Surrey care sector celebrates industry recognition in honours list

09 Feb, 2021

The Surrey care sector is in celebratory mood having seen four care workers recognised in the New Year Honours list, a move which pays tribute to their outstanding individual contributions to the industry, but one that’s proved to be a morale booster across the county’s care sector.


Those named include Ryan Kelley, Chief Executive of Whitmore Vale Housing Association, who is set to be made an MBE following a long and successful career in care.


Ryan first began volunteering for Whitmore Vale House (as it was then known) in 1971 when it served as a home for people with learning disabilities. In 1972, he joined the management committee full time, before taking over responsibility for business affairs in 1975. He then became chief executive in 1978 and, in the intervening years, he’s overseen Whitmore Vale’s transformation into an organisation that delivers both supported living and residential services across West Surrey, helping to settle those with learning disabilities back into the community.


He was also instrumental in the foundation of the Surrey Care Association in 2005, helping to bring multiple associations together under one banner to facilitate its formation and even writing the initial constitution, in a move that would help connect care providers with Surrey County Council and other relevant bodies to greatly enhance communication channels.


Further to Ryan Kelley’s honour, two care home staff from Arbrook House Care Home in Esher, Surrey, have also been recognised. Staff nurse Charito Romano and Andrew Rowe, a senior activities co-ordinator, were nominated by their colleagues and are both also set to receive MBEs having been described as ‘inspirations’ by their co-workers.


Furthermore, Ann Lovelace, an 85-year-old volunteer for the Orpheus Centre in Godstone, Surrey, which aims to empower young people with disabilities through performing arts, also received an MBE in recognition of her fundraising efforts and dedication to her students – with her ongoing contribution widely praised.


Arbrook House, a Bupa home, Whitmore Vale and Orpheus are members of the Surrey Care Association, and its CEO, Erica Lockhart, paid tribute to the foursome, saying: “It’s fantastic to see care workers being recognised in this way, and it’s something that the whole of the sector in Surrey is proud to see. Of course, we’ve had a year of immense difficulties, but this is recognition for years of hard work and each honour is very much deserved.”


She continued: “I’ve worked alongside Ryan for many years, and have enormous gratitude for his efforts in helping to make the SCA what it is today. His dedication and commitment have been second to none during that time. His passion and drive is a wonderful asset to the care community and we’re delighted on his behalf. The examples of Charito and Andrew too are also fantastic. To see that they’re both thought of so highly by their immediate colleagues just serves to underline how much they bring both to Arbrook House and the wider care sector. Lastly, Ann, as a volunteer, embodies the very essence of the care industry, going above and beyond and putting others first. She really is an inspiration.”


Erica concluded: “People don’t come into care for recognition and reward. The difference you make in the job is the most rewarding element and it’s why so many of us choose to care. However, when that contribution is recognised beyond our industry it’s a tremendous feeling. We’re thrilled for Ryan, Charito, Andrew and Ann and would like to extend our thanks to them for their hard work and their ongoing achievements.”


For more information on the Surrey Care Association, please visit:


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