The countdown to the Swindon and Wiltshire Health & Care Awards shortlist reveal has begun.

Nominations have been pouring in since March, with scores of frontline workers, carers, emergency teams, volunteers and local heroes put forward for an accolade.

The top three nominees in each of the 12 categories will be announced in a special supplement later this month.

While the judging panel continues to work on whittling down its shortlist, here are some of the hopefuls in the running for the inaugural Health & Care Awards, which is being held in partnership with Wasdell Group.

Frances Allen is among the incredible healthcare workers nominated for the Good Nurse Award. The occupational therapist for Wiltshire’s Reablement Service was not only instrumental in helping more than 1,000 vulnerable people across the region to return home from hospital during the pandemic but ensured they received personalised support to speed up recovery. She also spearheaded the expansion of a meal delivery scheme for recently discharged patients.

“During the pandemic, Fran has embraced the opportunity to enable people to return home from hospital,” said Zoe Ovens, Reablement team manager at Wiltshire Council. “Fran proactively works to enable those she is supporting with to foster links within their local communities reducing the sensation of isolation during the pandemic. This has included supporting development of skills to use technology to overcome the physical boundaries created by the pandemic restrictions which have precluded visits from friends or families. Fran [has demonstrated] a passion for making a positive impact upon people’s lives. She has supported the expansion of a much-needed hot-meal delivery service for vulnerable customers within their homes, enabling them to receive a warm nutritious meal on their return from hospital, aiding their recovery further.”

IPSUM director, Julie Mattinson, is one of the community champions vying for a spot in the Mental Health category. Determined to keep the Swindon charity’s counselling service up and running during lockdown, she quickly shifted operations online, offering support to existing, as well growing numbers of new, clients. Her unflagging optimism, generosity, and dedication throughout have been an inspiration for service user-turned-staff member Aimee Mumford, who put Julie forward for the award.

“When most places were sadly forced to close Julie created a hub of life online for IPSUM clients, even taking counselling sessions over the phone,” Aimee explained. “I just feel like Julie needs to be recognised for all the meetings, phone calls, research, team building, securing funding and hard work she has put into making sure IPSUM continues to be open in a pandemic. A lot of people came to us because other services were closing or not able to function and she has embraced everyone.”

She added: “For me personally Julie really gives you that sense of zest for life, empowerment and the encouragement to be who you want to be and to work on the best version of yourself. I will never know how to thank her for taking a chance on me from service user to team member and this just seems fitting that she is recognised for her hard work and dedication.”