The awards took place recently in the Lakeside Pavillion at Colwick Hall in Nottingham. After the last two events had to be hosted online due to the pandemic it was amazing to be able to get all the finalists together in person to celebrate their incredible achievements.
Altogether almost 200 people joined us to celebrate the important work they have each done in raising mental health awareness, reducing stigma and supporting people’s recovery journeys.
All the guests were treated to a red carpet entrance whilst being serenaded by the guitar playing of Don, a service user from the Francis Willis Unit, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Trust. Mocktails and breakfast snacks were also provided before the event was officially opened by Laura Finlay, Head of Marketing for our sponsors Cygnet Health Care.
Including the Mark Britton Service User Choice Award, we had six fantastic winners on the day. The categories and winners were as follows:
- Health and Wellbeing Award –‘Create and Resonate’, Rampton Hospital, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Excellence in Co-Production Award – ‘Co-Produced Patient CPA / Ward Round Training’, Arnold Lodge, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust & IMPACT Collaborative
- Recovery and the Arts Award – ‘The SHH Podcast’, Stockton Hall Hospital, Priory Group
- Breaking Down Barriers Award – ‘Deaf Awareness Week’, Grampian Ward – Rampton Hospital, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Outstanding Service User Leadership Award – ‘A Tale of Three Cities’, Mental Health Network, NHS Confederation
- Mark Britton Service User Choice Award – ‘Self Harm: My Journey’, Calder Ward – Cheswold Park Hospital, Riverside Healthcare
In between the award presentations entertainment was provided by a number of service users in different mediums. In the morning there was a display of poetry from Cygnet Hospital Sheffield and a service user from Cygnet Elms also read out one of her poems before performing a Makaton version of ‘A Million Dreams’ from the Greatest Showman. There was also a fantastic rap performed by Streetcat aka Topcat from Cygnet Hospital Maidstone.
After lunch The Swans, a band of service users and staff from Cygnet Hospital Derby, turned up the volume and got the pavilion rocking to a couple of songs including Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’. This was followed by Amy-Louise, a resident from Nightingale, singing and tapping to ‘Fight Song’ by Rachel Platten. A final impromptu performance came from David, a finalist in the Recovery and Arts category, who sang two songs before the final award of the day.
As we were celebrating the 10th National Service User Awards we commissioned a huge 10th birthday cake. In the afternoon there was a special cake cutting ceremony which was performed by Louise Bannister, who helped set up the awards in 2013, and Amy-Louise who was also celebrating her own birthday on the same day.
As is often the case, one of the highlights of the day was the Mark Britton Service User Choice Award. The award is named in memory of Mark, an individual who for a number of years played a key role in the awards before sadly passing away in July 2019. This award is particularly special as the finalists and winners are chosen on the day by service users. This year we were honoured to have Mark’s mum Maggie present the award in person.
Guest judge Linda Bryant, CEO of Together Trust, said ““It has just been brilliant. I laughed, I cried and danced to some fantastic music. To hear the stories about what people have been doing within their services is just so inspirational. So many people have said the awards are the highlight of their year and it really is the highlight of my year as well.”
Sylvia, a former service user and now expert by experience with IMPACT won an award in 2019 and was also heavily involved in the project that won this year’s Excellence in Co-Production Award said, “When you are service user a lot of the time you feel like you don’t have a purpose so to see people who are taking part and leading these projects getting that purpose back and hope back is really inspiring. I’m so proud of them all.”
We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made this such a successful and inspiring event including the guest performers, service user events team, service user judges, and our guest judges. Thank you also to our sponsor Cygnet Health Care.
Finally, a massive congratulations to all our finalists and winners. You should feel so proud of how your work is helping people on their journey towards recovery. We can’t wait for next year’s event which will hopefully be even bigger and better!