Bubbly Worthing wellbeing co-ordinator wins national award after changing the face of dementia care at Guild Care

Eileen Garbutt at Haviland House with one of the family members
Eileen Garbutt at Haviland House with one of the family members

A Guild Care employee described by the charity as ‘bubbly, whacky and empathetic’ has won a national award for her work supporting people living with dementia.

Eileen Garbutt, health and wellbeing co-ordinator at Haviland House in Worthing, has won the National Activity Providers Association’s best activity co-ordinator award, recognising her boundless energy and enthusiasm.

She was nominated by senior staff, who say they have seen her work her magic on individuals and groups alike. They see her as a fount of knowledge, with great ideas and an unquenchable energy for her work, enabling people with dementia to live well and enjoy life.

Lynne Bluett, deputy manager at the specialist dementia home, said: “Eileen’s skills are many. She is a great communicator, she sings like an angel, knows the words of every song you can mention, has an ability to inspire staff at any level and she gets what it means to help individuals live well with dementia.

“She has made such a difference to the energy and feel of Haviland. Eileen is a hugely important part of the work we do at Haviland House and without her, our lives and those of the family members would not shine as brightly.”

Lynne said Haviland House, which opened in 2015, was completely changed when Eileen’s ‘bubbly, whacky and empathetic nature’ burst on to the scene two years ago, and staff and family members have been on a rollercoaster of fun ever since.

The purpose-built home is part of The Butterfly Community with Dementia Care Matters, meaning quality of life is equally as important as quality of care and residents are regarded as family members.

Eileen organises endless engaging, fun activities and spent a year working with past mayor Paul Baker to raise money for sensory equipment, after he chose it as one of his three mayoral charities.

Eileen said: “I’m overwhelmed to have won this award and I’m thrilled to know my efforts are appreciated and to be recognised by NAPA is a huge honour.

“My family members mean the world to me and I sincerely believe I mean the world to them, too. I receive genuinely-felt love and laughter, tears and comfort and a tremendous feeling of wellbeing fortunes from all of them.

“Haviland House is the most wonderful family to be a member of.”

Projects have included leading a team of family members and volunteers in painting the summerhouse and ice cream parlour, providing non-denominational services on a Sunday, writing the annual pantomime, baking, crafting and setting up the Haviland Choir.

Eileen will receive her award in September at a ceremony in Birmingham.