A SOCIAL care charity in Halton has been honoured with a prestigious award.

Community Integrated Care, has been named 'Charity of the year' in this year's Charity Times Awards.

The organisation was awarded the event's hallmark honour after being selected from a pool of hundreds of entries by an expert judging panel.

Mark Adams, its chief executive, said: "Winning this award recognises the impact that our charity delivers in enabling people to lead fuller, happier lives, in what is a time of genuine challenge for the social care sector.

"It also acknowledges the importance of the charity sector and social care providers like ours in standing up for what matters most in society and shaping inclusive communities, where everyone is valued."

Community Integrated Care support people across Widnes and Runcorn with learning disabilities, autism, mental health concerns and dementia.

It has a 31-year history and employs more than 6000 colleagues.

Judges praised the charity for its bravery in "disrupting the status quo" and acting 'as mavericks' with its launch and early implementation of a new five-year strategy called 'We Dare'.

The We Dare strategy aims to support organisational growth from its current £120m annual income to a £200m turnover within five years, so it can reach and change the lives of more people.

This growth will deliver a greater surplus for the charity – which will be directly re-invested into developing the highest quality care and support services, meeting unmet need in the community in an era of reduced public spending, and better rewarding its workforce. At a time when many care providers are reducing their focus to their core operations, the charity is charting a bold, brave and ambitious path.

Judges hailed the "impressive results" the charity has already delivered within the first eighteen months of this new strategy.

It has invested more than £2 million in technology, training and infrastructure, to enhance its services and employee experience. This is underpinned by a strategic focus on employee engagement at all levels. These investments and efforts have delivered highly impressive increases in colleague satisfaction and quality ratings.

Community Integrated Care has also developed a strong focus on innovation.

Examples of progress include developing the ground-breaking Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League, a collaboration with rugby league’s Super League and RFL governing bodies to create a world-first inclusive sports programme for people with support needs. With this project, and other leading collaborations with major sporting, cultural and community institutions, the charity is championing equal access and opportunities for people with support needs.

Chief executive Mark Adams continued: "Like all care providers, Community Integrated Care is constrained and challenged by the current political and economic climate.

"However, we think it is important that organisations like ours continue to innovate, act strategically and speak out, so we can sustain a sector that is the absolute backbone of our nation.

"Our strategic intent makes clear that we are committed to investing in our people, developing incredible projects and creating pioneering partnerships.

"We are still in the early stages of this strategy and we know that there is much more to deliver in the years ahead.

"Community Integrated Care is absolutely motived by the journey ahead and excited for what we, and our partners across the sector, can achieve in the future."