The awards took place on Wednesday 20th September with almost 180 people joining us to celebrate the achievements of those accessing mental health, learning disability and autism services nationwide.
This year the awards ceremony was held in the Treetops Pavilion at the West Midlands Safari Park. The venue inspired many of our guests to dress in animal-themed attire and during the lunch break they also had the opportunity to access the park’s Discovery Trail which includes an aquarium and the Penguin Cove.
All the guests were treated to a red carpet entrance, fresh drinks and breakfast snacks before the ceremony itself started. On each table there were some very special centrepieces handmade by the patients in the women’s service at Rampton Hospital. Each guest was also given a gift bag that included a programme, pen, fidget toy, sweets and some motivational cards.
Including the Mark Britton Service User Choice Award, we had six fantastic winners on the day. The categories and winners were as follows:
- Celebrating Diversity Award –‘LGBTQ+ Folk & Friends’, Women’s Service Education Department, Rampton Hospital, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Hope and Positivity Award – ‘Vicki’s Makaton Teaching’, Cygnet Elms, Cygnet Group
- Innovation in Recovery Award – ‘Deepness Ltd Radio and other projects’, Deepness Radio Ltd
- Community and Collaboration Award – ‘On Myself’, Stockton Hall Hospital, Priory Group
- Lived Experience Leader Award – Leanne Walker, Derbyshire’s Living Well Programme, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Mark Britton Service User Choice Award – Femi Gbadamosi, St Ann’s Hospital, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey NHS Mental Health Trust
In between the award presentations entertainment was provided by a number of service users in different mediums including song and poetry. In the lunchtime break our guests were also treated to some fantastic magic tricks courtesy of Angus Baskerville Magic.
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. Once again we were honoured to have Mark’s mum Maggie present the award in person.
Guest judge Linda Bryant, CEO of Together Trust, said: “Every year I get more emotional. I go between laughing and smiling to being really moved and this year the quality of the finalists is just amazing. We are seeing some really unique projects that we’ve never seen before. It is just an amazing event.”
David, a member of the Service User Events Team, who helped plan the event said: “There’s been a lot of inclusivity. A lot of what we talked about in meetings has come to fruition here. The awards have been amazing, from start to finish I’ve been glued to the stage. It has really inspired me and given me ideas that I want to take back to my service and try and implement there.”
Upon winning the Lived Experience Leader Award, Leanne Walker, said: “I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I feel proud and I feel emotional. Standing up there with such amazing and incredible people, I feel honoured to have won.”
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 judges, and our guest judges. Thank you also to our sponsor Cygnet Group.
We would also like to give a special mention to our events team for working so hard on planning the day. It is through their dedication and enthusiasm that the awards are kept alive each year, so we want to say a huge thank you and well done to them all.
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!