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Sophie Murray is head of nutrition and hydration for Sunrise Senior Living. Since being appointed in 2014, she has provided education, tools and support to residents in Sunrise's assisted living homes through a series of initiatives. Her team also won a Foodservice Catey in 2015.
Murray has worked with supplier Premier Foods to train chefs. As a result, there are now twice the number of courses available for chefs than before Murray's appointment.
Since the government's announcement that most of the UK population needs vitamin D supplements, Murray, working with the National Osteoporosis Society, has taken an active role in trying to raise vitamin D consumption through awareness and support.
She has worked with the British Dietetic Association to share recipes and nutritional analysis, widening the range of fortified foods beyond dairy to the use of nuts blended with egg white as well as pea protein. She is aware that food needs to be appealing, appetising and affordable for the sector.
A dementia training model has now been trialled and, with approval from Sunrise's head of dementia and director of procurement, she was able to shape a dining model that incorporates all the senses. Some sites were hesitant to take on the initiative, but all now say they would never go back to old ways.
Murray has also been key in a company-wide review of nutrition and hydration training.
She created a resident leaflet collection including a series on hydration. A registered nurse, nutritionist and former restaurateur, Murray has taken the voluntary position of national deputy chair of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) to enhance standards in the sector. In this role she works with a number of groups, including the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative, the Children's Food Trust and the National Osteoporosis Society.
Murray also supported the NACC and People First pilot NVQ in professional cookery and healthcare. The chef she recruited for the pilot course went on to win awards.
It is Sunrise's aim is to encourage independence, preserve dignity and enable freedom of choice - and Murray champions just that.
What the Judges said
"A well-deserved winner who goes above and beyond her job role. It is a breath of fresh air to see someone who actually cares, not only about healthy eating but also about hydration."
Kimberly Aplin, Sodexo
"Sophie's passion is completely evident in this subject and is a shining light to the industry to encourage in this very difficult market sector. Brilliant!"
Mark Philpott, Vacherin
"Well done, Sophie. Clearly this nominee goes beyond the day job to make a huge difference in this very difficult sector. An impressive nomination and a deserving winner."
Kate Martin, Brookwood Partnership
Julie Barker University of Brighton
Sophie Murray Sunrise Senior Living
2016 Amanda Ursell and Judy Roberts Charlton House
2015 Kimberley Aplin Sodexo
2014 Kate Martin Brookwood Partnership
2013 Caroline Fry CH&Co