Eniko Acatalinei moved to Wales from Romania over 20 years ago and has dedicated herself to a career in care, impacting the lives of hundreds of people
A woman from Romania who moved to Wales to dedicate herself to a career in care over 20 years ago has won two prestigious awards at the West Wales Health & Care Awards.
Eniko Acatalinei, a Registered Manager with domiciliary care provider ND Care & Support, received the Care Hero Award and the surprise Outstanding Contribution Awards at the virtual awards ceremony.
Hosted this year by Dr Dawn Harper and featuring congratulatory video messages from celebrities including actors Clive Mantle, Dawn Steele and Alan Fletcher, the ceremony is organised annually by the Western Telegraph as a salute to the region’s healthcare heroes.
Eniko’s recognition is one of the highlights of her inspirational 20-year career, which has seen her cross continents and make many personal sacrifices to help people in need of care.
In her acceptance speech, Eniko said:
“I’m absolutely delighted to have won, it really is an honour to accept these two awards. Working in care isn’t easy but it is one of the most rewarding careers you can choose because we make such a difference to the people we care for and their loved ones. I’m so grateful for my colleagues past and present at ND Care & Support. We have an amazing community and I’m so proud of all of us.
“And finally, thank you to the organisers of these awards for giving us a platform to celebrate carers, especially the other nominees for this award, and the amazing impact we make in our communities.”
Growing up in Romania, Eniko’s first experience in care was as a church volunteer, where she supported disadvantaged families, including parents with addictions before moving to Wales in 2001, aged 24.
Living and volunteering in a local college to support individuals with complex needs, Eniko was invited to take up a more permanent role after completing her first care qualifications during a 12-month volunteer programme there.
Testament to Eniko’s dedication, this was achieved whilst volunteering six days a week and living on just £60 a month alongside the accommodation and meals provided to her as a volunteer.
From there she became a Registered Manager for two small homes for people with learning difficulties, and was joined in Wales by her partner from Romania in 2007 before taking a career-break to start a family. Despite her experience, Eniko found it difficult to get a job when she returned to care in 2010, and so started again as a Domiciliary Care Worker.
Eniko then joined ND Care & Support in 2018 and was promoted to Registered Manager of its Cross Hands branch earlier this year.
Rebecca Ford, Director of ND Care & Support, is full of praise for Eniko’s determination and resilience to succeed in the care sector regardless.
“Eniko is one of the most well-respected and experienced people in the industry, and we’re very grateful to have her with us at ND Care & Support. She takes pride in her role helping Service Users every single day and she’s a fantastic representative of our industry,” Rebecca said.
“Anyone working in care understands how hard, emotional and demanding our industry can be at times. Eniko’s journey is inspirational – she is a real-life hero and a truly deserving winner of the Care Hero of the Year Award and the Outstanding Achievement Award.”
A registered member of Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), ND Care & Support supports more than 450 individuals and their families, with over 350 Care Workers working across Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen, and Vale of Glamorgan.
For more information on ND Care & Support and vacancies available, visit: www.ndcare.co.uk/care-workers