East London NHS Foundation Trust’s annual People Participation Awards took place amidst the green and pleasant setting of the Mile End Park Ecology Pavilion on 11 August 2022.
The annual event is held to celebrate and recognise the contribution that service users, carers and volunteers make to improving health services.
Over the course of a year, their insights, skills and knowledge is utilised in a variety of different ways, from coproducing service design to assisting on interview panels and training, or as innovative creators of materials that enrich both staff and service user experience of care.
The DJ’s playlist of classic reggae and soul set the upbeat tone of togetherness and unity that lasted throughout the rest of the evening – the perfect soundtrack to celebrate the marvellous achievements of service users and carers for all the work done over the last year and beyond
Welcoming everyone to the Pavillion, Director of People Participation Paul Binfield said that the evening was a really special occasion, being the first time everyone had been able to come together in two years because of the pandemic.
Thirteen different categories of award covered a wide range of themes, including the Volunteer, Carer and Befrienders of the Year, Digital Champion, Trainer of the Year, outstanding Contribution to Quality Improvement/Service Improvement, Creative Talent, Equality, Health and Wellbeing, Young Person of the Year and more.
There were so many highlights of the evening, and many of the achievements were won by people who had fought hard to overcome life challenges and they have done so by working to improve the environment and wellbeing of the people around them.
One such is the award for Health and Wellbeing, which went to Mekka Anen.
In presenting the award, ELFT’s Chief Operating Officer Edwin Ndvolu explained how Mekka had led by example when undertaking quality improvement projects, worked to develop service user fitness, promoted trauma-informed communications to reduce violence, and promoted healthy eating and weight loss to improve people's wellbeing.
Greeted with a big cheer was another worthy winner, Eleanor Addo.
Eleanor won the Contribution to Quality Improvement/Service Improvement award
Eleanor had been a highly dedicated member of the quality improvement project Reclaiming Our Voices, which aims to improve access of service users with Black and Minority backgrounds to Psychology.
ELFT QI Associate Director Auzewell Chitewe described how Eleanor’s contribution to the project had been absolutely central to its success.
The award for Project of the Year went to the Bedfordshire Rainbow Project.
Presenting the award to the team, Trust Non-Executive Director Professor Dame Donna Kinnair said that ‘it was the very definition of people power.’
The team had worked to encourage open conversations about transgender issues, gender dysphoria and exclusionary language.
The project sought to increase public understanding of the challenges faced by transgender people.
Commenting on the whole event at the end of the evening, Head of People Participation Millie Smith said:
“I’m so proud to work alongside such a talented and committed group of people.
“There is so much excellent People Participation work going on across ELFT.
"The annual People Participation awards is a great opportunity to get a taste of that.
“Every single person celebrated here tonight is crucial in nurturing a culture where striving for improvement is an essential part of who we are as a trust.”
Summing up what the awards event meant for her, Professor Dame Kinnair said:
"The annual ELFT People Participation Awards is a very special event.
"Everyone attending and celebrating shares the vision that our health care systems can be improved by service users, carers and health professionals coming together to plan and deliver services.
"It's immensely uplifting to be part of a trust that makes this a top priority."
The Awards in full: