A DEDICATED hospice manager who is at the forefront of a major £2.5 million expansion scheme has scooped a coveted social care ‘Oscar’.

Joyce Bellingham serves as business manager at St Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph, which will soon house an increased number of beds and a new café following an extensive makeover.

A loyal servant to the hospice for more than 20 years, Joyce has overseen many successful developments including the adoption of a nurse-led care model.

Joyce’s contribution has now been celebrated on the national scale, after she was presented with a bronze award in the Wales Care Awards, led by Care Forum Wales.

She received her honour in the Excellence in Palliative and End of Life Care category, sponsored by Hallmark Care Homes, at a glitzy ceremony at City Hall in Cardiff.

“I am very proud that the hospice got a mention at the ceremony,” said Joyce, who lives in Rhyd-y-Foel, near Abergele.

“I think we were the only hospice to get an award and I felt humbled to receive it.

“It was a great night and a lovely occasion.”

Joyce’s success coincides with work nearing completion on the ambitious £2.5 million extension scheme at the hospice, which celebrates its silver anniversary next year.

The extension includes increasing the number of beds from eight to 12 and the creation of a café, which can be used by the community as well as hospice users.

Work has been carried out by Wynne Construction for the past year and is expected to be completed in November, ahead of the new facilities becoming operational early in the new year.

Joyce, 57, is looking forward to the opening of the extension and believes it will represent a major step forward for the hospice.

“We have to keep moving forward as a hospice and keep doing what we can,” said Joyce, who has three children and four grandchildren.

“We want the community to come here and use the café. It’s not my hospice, it’s our hospice and we are reliant on fundraising.

“We are fortunate to have more than 400 volunteers supporting us. Without their generosity, we couldn’t do what we do.”

It is the latest major development at the hospice since Joyce became business manager in 2006. Previous successes have included the adoption of the innovative nurse-led model of care.

Joyce discovered she had won the bronze award when it was announced by Cheryl Wanklyn, operations director for Hallmark Care Homes. The presentation was made by Victoria Lloyd, chief executive of Age Cymru.

Originally from Kent, Joyce relocated to North Wales in 1991 and joined the hospice’s administrative team in 1998. She became business manager eight years later.

Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries was extremely high.

He added: “There are only winners here tonight, so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award."