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Social care leader receives OBE in King’s birthday Honours List

Inspirational social care leader Zoë Fry has been awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal for services rendered to social care and to nursing, in the King’s birthday Honours List. 

Zoë has received the medal and been recognised for her long service and ongoing dedication to adult social care, which includes collaboratively founding and transforming the Community Interest Company The Outstanding Society, working as a frontline nurse in the sector, and purchasing and operating a care home which was one of the first in Sussex to receive the Care Quality Commission’s Outstanding rating. Zoë’s drive for quality care saw her home twice rated by the CQC as Outstanding, as well as winning many national awards.

zoe fry

In 2021, Zoë’s passion to support other providers in the sector saw her sell her care home, Valerie Manor, which provides residential and nursing care for the elderly across West Sussex, so that she could focus her time on further expanding The Outstanding Society. Zoë’s passion and knowledge to be able to advocate at the highest level of social care leaders was also highlighted in the nomination and Honours List.

Commenting on the honour, Zoë said: “I am incredibly proud that so many people believe that my contribution to the sector has been enough to make me deserving of an OBE medal. Since starting my career as a nurse, I have been dedicated to helping people across the UK and doing everything I can to contribute to a sector that supports creativity, innovative care and best practice for everyone accessing its services. It means so much to be able to provide a voice for the sector and accept this prestigious honour on behalf of so many amazing colleagues who make a difference to people’s lives every day”.

In 2014 Zoë became one of the principal founders of The Outstanding Society, an organisation that was established by a small group of social care operators to support the driving up of quality care across the UK. Over the last two years, Zoë and the founding team have transformed the free-to-access support organisation, shaping it into a driven Community Interest Company with over 3,000 members across the country. 

Since its inception, Zoë has played a crucial role as a Director, particularly working in partnership with multiple organisations, including Skills for Care and Care England, and providing trusted insight into both the challenges and innovative best practice that is emerging across the sector. 

Zoë has also been the driving force behind The Outstanding Society’s ambition and vision to expand its membership and reach different adult social care services across England. As its reach has grown, The Outstanding Society has introduced a range of free support available to services regardless of CQC rating, including webinars, and podcasts.

Commenting on Zoë’s achievement, Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “Zoë has played a crucial role in developing, supporting and promoting high-quality health and social care services across the UK, particularly through the founding and development of The Outstanding Society. I believe Zoë’s work has been of great significance and she has personified and championed the values and behaviours that are the cornerstone of high-quality social care services”.

Oonagh Smyth, CEO at Skills for Care, added: ““Skills for Care supported Zoë’s nomination for this well deserved OBE that recognises her years of dedication to high quality, person centred services, both as a care home owner and through her work with The Outstanding Society. Zoë has been a driving force behind the Society contributing its insights into what makes outstanding practice to a wide range of Skills for Care’s guidance and advice. This honour reflects Zoë’s significant contribution to adult social care in England, and that of Outstanding Society members who make a real difference to the lives of people who draw on care and support.”

Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, commented: “I am delighted to see Zoe justly recognised as a nurse leader within social care. She has tirelessly promoted social care nursing, demonstrating her inclusive approach with passion and commitment and helped many others flourish in their work. She is truly deserving of this national recognition”.

For more information on The Outstanding Society and its services, please visit 

August LTD
Grahame Gardner
Mr Trax Curtain & Blind Solutions
Inspired Inspirations
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