Car home staff were bursting with pride after being named among the finalists at a national awards ceremony.
Ifield Park, in Rusper Road, was named in the top five at the National Care Home Awards in the Care Home of the Year category.
Although they did not win, the home’s chief executive officer Jo Stovald said the recognition received at the awards gave her team a morale boost.
She said: “The staff were thrilled. They felt it was really nice to be recognised at a slightly wider level.
“I’m so proud of what we do here and it’s so important, especially these days, to show there are people out there doing a good job.”
The awards weren’t the only big news for Ifield Park.
The home has been given planning permission to carry out extension work, which Jo estimated would cost millions to put in place.
Dementia care and end of life care have been placed at the top of the home’s list of priorities and, once the funding is in place, the development will see a 10-bed unit built as well as three new bedrooms.
The unit will be designed with dementia sufferers in mind.
Connected to the nursing home by a corridor, it will form a loop which will allow people to walk all around it without encountering any dead ends.
In the centre will be a sensory courtyard and garden.
Jo said: “We’re mindful of the fact we don’t want any of our homes to get too big because they become too impersonal.”
Building work on the new unit could start as soon as late February.
Jo admitted she found the ever-increasing number of people looking for dementia care “frightening”.
And, while progress was being made, she said there was a long way to go before the issues faced by those with the condition were fully recognised.
Ifield Park has joined the Crawley Dementia Alliance – a group of local organisations whose aim is to support and improve the quality of life for people affected by any form of dementia – a scheme Jo described as “vital”
She said: “We’re a long way from some one with dementia walking into Sainsbury’s and saying ‘I’ve got dementia, will you help me with my shopping?’
“There’s still a stigma but things are so much better than they were five or 10 years ago.”
Ifield Park has had an eventful year which saw it celebrate its 60th birthday and one of its team scoop an award at the county’s care ‘Oscars’.
Catering manager Tom Johns won the Ancillary Worker Award at the West Sussex Care Accolades.