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Apple Mews nursing home in Armagh, Northern Ireland is celebrating after scooping a major award.

Staff attended a ceremony at Northern Ireland’s Parliament buildings to collect their certificate and plaque for achieving the ‘Investors in People’ award. The award, a national accreditation, recognises organisations that meet high standards in people management.

Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, said: “Achieving the Investors in People standard is something that any organisation should be truly proud of. 

“Working with Investors in People inspires and enables leaders, managers and employees at all levels to build their skills, improve their performance and achieve their potential.”

The accreditation - awarded to organisations of any size and in any sector - transforms performance through people, helping companies to achieve their objectives by targeting specific priorities within their organisation. 

Delighted with the achievement, Dawn Rhodie, Acting Home Manager of Apple Mews, which is run by Priory Adult Care (formerly branded Craegmoor), said: “This award is such a thrill and reflects the dedication of our team. 

“They are our core strength and it is vital that we support and develop their skills to reach full potential, ensuring they can offer the best possible service to our residents. Gaining the Investors in People standard is a testament to the commitment and enthusiasm of all our staff.”

“This award cements our vision of investment in the workforce. I am immensely proud of the entire team at Apple Mews.”

Apple Mews provides nursing care for adults with learning disabilities, autism and complex physical disabilities.

Organisations that have achieved the Investors in People standard generally have lower staff turnover and sickness rates and lower recruitment costs. In addition they tend to have increased levels of employee engagement and productivity. 

Investors in People is owned by the UK government, managed nationally by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Since 1991, it has set the standard for better people management. 

The standard defines what it takes to lead, support and manage people well. Successful accreditation against the Investors in People standard is the sign of a great employer who understands that it is people that make the difference.  

Based on a tried and tested methodology of leading practice and a rigorous process of assessment, organisations that achieve Investors in People proudly display their accreditation to the world.

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry, special guest at the event, said:  “This celebrates Northern Ireland’s businesses going above and beyond excellence, through Investors in People.  

“Obviously it is satisfying to receive your IIP accreditation, but the real cause for celebration is the improvements in your organisations brought about as a result of hard work and commitment in effectively managing and developing your most important asset – people."  

“Those organisations achieving IIP accreditation have demonstrated a clear commitment to continuing to invest in their people - and are indeed seeing the business benefits of doing so.”

Last year Apple Mews nursing home received university accreditation from both the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast for the training of nurses.

It meant that some university students will spend time at Apple Mews as part of their training in caring for adults with learning disabilities. This training helps lead them to becoming fully qualified nurses, registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the UK regulator for the nursing and midwifery profession

Queen’s University Belfast said up to 18 of its student nurses alone could receive training at Apple Mews each year.

Apple Mews was chosen as a training site after a lecturer at the university visited the area and spoke to managers about the nursing care offered there.

The universities’ recognition came after Dawn Rhodie won Independent Health Care Providers’ (IHCP) Nurse of the Year award. The awards celebrate good quality care provided for Northern Ireland’s older and vulnerable adults. 

Northern Ireland has the fastest growing elderly population in the UK. Currently, over a quarter of a million men and women are of a pensionable age, which is nearly one in six of the population.  

Facilities such as Apple Mews give reassurance that some of the most vulnerable people are being given the care and attention they deserve in the correct setting, Ms Rhodie said.