Chop Cook Chat co-ordinator and Sense Plus Portsmouth manager shortlisted for care awards

Two members of adult social care council staff have been recognised for their dedication to the people they support.

Janice Webb, who runs Sense Plus Portsmouth, and Jayne Gentle, who heads up ‘Chop Cook Chat’, have been shortlisted for the South East Great British Care Awards, a yearly celebration of excellence in the care sector.

Janice, who has been shortlisted in the category, ‘Outstanding Contribution to Social Care’, is the manager at Sense Plus Portsmouth, a council-run day service for adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and complex physical or sensory needs.

Janice has worked at the council alongside people with learning disabilities for more than 30 years, and been manager of Sense Plus for six. She is well-loved and respected across the city and is particularly known for going the extra mile to support young people with learning disabilities as they move between school and the support offered to them as an adult, a time known as ‘transition’.

Melanie Walton, Assistant Principal at Specialist Sports College, Mary Rose Academy, said:

“Janice is one of the biggest advocates for the smoothest of transitions for young adults with PMLD moving from education to adult services. Janice ensures that her and her team get to know the young people and their families well and works so closely with adult social care and school to ensure high quality, seamless continuing care and support for some of the most vulnerable and incredible members of her community. She manages her challenging and complex role with love, kindness, professionalism and always has the very best for the young adults firmly in her sights.”

Janice said:

“The award nomination was totally unexpected, I was a bit stunned and felt very humbled to have been nominated at all! I am only one part of a skilled, and experienced team and this nomination is a testament to everyone who works at SensePlus. I’m very proud of what we achieve and our dedication to supporting adults with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities in Portsmouth. It’s a unique service unlike any other throughout the country and we are one of the only local authorities to have a staff team qualified to work with people with complex needs.

At SensePlus we feel privileged to spend our days in the company of these individuals who ask nothing from us but give so much in return. I’m very grateful to the council who identified this need for some of the most vulnerable residents of Portsmouth and to our health partners who we work closely with, who both value the service we provide and are very supportive as we continue to review, improve and adapt as needed.”

Jayne Gentle has been shortlisted in the category, ‘The Care Innovator Award’, for the instrumental part she played in setting up ‘Chop Cook Chat, a council-run scheme set up to offer cookery classes to men aged 50+ who had been recently bereaved or become carers, or were at risk of social isolation.

There are now six Chop Cook Chat groups running across the city, staffed by volunteers and supported by the council. As well as the existing mens’ groups there are now new groups for anyone over 18. The groups bring people together from all walks of life to learn how to make cheap and nutritious meals, meet new people, and build communities.

Jayne said:

“I am absolutely delighted to have been nominated for this award, however I wish to express my thanks and gratitude to every volunteer that has helped and supported the project from its infancy and get it to where it is now – from one group of six, to six groups of 36 plus. Without their help, support, and commitment there would be no Chop Cook Chat.

“I also value the gents’ commitment and loyalty to attend on a regular basis. To see them all together in their groups is amazing… my vision for so long. All gents from all walks of life coming together to socialise and cook and CHAT. So, it’s fingers and toes crossed…”

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Health and Care, said:

“I’m delighted that two members of council staff have been recognised nationally for their hard work and dedication to supporting people in Portsmouth to live healthier and happier lives. Sense Plus Portsmouth and Chop Cook Chat are services that are unique to Portsmouth, which we are proud to be able to offer, led fantastically by Janice and Jayne. Best of luck to you both for November.”

Janice and Jayne will be hoping to be winners at the awards event for the South East in Brighton on Friday 17 November. Very best of luck to them both.