Posted on: 24 May 2023

An interview with CW+ on their Best For You programme

CW+ is the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. In this interview, James Porter (Director of Campaigns and Major Programmes at CW+) and Saskia Delman (Design Manager overseeing Built Environment Projects at CW+), discuss their Best for You programme, the work that went into building the partnership, their new day service for under 18s and the designing of this service space.

What is Best for You?

James: Best for You is a whole programme stretching across a partnership of five core organisations. They have come together to work within the broader landscape of young people’s mental health in North West London, to support what’s already there in new ways.

The five partner organisations are:

  • Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL)
  • West London Trust (WLT)
  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Trust (ChelWest)
  • Imperial College as evaluation partner
  • CW+ in a coordinating role

How did a multi-partnership with the different NHS Trusts develop?

James: Someone within the CW+ community came forward with personal experience of loved ones facing young people’s mental health challenges and wanted to do something about this wider issue. So, we spoke with Chief Executives across these NHS Trusts and the partnership started coming together.

Around that, we set up a governance process. On our Oversight Board we have myself, the CEO of CW+, the CEOs of the three NHS Trusts, Clinical Directors, experts by experience, and a number of non-NHS people who’ve held senior positions at Google or at large private healthcare organisations. We wanted to include as many relevant voices, opinions and perspectives as possible, and we’ve really benefited from their ability to challenge and connect us with things outside of our normal sphere.

What are the challenges in building a multi-partnership?

James: The biggest challenge is time! Time to dedicate to thinking, understanding how this fits in with other programmes, understanding what input is needed and getting the structures and processes in place to make it happen. These things don’t happen overnight. I’ve been responsible for a number of large integrated care projects – the ones that succeed are given space to grow.

What learning would you share with other organisations that might consider developing a similar multi-partnership?

James: Getting the right people is key. We’ve had brilliant support from the top table at each organisation involved. We’ve also been lucky to have excellent clinical leadership in the programme – they are instrumental to how things have been designed and communicated.

Relationships are important. I used to work with a Medical Director who, whilst discussing a partnership with another organisation, said “James, I’m sorry, I’ve spent my entire career being taught to compete with that organisation, I can’t suddenly switch my brain into becoming best friends with them”. That’s an extreme example, but some of that sentiment can bubble under the surface, and it does need to be acknowledged and worked through. When you have strong relationships, people are able to acknowledge the limits of their experience and hand over control to those with more expertise – that’s what reaps the best results.

What are the latest developments on offer with Best for You?

James: Our latest developments include our digital offer and our new day service run by CNWL due to open this Summer.

Our digital offer provides NHS-assured and accredited information, signposting and tools through innovative content delivery that young people will engage with. Our resources include a 24/7 Text Support Service, a dedicated Mental Health Support Apps Library, borough-based physical and digital directories, and community partnerships. We are happy to visit or train NHS teams in how to use our digital platform and offers.

The new day service, run by CNWL, will have a core clinical function around eating disorders. We’ll take some of the most unwell young patients who are currently treated in private inpatient settings because there was no alternative, and move them back into NHS care to treat them in a day case model – there’s lots of clinical evidence for why that is a better option. The second part of the day service will run groups, out-of-hours and at weekends, to include family therapy, peer support, and drop-ins for young people who have questions or who need someone to talk to.

How have young people influenced the design of the day service?

Saskia: Key themes that emerged from our consultations included the sophistication of the design – young people wanted to feel they were going into a mature, welcoming, beautifully designed space with calm muted colours. They didn’t want something too childlike, overbranded or overly busy. ‘Zoning’ also came up as important – young people wanted different areas providing opportunities for comfort, relaxation or privacy.

This has been powerful for the young people involved as their feedback was responded to in a tangible way, right down to things like textures, colours and finishes – all important elements for the end-user experience.

How will the day service space continue to evolve?CW+ article sketch.jpg.png

Saskia: Our resident CW+ artists will continue working with young participants to design additional pieces of artwork to further influence the space. Our exhibition display system for co-curated content will be continually refreshed, so any young person who comes into the service space has the opportunity to influence it. I’m really looking forward to opening the space and inviting our young consultees back to hear their views on it!

What have been your personal Best For You highlights?

Saskia: I’ve really enjoyed meeting everyone involved, from the young consultants to the clinical team, and hearing their aspirations for the space. We have a group of committed young stalwarts who’ve come to all the consultations, and have given us incredibly considered and candid feedback. They have strong views, they’re honest, and have a remarkable ability to analyse and understand what’s going to work for them – working with them has been inspirational, and keeps us on our toes!

James: I tend to talk at a macro level stating facts like “NW London is the biggest health economy in the UK by population with 2.4 million people. 500,000 are under 21 years and 37,000 have a registered mental health diagnosis”. It can be easy to get caught up in those large numbers when really it’s about individuals. When we were at a University Health and Wellbeing Fair, there were several occasions when a young person came to our stand to chat about Best for You, wandered around the other stands, then circled back to us to pick up a leaflet. That’s what we should be focusing on – the one person who picks up the leaflet because we’ve had a conversation with them, or texts the support service because they’ve seen the number on a social media post. That’s what it’s all about – helping that one individual who needs it.