A parish nurse from Worthing has been named as a regional winner in the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2019.
Julie Ward is a much-loved member of Maybridge Community Church and has been the parish nurse for the past four years, having previously worked as a registered nurse.
She was nominated by Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley for the national awards, which were first held last year as part of celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
Mr Bottomley said: “Julie’s legacy, though she has much more to give, is already visible in the high esteem she is held to within her local community.”
He met her at the Palace of Westminster for the awards ceremony, where she was presented with a certificate.
Julie’s work as a parish nurse has led to a phenomenal team of volunteers, supporting and serving the community.
Julie said: “Four years ago, I felt called to leave my job as an NHS health adviser and to find a way to meet the needs of our community in a more holistic way.
“I discovered parish nursing, which fit the bill perfectly, apart from the lack of a salary.
“I was sure it was the right thing to do, so I took a step of faith, left my job and began to recruit a team of people to work with me.”
Julie’s main focus is older people but she also helps vulnerable people affected by mental health issues, physical disabilities or learning difficulties.
She provides free check-in sessions, helps people to attend hospital and GP appointments, and offers support and advocacy at tribunals and benefit appeals.
Bekah Legg, director of mission at Maybridge Community Church, said: “Julie is there for people at some of the hardest moments of their lives - bereavement, diagnosis and hardship. She and her team fill the gaps that our hard-stretched NHS struggles to cover.
“Julie’s work goes beyond health care. She and her team visit the lonely, sort out people’s homes and gardens, and help with shopping and cleaning.
“She also connects people with other activities where they can find community and support.
“We are so thrilled Julie’s incredible work has been recognised this way. Julie gives so much to so many. This award couldn’t have gone to a more worthy person.”
Winners were decided by an NHS judging panel.