Posted on: 7 August 2023

Psychology teams from across CNWL came together to showcase their services and celebrate their achievements at the CNWL Psychological Professions Celebration Festival.


NHS Trusts usually occupy a single site, like a hospital, teams from different disciplines and subject areas interact on a regular basis.

CNWL is a little different, we have specialist services across London, Milton Keynes and Surrey, so it’s a little difficult for teams to interact in-person when they can be miles away. Thankfully, technology has brought us closer, but nothing can beat being in-person with colleagues.


Fouzia and Kelechi from the Workforce Development of Psychological Professions team wanted to address this and bring teams together in-person. The result was a stunning and atmospheric event.


Comments from those who attended said, “Together at last, it’s so lovely to see everyone”; “non-stop smiling”; “Great to see everyone talking.”

Nick Green, CNWL’s Chief People Officer described the fair as, “A day where service opportunities and possibilities were on full show! Our colleagues providing psychology services were passionate about support they provide for patients, spoke pragmatically about both physical and mental health needs. This was more than just sharing knowledge , practice and networking, it was a moment to pause in the calm, be inspired in energetic conversation, reflect and leave emboldened about what we do!”


Talking about the event Fouzia said, “I think sometimes we do a lot but don’t take a moment to actually look at what we’ve done and share with other professionals our learning and experiences. The more we can do things collectively it will speak for itself in its effect on how we’re feeling because we talk about morale and what is it that makes people inspired, its being part of a collective.”


20 different teams, specialising in different areas of psychology attended, from art therapy, sport therapy to older adult psychology and learning disability teams. It wasn’t only staff that were showcasing their work, patients were there showcasing the changes they are making in their services. A patient with the Sport Therapy Team, had a background in Thai Chi and was delivering a session he would do with fellow patients on inpatient wards and then talking about the effect it had on various factors like aggression on wards.


Abbie Wickham from the Long Covid Psych Team, said “Teams didn’t know we existed and that we can help their patients experiencing psychological long covid symptoms and share our expertise based on those we have treated so far, but now they do thanks to this event.”


Carol who delivers dance therapy at CAMHS, acute wards, older adults wards, learning disability services spoke about how she was able to let professionals who thought dance therapy wouldn’t be right for their patients know that it is used in a variety of services. Carol said, “patients with different conditions can find it hard to express themselves through words, dance therapy allows another outlet to express their feelings and gives those providing their care the ability to understand them more.”


Carol delivered a salsa lesson to attendees which got the whole place dancing, and even some passers-by.


Antonella Giornetti, Senior Psychologist at the Older Adults Team in Harrow said, “Networking is so important to professionals, we need it to share ideas, learning, hear from our peers and learn how to think differently and gain from hearing another colleagues experience.”


Dr Khushbu Haria, Consultant Counselling Psychologist at the Tri-borough Learning Disability Service said, “We work across several London Boroughs, including Brent, Hillingdon and Harrow, some of our own team haven’t met face-to-face yet. Today we’re here all together and it’s so great. We’re talking about our learning disabilities service and our new neurodevelopmental pathway with teams we wouldn’t normally meet.”


The day exemplified the diversity of the Trust in its range of specialist services - unlike any other NHS Trust in the country.


Hundreds of people attended on the day, all professionals at various points in their career, from specialists, trainees to the recently qualified. All were taking a moment to learn about the expertise our Trust has in abundance thanks to the dedication each colleague has for their service and chosen area of study. And all were able to do this in a serene peaceful nature reserve in the middle of London, at Camley, which goes perfectly in hand with the Workforce Development Team of Psychological Professions’ commitment to sustainability.


Christopher Whiteley, Chief Psychologist said, “The shared learning is unparalleled, it’s lovely to see so much chatting about different ideas, people are giving their suggestions on what a service could do next with their latest project.”

The event’s lead organisers were Kelechi Matthias and Fouzia Siddique – a big congratulations on such a successful fair.