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Hundreds of staff from Goodall division turn out for 'inspirational' celebration

11 October 2017

(Photo: A staff member with Steve Judge at the event)

Over 500 members of staff turned up at the Goodall celebration on Monday, in West London.

The day was marked by a celebratory mood, with staff saying they’d been inspired. Key highlights included a guest speech from two times World Champion Steve Judge, a presentation from a Hillingdon service user who credited her independent life to Hillingdon mental health services, and sessions to pamper and equip staff with tools to be more resilient and self-compassionate.

It was the first event of its kind for the division.

The event was hosted by the division to say thank you to its staff. Goodall is the Trust’s largest division, covering a wide range of services including Palliative Care, CAMHS, community services in Hillingdon and Camden, and the Community Independence Service, among others.

The division had surveyed staff months ago to find out what they’d expect from an event, and used this feedback to put together a programme of events.

The day kicked off with a warm welcome from divisional directors, Maria O’Brien and Dr Paul Hopper, who invited everyone to observe a minute of silence for those affected by the Grenfell fire.

To get everyone in the right frame of mind for the day ahead, Justin Haroun from the University of Westminster’s Centre for Resilience led a calming mindfulness session.

Patient stories 

There was a segment that focused on patient stories to remind staff of why they do what they do. This included presentations from the Camden Breastfeeding Service and Palliative Care showing patient feedback . But it was Laura, a Hillingdon mental health service user, whose talk moved some of the audience to tears. Laura was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was just 16, and said the support from CNWL’s services in Hillingdon helped her to stay independent.

“I have had a lot of ups and downs with my mental health through the years, and I feel without the support of the Community Mental Health Team, including the administration team, I feel my recovery could have been a lot different,” she said.

Health & wellbeing focus

Aside from hearing from patients, staff had also said they wanted to find out how to better look after themselves during stressful times. There was a range of information stalls including ones on health and wellbeing and staff benefits, the Staying Well at Work Service, service user involvement, smoking cessation, Unison and apprenticeships.

A Walk-in back rub therapist gives a staff member a message

After lunch, staff were treated to free mini back massages, courtesy the Walk-in Backrub shop, who sent us two complimentary therapists. The flu jab clinic, hosted by Occupational Health, ran out of jabs and had to call for more! The break-out sessions were popular and well attended too. Staff got one-to-one career development support in speed mentoring sessions, hosted by the Education team; and the University of Westminster’s interactive sessions on Resilience, then Self-compassion and mindfulness attracted a majority of the staff attending on the day. Hundreds of staff packed the room and got involved in the sessions that included plenty of exercises and practical tips from facilitators, Justin Haroun and Kate Fismer. In Kate’s session, a majority of the staff present admitted they were kinder to others when things went wrong, than they were to themselves. Among other techniques, staff learnt self-soothing exercises that they could use in stressful times.

'Talk more about the extraordinary things our staff do'

A fiery Steve Judge, the two times World Champion, told the audience to “turn your excuses into challenges,” as he shared his inspiring story. He had been told he’d never walk again after a near-fatal accident, but after years of rehabilitation and training, he went on to represent Great Britain as a disabled athlete in paratriathlon (swim, bike, run).

He ‘stole the show’ and after his presentation, staff flocked to him for conversation and selfies. Our twitter feed erupted after the event, with staff in high praises of Steve’s presentation.

Claire Murdoch, our Chief Executive, told staff “one of the major priorities for the year ahead will be to show staff how much they are valued. We need to do better by you. It’s right that we should have fire in our bellies about better standards, we must never lose that.”

She said that staff were used to doing extraordinary things every day and we should celebrate that more often. “We should talk more about the extraordinary nature of the ordinary, everyday.”

The event closed with a prize draw. Ten lucky staff from across the division received £50 Amazon vouchers, courtesy our kind supplier, Hunters Contracts.