the second of which in 2020 placed it among the very best in the country after it earned the top rating across all five tested areas.
Royal Star and Garter chief executive Andy Cole said: “Cheryl is a remarkable combination of leader and care expert, with passion and energy which she focusses to provide a truly wonderful experience for our residents.
“Her extraordinary efforts on behalf of our staff, residents and their families through the most challenging 15 months, as well as over the past five and a half years at the charity, make her a worthy and deserved recipient of this wonderful honour.”