Please note: This website is best viewed in a modern browser like Chrome, Edge or Firefox. We no longer support Internet Explorer 11.

14 August 2022

'The Definition of People Power' The People Participation Awards 2022

Celebrating service user and carers achievements at this year's People Participation Awards
PP awards

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:

Samina Khan is incredibly dedicated and innovative in her volunteering.

She has attended and supported the Health Development walking group at Olympic park throughout the pandemic and up until now, rain and shine.

She started a badminton social group and sourced the rackets herself; started a laughing session as part of the walking group and encouraged other service users to start attending and to reach out for more physical and social activity.

Samina is inspiring, energetic and committed.


Ameliyah Bibi has a track record of getting the best out of her befriendees. She has encouraged more than one with long-term anxiety and unable to leave their homes to overcome this challenge - and one person even went on to find full-time work.

One service user was so terrified of Covid they had not left their house for over a year. Ameliyah helped them get over their anxiety, encouraged them to get vaccinated, get back on regular medication and go outside again. 

Terri Bennett has a long track record of receiving excellent feedback from her befriendees and takes on some of the most in need befriendees we see. People who are struggling with bereavement, terminal illness, and chronic health problems have all found joy and hope through Terri's actions. 

Terri has also been a source of inspiration and support for her fellow befrienders, offering up mentoring and training for new starters. 


Toyba Razaq has been nominated for her important work on interview panels across the trust. She has brought a much-needed carers perspective to their interviewing.

She is excellent at putting the interviewee at ease, and has a superb understanding of suitable candidates for the posts. 

Saskia Lawrence has worked tirelessly to set up social media accounts and has been working on the CAMHS social media presence for an upcoming event ‘Better Days’ that hopes to bring communities in Bedfordshire and Luton together and promote mental health awareness and services.

She has been involved with recording a promotional video and is dedicated to providing digital access to all age groups and making mental healthcare more accessible.

She has also petitioned to make the CAMHS online access more inclusive by challenging non-inclusive gender approaches. 



Joanna Moonesinghe joined people participation a year ago and during this period she has contributed in so many ways.

She has grown into a very influential trainer, using her lived experience of being a carer extremely effectively to educate staff, to enhance their understanding and also to show how we can bring our values to life.

She has become an integral and irreplaceable member of the Academy of Lived Experience, gaining great respect and admiration from everyone. 



Sana Mohammed has been central in the research project for the educational film for RAMHP (Rough Sleeping Adult Mental Health Project).

She was involved in the early discussion around making it a joint project, the development of the idea of the film as a teaching tool and sat on the steering group for the procurement of the company to do the filming of the project.

Sana's energy and enthusiasm is very much appreciated by everyone she works alongside. 

Eleanor Addo has been a highly dedicated member of the QI project Reclaiming our Voices running in THEIS.

This project has aimed to improve the access of service users from Black and Minority backgrounds to Psychology.

They have been passionately involved in the project for over 2 years, attending fortnightly meetings and both chairing and minuting these.

She has attended QI training, has set up and co-led feedback forums with psychologists, and has brought valuable contributions to the project. 

Jay Worthington is an extremely talented artist and over all extremely creative.

Jay has been so kind in his willingness to share art whenever anyone requests. He has created artwork for many different resources in the trust, as well as creating artwork for the Discovery College, for the trans and gender questioning Trust intranet page, and more recently on the Better Days project.

His artwork has made a great impact on CAMHS. 

The Tower Hamlets Continence Service User Group has been working hard to increase access to the Continence Service and reduce the stigma associated with bladder and bowel continence issues.

Their work has resulted in increasing equality and equity of access so that residents are aware of the service and know that they can seek help.

They ensured that residents had access to a Bengali speaker, which was a real bonus.

All the members of the group were sharing their experience of continence issues they experienced and how the service could help them.

Given the sensitivity that many people feel in relation of continence issues, this is truly brave.

Brilliant work by the Tower Hamlets Nature Calling Continence Project and very well deserved. 

Mekka Anen is a service user who leads by example when undertaking QI projects.

He joins QI workgroups that develop ward peers’ fitness, to promote trauma informed communications, to reduce violence, to promote healthy eating and weight loss and improving wellbeing.

Moreover, he really shines when asked to talk about the QI work. 

Jane Fernandes has worked with ELFT as a panel member on a vast number of interview panels, interviewing staff across all disciplines and seniority.

She is an extremely competent panel member who is able to confidently use her interpersonal qualities to support interviewees during interview.

She will tentatively engage interviewees with appropriate prompts to encourage and enable them to do their best during interview.

She is also able to confidently use her lived experiences to assess candidate’s therapeutic qualities and engagement skills.

Jane is clearly an asset to the organisation and is a pleasure to work with.

Isma Begum has worked on both the Inpatient Development Redesign project for 6 months and the interim CAMHS ward redesign.

Her contribution was crucial to getting the building design consistently appropriate for neuro-diverse young people who may need to transition to adult services.

Despite being only 16, and having her own social communication challenges to overcome - she was a huge asset.

Isma is so resourceful: she can present information and insight with a quiet confidence that people really listen to.

Her achievements deserve recognition and this is a very much deserved award. 

Satwinder Kaur has been consistently a great asset to ELFT in so many areas. QI, working together groups, and conferences, to name just a few.

She has given so much -  from utilising her lived experience to baking delicious cakes to supporting new people in People Participation as well as supporting teams/services to think differently.

Her creativity (especially her poems) and kindness are fabulous. 


East London NHS Foundation Trust


Quality Improvement 


People Participation.