A team leader with a Denbighshire-based group of care homes who often puts on fancy dress as part of her fun and creative approach to making life more special for the young people she works with has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

Shirley Johnson is described as the "go-to person" for six boys aged 16 to 18 with complex behavioural issues for whom Branas Isaf, which has its headquarters in Corwen, provides education and therapeutic care.

To give the fun and enjoyable experiences which they may have missed out on she's been known to dress up in costume for Halloween and Christmas parties at the home and has also masterminded sports days and a project to brighten up the garden.

A senior manager describes her as the "most nurturing" staff member she has ever come across.

It is this dedication to her caring role that has landed 58-year-old Shirley a place in the final of major national competition, the 2019 Wales Care Awards.

The glittering presentation ceremony will be held at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday October 18, hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.

Shirley, who lives at Porth-y-Waen near Oswestry, is shortlisted for the Peter Clarke Award for Promoting Excellence in Services for Children and Young People sponsored by Care Inn Ltd.

Shirley, who has been married to husband Stephen for 22 years and has three grown-up children, seven grand-daughters and two grandsons, moved with her family to Oswestry in the early 1990s and had a number of jobs in pubs and shops before entering the care sector in 2003.

She worked with young people at various care homes in Shropshire before taking up her present role with Branas Isaf about 18 months ago.

Shirley said: "We aim to promote a feeling of independence in the young people we care for and get them ready to move on to further education, independent living or back to their families.

"I have been known to put on fancy dress outfits for special occasions such as Halloween or Christmas when I wore a blow-up Santa outfit.

"I also prepared non-alcoholic cocktails on New Year's Eve to bring in the new year which the boys loved as they were experiencing a new event.

"I am currently working on a project in the home's garden in which we've created a bug hotel in an unused space and put fairy lights on the back porch.

"It's all about creating experiences and opportunities the boys might have missed out on along the way.

In nominating Shirley for the award Branas Isaf's operations manager Leanne Bennett said of her: "She is the most nurturing member of staff I have ever come across. She is fun, supportive and a great role model to all staff.

"She has a talent for making special memories for everyone in the home and has organised a number of fun activities, events and celebrations.

Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.

He said: "The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.

"The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales."