I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to get this post up but I've been so busy and then Blogger wasn't working. I'm going to keep it as brief as possible...
So, on Wednesday 12th March, Cygnet Healthcare (http://www.cygnethealth.co.uk/) hosted the second National Service User Awards.
In the event programmes that were laid out for everyone at the sign-in desk, there was foreword from the events team which included me! I'd completely forgotten they'd asked for a quote from me so it was a surprise to see my name and my words...
'These Awards are such an amazing opportunity for staff to thank service users for their efforts. Often, services need improvements and it is only from the service user perspective that these areas can be found and improved. For a lot of us it is about wanting to improve services so that other users will not experience the same downfalls and failures that we have. Being an inpatient at ________ and realising this Hospital will give me my future back has made me feel indebted to them; it needs to be acknowledged that we service users wouldn't have made these achievements without the support of our services.'
The entire day was interspersed with musical performances; my favourite was obviously my best-friend's (http://www.chelseasharkie.blogspot.co.uk/) piano piece she named 'Aimee!' I also enjoyed a girl singing a song she wrote herself that was about her relationship with her children - lots of people related to it and cried during it. I also loved the two or three songs performed by one girl on the flute, another on a violin and their music therapist played the guitar; they played one of my favourite songs; Chasing Cars and it was amazing. There was also two men performing, one sang his own songs and his smile when everyone clapped was so lovely! Another did a bit of a rap with a pre-recorded song. (I hope I haven't forgotten anyone!)
The first award was for Community, Social or Vocational Initiative and the winner was Millfields Unit at the John Howard Centre part of the East London NHS Foundation Trust for their Personality Disorder Awareness Training Course delivered by service users. The second award was for Service, Policy or Environmental Improvement and the winner was The Spinney from Partnerships in Care for developing an educational workshop in chairing your own CPA meeting. The third award was for Innovations in My Shared Pathway and Recovery and the winner was Cygnet Hospital Kewstoke for their creation of a Awareness and Action Plan which meant new staff could easily find out a patient's triggers and early warning signs. The fourth award was for Family, Friends and Carer Involvement Initiatives and the winner was Cygnet Lodge Brighouse for creating a Carers' Pack. The fifth award was for "Breaking Down Barriers" - Tackling stigma and the winner was a service user from Pelham Woods, part of the Partnerships in Care for her work on improving primary care response to minor injury caused by self-harm. The final award was the one I had been shortlisted for and it was for Outstanding Service User Achievement and the winner was a patient from Kemple View for his work in making additions and adaptations to the My Shared Pathway to make it more accessible to the ageing population.
In the programme there was a paragraph about each finalist and mine said: 'The work this service user has put into various initiatives across the hospital has been beneficial to bother her and her peers. She has inspired other patients and has helped carry the voice of her peers. It is a testament to determination for her recovery that she is involved with so many initiatives. She is a commendable representative and deserves recognition for all her hard work. The Judge presenting the Award said he thought there'd been a typo when he read how many pageviews my blog has had!
We finished off the event with a surprise award for Ian Callaghan; National Service User Recovery Lead and the three of us on the events team were given flowers.
Here's some photos from the day: