Magical year for Hill View Care Home’s Care Sector’s Got Talent winners
9 February 2024
Being crowned winner of Care Sector’s Got Talent was just the beginning of an amazing year for Glasgow’s Hill View Care Home’s Charlene and Michael. Caring Times caught up with the singing duo to find out what they have been up to.
Care Sector‘s Got Talent is a showcase of diverse talent from across the care sector. Run by Championing Social Care, it’s a chance for care staff or those who receive care to showcase their talent and a way of celebrating and supporting the sector. Finalists get the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience at a glittering, professional event, and the final is also live-streamed to care homes across the UK. But for the winners, that’s just the start.
Last year Glasgow’s Hill View Care Home’s Charlene and Michael were voted winners of Care Sector’s Got Talent by the panel of judges – but that was just the beginning of a year-long journey.
Care Sector’s Got Talent final – and beyond!
Michael Gallagher and Charlene Reeves both work at Hill View Care Home in Glasgow, where Charlene is wellbeing co-ordinator and Michael is a senior care assistant. Before entering the talent competition they had never sung together, and Charlene had never sung in public. “It was completely out of my comfort zone, but it was amazing,” says Charlene. “The organisers make you feel so special.”
When Charlene and Michael arrived back at Hill View, they found they had become local celebrities. “Our care home is made up of five separate units, and they all had a finals party, and watched the final online,” says Charlene. “It was nice to bring the whole home together for the day. Even residents we don’t work with knew who we were – family members were coming up and congratulating us, and saying how proud they were of us, we did feel like a wee bit of a celebrity.”
The duo were interviewed for a piece in Caring Times, but there was also local media interest in their story. “The local newspaper, the Clydebank Post, did an interview with us and took some photos,” says Michael.
Care Home Open Week
At the end of June Charlene and Michael travelled down to London to perform at Priscilla Wakefield House at the launch of Care Home Open Week, which sees care homes throw open their doors to the local community for special events. “That was really good,” remembers Michael.
The duo performed an emotional duet, then travelled back up to Glasgow to entertain guests at their own Open Week event, themed around the Mad Hatters’ Tea Party. They were reunited with fellow finalist Craig Smith from Newcarron Care Home who reprised his performance as Elvis.
Care Sector Fundraising Ball
September saw Michael and Charlene perform for more than 600 people at the glamorous Care Sector Fundraising Ball at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane. They were joined by other finalists from the show including pianist Robert Speker and singer Kayleigh Morgan.
“The Fundraising Ball was something else!” says Michael. “It was beautiful. The standing ovation we got blew my mind.”
“A whole different world,” agrees Charlene. “The event was raising money for two charities so it was great to be part of that. It was spinetingling.”
Leaders in Care Awards
In October it was off to Birmingham NEC to perform at the Leaders in Care Awards and the Care Show.
The National Care Awards
Unfortunately Charlene came down with Covid towards the end of 2023, but Michael stepped up to the plate, travelling down to London again to perform at the National Care Awards at London Excel alongside other finalists. The event was hosted by TV presenter Kate Garraway.
“It’s been living the life,” says Michael. “There has been something every month, it has been fantastic, they treat you so well.”
Care Sector Christmas Lunch
Charlene and Michael performed a medley of Christmas songs at the Care Sector Christmas Lunch, which took place at the glamorous Royal Automobile Club in London’s Pall Mall. “It was very fancy,” says Michael. “We were asked to sing in between courses and do some Christmas songs, then we kept being asked if we could sing some more so we just pulled whatever we could out of the hat. It was a good laugh!” says Charlene.
During the year Michael and Charlene managed to fit in practice between the demands of their day job. “We would steal half an hour’s rehearsal time while we were working,” says Charlene. “We got good at practicing individually and sending voice notes to each other. We have become best of friends so we know what to harmonise before we have even started practising.”
Rounding off a year like no other, Michael and Charlene will be performing at the final of this year’s Care Sector’s Got Talent at Coventry Building Society Arena on April 16.
This article was originally published in Caring Times.