On June 4, group chairman Nazzareno Vassallo visited CareMalta and Hila homes, as well as CaterEssence and Learning Works, where he distributed COVID-19 commemorative plaques in recognition of the hard work and determination shown by all the teams involved in the 10-week lockdown during the pandemic.

June 4 is a significant day, as it marks the anniversary of the group, which started to operate just after the end of World War II in 1946. Its subsidiary, CareMalta, has been a leader in nursing and residential care for the past 27 years. Elderly facilities operated by CareMalta include Casa Arkati, Casa San Paolo, Villa Messina, Roseville, Casa Marija, Zammit Clapp, as well as the Mellieha, Zejtun and Bormla homes.

Mr Vassallo together with members of the group’s management team started their day at the group’s head office, where the first plaque was presented to CareMalta’s Central Support Team, headed by CareMalta director James Sciriha, who worked round the clock to ensure that all live-ins ran smoothly in all homes.

Mr Sciriha thanked all the members on his team for their continuous support throughout the pandemic. “Without team work, this initiative would not have materialised,” he said.

At Casa Arkati, CareMalta’s first private home, having opened its doors in 1993, Mr Vassallo praised nursing manager Noel Borg, who led the team during the lockdown, saying: “On this day, rather than you coming to us to pick up your Shine Award, we are coming to you with this memento to say thank you for your dedication towards keeping the elderly safe during the pandemic. CareMalta has truly been a star player in this journey. This is also an important day for the group as, from tomorrow, we will all start working towards making our 75th anniversary next year a memorable one.”

The chairman was accompanied by his daughter, Natalie Briffa Farrugia, CEO of CareMalta, and his son Pio Vassallo, the group’s CEO.

CaterEssence, Vassallo Group’s catering arm, also played a significant role during the pandemic. A group of chefs who volunteered to work and live away from their families to ensure supply continuity and reduce the chance of exposure to the coronavirus, prepared around 5,000 meals a day during the lockdown.

It was a double celebration for Learning Works, the group’s training arm, which, throughout the pandemic carried on with courses and classes online. Headed by CEO Charlo Bonnici, it also marked its official first anniversary on June 4.

The day also marked the fifth and 10th anniversaries of Casa San Paolo and Roseville respectively. Mr Vassallo thanked Robert Grech and Mario Debattista, who led the teams at Casa San Paolo, and Roslynn Vella at Roseville, praising them and their staff for their excellent care and perseverance during this difficult and extraordinary time.

In a short address, Mr Grech thanked everyone for their relentless mission to keep the residents safe and sound. “It was a hard time for all but we worked together as one team with one common aim – that of protecting our residents.”

Anniversary celebrations at Roseville included a special lunch for residents, followed by a blessing by Fr Noel Vassallo outside the facility, a blood donation session for staff, as well as the cutting of an anniversary cake and entertainment by violinist and resident George Spiteri.

Ms Vella said: “I feel humbled to receive this recognition on behalf of all the team. We have endured a hard journey, but I am grateful that I am leading a team made of people with diverse skills and knowledge, who together made all the difference, and we could reach a safe harbour.”