Cygnet Staff Achievement Awards 2023 – Announcing Our Winners

Marcus Trescothick on the stage of the 2023 Cygnet Staff Achievement Awards

On Tuesday 21st November staff from across Cygnet gathered at Edgbaston Cricket Club’s Banqueting Suite in Birmingham to mark our second Cygnet Staff Achievement Awards.

Together we shared the amazing talent and dedication of our staff across health and social care. With a room full of fabulous finalists, judges, and our guests, it was a pleasure to hear so many inspiring stories.

We received almost 1,200 nominations across 15 categories, shortlisted to 59 finalists, all judged by different, independent panels recognising the range of skills we have across our workforce. Through the nomination process saw so many wonderful examples of how our staff go above and beyond and step-up to work outside of their role, sacrificing their time and dedication for the benefit of the individuals in their care.

Marcus Trescothick in conversation with Lord Patel of Bradford

All winners were presented with their awards by former England cricketer, Marcus Trescothick, who was guest of honour at the event. Marcus, in conversation with Lord Kamlesh Patel OBE, Cygnet’s Senior Independent Director, kick-started the event by talking to the 280-strong audience about the mental health struggles he had experienced throughout his playing career.

Group CEO Dr Tony Romero

Dr Tony Romero, our Group CEO, said: “Last year’s inaugural event was incredibly uplifting, hearing the countless stories about how so many of our staff have provided life-changing care and support.

“This year’s occasion was even bigger and better. It was fantastic to hear about how so many staff wanted to celebrate and recognise their colleagues who go above and beyond for the individuals in their care.

“To all finalists, I want to say congratulations on this well-deserved recognition. They were selected for their passion for their work, their commitment to excellence, and their unwavering dedication to our service users. I felt inspired and it is only right that we celebrate and share successes and recognise the difference our work makes each day.

“Cygnet has a proud, 35-year history of providing quality care to some of society’s most vulnerable. From the very beginning, back in 1988, it has been the caring nature of our staff who have played the greatest role in ensuring we change lives for the better. Their hard work and dedication are the foundation of our success, and I am proud to work alongside such exceptional individuals and teams. They really do go above and beyond to give our service users hope of a brighter future.

“It is an immense privilege to work with staff across the organisation and to learn from their professionalism and integrity.

Lucy Scarborough, Director of Communications, whose team planned and organised the event, said: “From myself and the Communications Team, we’d like to say a huge congratulations to each of our finalists and thank you for being part of the celebrations yesterday. The quality and standard of nominations was incredibly high and to be shortlisted is a fantastic achievement. Thanks to all our judges, guests and everyone across Cygnet who helped make this a day to remember.

“It was heartening to hear people say they’re already thinking of who they can nominate next year. There was a real feel-good factor about being able to recognise each other’s achievements and the Communications Team is already looking forward to an even bigger event in 2024.”

Congratulations to our winners, who are all listed below.

Care; Joy in Work Award

Presented by Cygnet’s Director of Nursing, David Wilmott, the Care; Joy in Work Award recognises an outstanding commitment to make Cygnet a great place to work by improving staff health and wellbeing, building team spirit and bringing some fun into the work place.

Florence Ajibade

Winner: Florence Ajibade, Staff Support Co-ordinator, Cygnet Hospital Beckton

Florence is outstanding in terms of staff support. She has been amazing at welcoming new international nurses to the hospital – supporting them to settle in, guiding them through induction and always being there for them, every step of the way. She is a Mental Health First Aider, member of the Staff Relations Group and is always ready to help all our staff at Beckton with any issues.

Respect; Inclusion & Diversity Award

Presented by Dame Clare Gerada, one of Cygnet’s Non Executive Directors, the Respect; Inclusion & Diversity Award is for a team or individual who promotes equality, diversity and inclusion to help make Cygnet a better place for others.

Kirti Paik-Inkar, Clinical Team Leader, Cygnet Hospital Woking

Winner: Kirti Paik-Inkar, Clinical Team Leader, Cygnet Hospital Woking

Kirti is a quiet and humble staff member, who works tirelessly to ensure that diversity is celebrated at Woking, and that all staff feel included.

She shows cultural sensitivity in her daily practice with patients from different backgrounds, demonstrating kindness and compassion, and most importantly making them feel included. Kirti is a kind and caring individual who always checks in on colleagues and gives her support.

Empower; Mover & Shaker Award

Presented by Vicky McNally, Director of Partnerships & Engagement, the Empower; Mover & Shaker Award recognises a person that has helped to empower others by inspiring, motivating and making things happen.

Luke Skelton

Winner: Luke Skelton Ward Manager, Bramley Ward, Cygnet Appletree

Luke never fails to tell someone that they’ve done a great job and actively encourages the team to voice their ideas to improve the way we work.

Staff really feel that they can develop their skills under Luke’s guidance and if they want to do extra training in any area, Luke will support them to do it. Through this, Bramley Ward is an efficient and caring place, for both staff and our service users.

Trust; Helping Hand Award

Presented by Cygnet’s Group Clinical Director, Jon Van Niekerk, the Trust; Helping Hand Award. This award recognises those who work together with a clear commitment to collaboration, improving services, overcoming barriers and innovation.

Emma Hahn, Senior Occupational Therapist, Cygnet Hospital Churchill

Winner: Emma Hahn, Senior Occupational Therapist, Cygnet Hospital Churchill

Emma is a professional who consistently goes above and beyond her role, demonstrating unwavering dedication and compassion.

Recognising that the discharge process is a pivotal point in a patient’s recovery, Emma works tirelessly to ensure patients have the necessary resources and support systems in place when they return home. She collaborates closely with other healthcare professionals, family members, and community organisations to establish a robust network of support for her patients. By doing so, she significantly enhances their chances of continued progress and successful reintegration into their daily lives.

Integrity; Hand on Heart Award

Presented by Pam Wenger, Cygnet’s Board Secretary, the Integrity; Hand on Heart Award. This award recognises those who are guided by a strong moral code, are brave to speak up and play a part in promoting open cultures.

Ann Wanjiku Pearson, Health Care Assistant, Cygnet Hospital Kewstoke

Winner: Ann Wanjiku Pearson, Health Care Assistant, Cygnet Hospital Kewstoke

Ann makes time to get to know each service users’ likes and dislikes and she explores what will make them feel better. She treats all service users as individuals and shows endless kindness. She has a sense of humour that would encourage a smile, even when someone is having a bad day. She is an asset to the team on Lodge Ward.

Delivering Service Excellence; The Show Stopper Award

Presented by Peter Smith, Managing Director of Health Care South, Delivering Service Excellence; The Showstopper Award recognises a successful team or individual that has made a positive and measurable improvement to the quality of a service.

Steph Coxon and members of the Cygnet Brunel team

Winner: Cygnet Brunel

Brunel was the first site to receive QI Ready Status and they also blazed a trail by having a project fully led by a service user. Hospital Manager, Steph Coxon, ensured this service user had all the equipment, access and support required to make their QI Project a success. So much so they went on to present at various forums including the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Steph and the team really did empower this service user and the QI project was a huge step in their own personal recovery journey.

Innovation for the Future; Game Changer Award

Presented by last year’s winner, Stu Hooper from Cygnet Hospital Taunton, The Future; Game Changer Award recognises Innovation for the future. The judges were looking for partnerships or initiatives that create links to our local communities, that can enhance the health and wellbeing of others, address environmental challenges or inspire people to take action.

Jorden Gallagher, Service Manager, Ranaich House

Winner: Jorden Gallagher, Service Manager, Ranaich House

Jorden is always looking at ways to make links with the Dunblane community. The most recent partnership has been with a local elderly care home to create an inter-generational project and bring the two services together.

Jorden’s approach helps to inspire others to take great pride in their work and the care they provide. This was recently recognised by Scotland’s Care Inspectorate who gave the service its highest rating ever, which is a testament to Jorden’s input.

Learner or Researcher of the Year

Presented by Mandy Blanchard, Head of Learning and Development, the Learner or Researcher of the Year Award is for an individual who has applied their learning or research to make positive improvements at Cygnet during the past year. The judging was so tight for this category that judges have selected two winners.

Kennedy Bowman, Nurse, Cygnet Hospital Derby & David Sanchez-Heredia, Senior Support Worker, Cygnet Churchill

Winners: Kennedy Bowman, Nurse, Cygnet Hospital Derby & David Sanchez-Heredia, Senior Support Worker, Cygnet Churchill

Kennedy started her nursing pathway journey in 2018 in our second Cohort of Nurse Associates. From her interview, it was clear she would shine and she has certainly done this. Gaining distinctions in all her apprenticeships, Kennedy also received the prestigious Florence Nightingale Award from Derby University this year for her outstanding work on her Registered Nurse Degree. Kennedy is now starting her third Apprenticeship with us as a future leader and is already an absolute rising star for the Learning and Development Team.

David is a highly respected member of staff who has overcome so many barriers to develop the refined expertise and leadership qualities he displays. He has completed his apprenticeship course and has begun his journey onto the Nurse Associate programme. He recently achieved 100% in his OSCE exam and his colleagues say he will be a valued member of any nursing team in the future.

Support Act of the Year

Presented by Lee Hammon, Chief Commercial Officer, the Support Act of the Year Award is for a team or individual who provides first-class support behind the scenes to help our frontline services run smoothly.

Mike Ellis, Complaints Assistant in the Partnerships & Engagement Directorate

Winner: Mike Ellis, Complaints Assistant in the Partnerships & Engagement Directorate

Mike has been a key supporter in transforming how complaints are managed and how we listen to and learn from feedback. His heartfelt and genuine commitment to wanting to provide the best service for everyone cannot be underestimated and his innovation has had a positive impact for service users.

He does all of this in the background, quietly going about his work, with many not realising how essential his role is. Despite challenges, Mike always remains positive and is always helpful. Mike really does display all of Cygnet’s values in his daily interactions.

Bright Future Award

Presented by Raf Hamaizia, our Expert by Experience Lead, the Bright Future Award is for someone who joined Cygnet within the last year, hit the ground running and had a positive impact at their service.

Steven Mitchell, Head Chef, Cygnet Hospital Stevenage

Winner: Steven Mitchell, Head Chef, Cygnet Hospital Stevenage

Steve joined Stevenage when the kitchen had imploded and he has truly turned things around. He creates menus to cater for the different cultural and culinary tastes of our diverse workforce. He has enrolled our service users as quality and taste testers for his new menus, which they are genuinely thrilled about!

He turns up each day with the most exemplary ‘can-do’ attitude and a smile on his face. We feel incredibly lucky to have him and we’re grateful for the healthy, nutritious food he serves.

Essential People Award; Unsung Hero

Presented by Clare Shard, Head of the British Sign Language Interpreting and Translation Department, at Cygnet Hospital Bury, the Essential People; Unsung Hero Award is to honour the everyday heroes working with us at Cygnet. That unsung hero who is always there and will pitch in and do whatever is needed to help and support their colleagues and service users.

Anthony Hanna, Support Worker, Cygnet Wast Hills

Winner: Anthony Hanna, Support Worker, Cygnet Wast Hills

Tony had never worked as a support worker before but he has all the qualities you could wish for – he is empathetic, understanding and a good listener. Our service users really like him and always want him to support them.

He always has a smile for everyone and is always happy to be at work – nothing is ever too much trouble for him. One person said, “If I needed a family member to be cared for, I would definitely choose Tony.”

Swan Award

Presented by Jenny Gibson, our HR Director, the Swan Award recognises those who have completed 10 or more years of service and continue to innovate, motivate and make a significant contribution every day.

Lisa Phelan, Support Worker, Kirkside House

Winner: Lisa Phelan, Support Worker, Kirkside House

Lisa is in her 12th year at Kirkside House and makes it her personal mission to support all our staff to understand each resident’s history, routines and boundaries. She often receives positive feedback from colleagues for doing this and is wholly committed to always “getting it right for residents.”

Lisa is an ambassador for our values and behaviours. The truly compassionate care she gives has a significant impact on Kirkside residents, making her truly deserving of this recognition.

All Star Service User’s Choice Award

Presented by Lord Kamlesh Patel OBE, this is a new award for 2023. This award gives service users, including their families and carers, the opportunity to nominate a member of staff who they feel deserves special recognition for the exceptional care they give.

Whatever their role, these individuals or teams are a shining light and deserve to be celebrated and recognised for the way they care. This was incredibly difficult category to judge. So much so, a decision was taken to recognise two winners.

Cygnet Aspen Clinic & Redlands staff team members

Winners: Cygnet Aspen Clinic & Redlands Staff Team

Cygnet Aspen Clinic: Service users praised Hospital Manager Neil Booth’s open-door policy, making service users feel at ease when approaching him to talk. They said he always offers support to everyone no matter how busy he is. He genuinely cares and is exceptionally supportive and empathetic; always aiming higher for his service users and staff.

In their nomination, service users also praised Support Worker Nicole, describing her as “phenomenally kind-hearted and compassionate” with a “cracking sense of humour”. They said “she is one of the most exceptional support workers we have met.”

Redlands Staff Team: Redlands staff constantly go the extra mile, encouraging their residents to learn independent skills and empower them to live fulfilling lives. Their can-do attitude inspires residents to achieve things they never thought were possible. A service user described how, prior to being at Redlands, they wouldn’t go out into the community, had no independent living skills and would only ever leave the house if it was to go for a ride with his dad in the car. Thanks to support from the entire staff team, he is now able to go to café’s, will happily take public transport and has learnt how to cook meals for his friends.

Another resident said: “My message to everyone with mental health issues and learning disabilities is that, with a can-do attitude and a great team behind you, you should never give up. Redlands can help you complete your goals in life.”

Social Care Service of the Year

New for 2023, this category recognises a service delivering great care. Presented by Gareth Williams, CEO Social Care.

Outwood team members

Winner: Outwood

The team at Outwood work incredibly hard to provide care for their 10 amazing residents. The home has a brilliant atmosphere which makes everyone feel safe and supported. Most residents are non-verbal and many have very strict routines so the team works hard to give them opportunities to live full and interesting lives. Each resident continues to thrive and meet their goals.

One member of the team said: “Our residents are a joy to support and put a smile on everyone’s face. They make you want to come to work every day and do the very best you can.”

Health Care Service of the Year

New for 2023, this category recognises a service delivering great care. Presented by Stephen Firn, CEO Health Care.

Team members from Cygnet Appletree, Cygnet Hospital Hexham and Cygnet Victoria House

Winner: North East PICU Wards – Cygnet Appletree, Cygnet Hospital Hexham and Cygnet Victoria House

All three teams have excelled in their patient-focused approach to supporting individuals in to their services. They have embraced innovative ways of working and engaged in QI work to enhance the patient and staff experience. The teams have worked cohesively, focusing on positive and collaborative ways of working within this challenging environment. They have consistently demonstrated a collaborative approach with internal and external partners and a ‘can do’ attitude, which has meant that – even in the most difficult of circumstances – they have accepted and supported individuals into their wards.

CEO Special Recognition Award

This award has been chosen by our CEO, Dr Tony Romero, in special recognition of an individual who has gone above and beyond in their service. This year the award was presented to someone who has dedicated their career to caring for others. Not just service users, but also colleagues who have been inspired by this person’s leadership, compassion and knowledge.

Deputy Nursing Director, Jo-Ann McAuliffe

Winner: Deputy Nursing Director, Jo-Ann McAuliffe

Jo-Ann joined us in 2006 and began her journey managing Delfryn House.

Following that she became a Nurse Assessor and then managed and developed the Nurse Assessor team. As time has gone on she became the Regional Nurse Director for the North and continues to oversee the Assessor Team.

Day, night or on a weekend she is always willing to travel to services, provide practical support and guidance and roll up her sleeves.

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