On the 1st December 2008, The Meriden Programme was delighted to be awarded the prestigious Health Service Journal “Mental Health Innovation Award 2008”. The Programme was selected from 70 entries in the category and was just one of a handful of winners to achieve this national recognition from a total of more than 800 entries. The evening ceremony was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London and was hosted by Richard Vise, Editor of the HSJ, Health Secretary Alan Johnson and comedian Dara O’Briain.
The HSJ Awards are one of the biggest events in the Healthcare calendar and over 1,300 guests gathered to watch the 18 awards presented to the “finest and most inspirational healthcare professionals in the UK”.
On receiving the award, Dr Grainne Fadden, Programme Director said “There is a clear message here from the judges that there is no point in innovation unless systems are established to make the innovation sustainable. This is what we have done and we are delighted that our long-term commitment and persistence has been acknowledged.
Most of all we are delighted that the needs of families are highlighted through us winning this award. There are many areas where services to families need to be improved, and the fact that a family programme has been honoured in this work gives a very clear message that families are important.”
The British Psychological Society (BPS) West Midlands Branch launched a new award in 2008 for BPS members who had completed work or research which in some way has brought psychology as a discipline to the attention of their community and shown how it can add value. The judges were keen to see what innovative and creative work was going on in the West Midlands, UK. The entry process was either through self-nomination or by a member of the community. The award was open to all psychologists, not just clinical psychologists and the judges were Dr Sue Gardiner and Dr Dennis Trent. Dr Gráinne Fadden was nominated by West Midlands carers for her extensive work in developing services for families, with the entry supported by several testimonials from families who had benefited from the work of the Meriden Programme.
The winner of the award was Dr Joe Kiff who had developed a computer information system called The Psychology Wiki (www.psychology.wikia.com). Dr Gráinne Fadden came in second place for her work developing and sustaining the Meriden Programme. The judges were extremely impressed with the scale and impact of the Programme with Dr Sue Gardiner commenting:
“This is a very impressive scheme which deserves all the praise it is acquiring. One day every county will have a service such as this because families will demand it. The testimonials are extremely moving. Congratulations to all involved”.
Dr Dennis Trent added: “A project with wide applicability and direct impact on the population, this is user focussed and has achieved good agency involvement”. Helena Taylor-Knox said: “I was privileged also to see your entry and felt inspired and impressed by your work. For entering the award and your contribution to the arena of Psychology in the West Midlands and beyond, I thank you”.
In third place was Jennifer Heathcote-Osborne for supporting families where there is parental separation and custody disputes (www.maypole.org.uk).
On December the 19th 2008, the Meriden Family Programme was delighted to be awarded 3rd place in the Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trusts (BSMHFT) “Board Challenge” for their Black and Minority Ethnic Caring for Carers Programme.
The aim of BSMHFTs challenge is to celebrate and learn from innovative ways of improving services within the Trust. In 2008 the challenges focussed on 5 of the Trust’s 10 strategic goals which aim to help shape mental health services across Birmingham and Solihull. The 10 strategic goals look at every aspect of the Trust and how each aspect contributes to the service user experience.
The Meriden Programme submitted their BME Caring for Carers programme under Category 1 which seeks to “Eliminate stigma; Remove barriers and create opportunities for new development.” According to Lakhvir Rellon, Director of Diversity, BSMHFT, “The main objective of this award is to recognise and reward those teams and individuals who can demonstrate positive achievements in the promotion of equality and inclusivity and a real and practical commitment to tackling inequalities.”
The Caring for Carers programme is an innovative training programme for carers of people experiencing mental health difficulties, with a specific emphasis on the needs of Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) carers. The training is designed to bring together small teams of carer workers/carers to participate in an initial 3-day training event. During these 3 days, the teams are trained in the practical skills necessary to deliver a rolled-out 11-week carer education package with specific reference to the experience of mental health service users from black and minority ethnic groups, their families and communities.
With support from NIMHE (formerly the Care Services Improvement Partnership), Meriden has delivered 3 training programmes since 2007, establishing close links with a variety of statutory and third sector agencies, resulting in a number of BME Caring for Carers programmes being delivered across the West Midlands.
For further details of the Caring for Carers programme, please visit the “Workstreams” section of the web-site.
Sponsored by the Department of Health and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, the aim of the awards is to bring public recognition to the hundreds of outstanding examples of dedication, innovation and success at the frontline of both health & social care.
There were over 2000 entries received from the Midlands & East Region, with 15 categories within the awards and we were one of three finalists for the Social Care Award.
The award was a great recognition of the achievements and value of the programme.
The Meriden Family Work Programme was announced as joint winner of one of the first ‘Positive Practice Awards’ presented by NIMHE. The award category was ‘Modernising Mental Health Services’. The criteria for the entry under this award category was for the project or service to show how it had translated evidence into clinical practice. This seemed to fit exactly what the Meriden Programme had been attempting to achieve for the past five years.
We were delighted to win such a prestigious award and were invited to the award ceremony on 11 June 2004 in London. Gráinne Fadden, Marie Crofts and Peter Woodhams attended the ceremony. It was fantastic to hear about all the projects and service developments happening across the country where staff, service users and carers were working together with the common goal of improving mental health services for all.
It was also an honour to represent the programme. The ‘real’ winners are all the committed managers, trainers, therapists, carers and service users across the West Midlands who have continued enthusiasm for working with families, and we congratulate them, as without them the Meriden Programme would not exist.