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National Service User Awards Focus Group Day

On Tuesday 21st February, individuals from mental health and learning disability services across the country were invited to come together and share their thoughts about the National Service User Awards. The overall aim of the day being to expand, develop and grow the Awards by listening to the individuals at the heart of them.

Cygnet Health Care have sponsored the Awards since their inception in 2012. Following the 10th annual ceremony last year, it was agreed that it would be a good time to reflect, review and make some changes for 2023 and for the years to come.

Representatives met at Belton Woods Hotel in Lincolnshire from; Cygnet Elms, Cygnet Hospital Derby, Francis Willis Unit, Discovery House, The Farndon Unit, Waterloo Manor, Cheswold Park Hospital, Roseberry Park Hospital and the Yorkshire and Humber Involvement Network.

First up was an important discussion about the title of the awards. The term ‘service user’ was preferred back in 2012, but is it a little out of date? Those in the room agreed that it wasn’t necessarily a term they identified with, but that they like the logo and think keeping it will help people to recognise the awards. After sharing some ideas about better language, it was decided by the group that the new name options would be put to a vote at the 2023 Awards Ceremony. The new name will then be officially launched in preparation for the 2024 Awards.

The award values were discussed and how these could link to new categories, to ensure that the right types of projects are nominated. Everyone in the room shared a few key words and feelings they associated with the awards, which will be reviewed and the categories updated accordingly.

After lunch, the group had the exciting task of reviewing the venue options for 2023. Although this information will be top secret for now, there is a shortlist that the service user events team will be visiting.

There was a final opportunity towards the end of the day to share any ideas for the awards this year. Some suggestions were having a designated quiet space, time for a Q & A and continuing to have slots for performances.

Everyone worked together to make some important decisions, many suggestions and thoughts were taken away to make the awards more exciting, more inclusive, and reach even more people in 2023. Thank you to everyone that attended, including the staff that supported.

Laura Finlay, Director of Marketing at Cygnet Health Care said: “It was great to have everyone together to share ideas and thoughts in aid of the future of the Awards. It’s imperative that we shape the awards around values suggested by those that have been finalists, winners and event team members of the Awards for the past 10 years.”

The recruitment of the events team members will be happening in the coming weeks, and following this, the opening of the nominations. To stay in the loop, please visit and our social media pages below:

Twitter: @NSUAwards

Facebook: National Service User Awards

For any queries about the National Service User Awards, please email: [email protected]

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