Published Wednesday, 29 September 2021
24 awards were given at the Treehouse Assembly Festival Gardens venue last night in celebration of everything great that happens in health and wellbeing services across the city.
They included leaders of the public health community, the city’s health grandees and the everyday selflessness of Coventry’s unsung community heroes, especially throughout the challenging times of COVID-19.
Cllr Kamran Caan, portfolio holder for Public Health and Sport at Coventry City Council: “Congratulations to all of the winners and runners up of this year’s Health and Wellbeing Awards. I want to personally thank everyone across our health and wellbeing community for their hard work and commitment to the people of Coventry, especially in these uncertain times. The Covid-19 pandemic has added additional challenges to tackling health inequalities in Coventry, which is why this work is more important now than ever before.”
Liz Gaulton, Director for Public Health and Wellbeing said: “It is important to celebrate and recognise these achievements locally and share some positivity during these challenging times. The work of these organisations and individuals is crucial in building trust within our communities where strengthening healthy, active and resilient city-wide partnerships is a priority. Congratulations to all our winners and runners and thank you for everything you do for the health and wellbeing of Coventry.”
The winners were:
Director of Public Health’s Award for Outstanding Contribution:
Charlotte Holtham: is the Real Time Surveillance Coordinator in the coroner’s office. This was a new post to provide real-time surveillance system of deaths by suspected suicide across Coventry and Warwickshire. Charlotte started the job in January 2021 and was her first post since graduating from University. Charlotte has shown incredible leadership, partnership working and has applied huge amounts of intuitive sensitivity. Thanks to Charlotte we now have multi-agency learning panels to improve work to prevent suicide and a system that allows us to bring partners together to respond to incidents and support bereaved families.
Molly Cox: is a newer member of the public health family and started working with CGL in October 2020 as their community development worker. Since starting in the role Molly has secured funding and set up a who range of projects to support people in recovery. Some of the projects she’s run include an event to combine art with food parcels for the homeless and the RecoveryFest event at Fargo which gave service users taster sessions from local arts, training and education charities and services. Molly has also set up a cycling club and an allotment for service users. In the last couple of weeks, Molly has just started a new job at CGL as a team leader.
Hep C Project team: Hepatitis C treatments have been revolutionised in recent years and there is a UN ambition to eliminate the condition in the next few years – the first time there has been a coordinated global effort of disease elimination since the smallpox programme in the 1960s. The Hep C project has been making sure Coventry is playing its part and improving testing and treatment with many initiatives and a lot of perseverance. In that time Coventry has gone from one of the region’s worst performing areas to one of the best, with well over 100 CGL clients having completed treatment to date. The team is large and has changed over the years but at its core are Faith Cullen from Abbvie, CGL’s Bess Curtis, Stacy Chambers from UHCW and Philippe Bonnet from the Hep C Trust.
Rachel Sproston: joined the family health and lifestyles team at SWFT as Locality Manager at the start of the pandemic and has driven various major improvements in the service, while also supporting the teams and changes in ways of working. While there are lots of examples of the work she’s led, perhaps the best way to reflect Rachel’s impact can be seen with a quote from a member of the SWFT team…. “As soon as you came into post- at an extremely difficult time- I have felt incredibly well supported by you! So approachable, knowledgeable and a great decision-maker. You always have our best intentions at heart and ensure we have all the support we need from you. You give so much that in return we want to work hard for you! You are a great role model and I know I am learning so much with you as my manager!”
Innovator of the Year
The #helpyourmate campaign by Amy Carus from Positive Choices has had an impact nationally and has been shared amongst all young people’s services within CGL across the country. The campaign anticipated an increase in substance misuse at the start of last summer as the first lockdown was easing up.
Digital Innovation of the Year
The Positive Choices team for its ‘Click here to meet me video introduction for staff’. This has really helped clients who are anxious about meeting new people or are unsure about accessing a new service.
Simon Morgan Award for Participation
During the pandemic Coventry Haven introduced an online group support programme called One Step Forward, offering friendship and support for victims. Delivering online support for domestic abuse victims in a safe way without perpetrators or other influences is really challenging and the development of the programme involved service users from the start and throughout. All the groups have so far remained in touch and created valued relationships with other survivors. Feedback from service users has been really positive and groups have been expanded to cover the evenings and weekends as well as in other languages.
Chris Jennings from CGL and St Giles took this award. This was a great new partnership which has produced really focussed on helping clients in a very practice way and has already led to a good number of people getting into employment.
Both Health Hero winners are volunteers with CGL.
Danny Boswell has taken on a caseload of service users and has a huge impact on those he talks to. He has supported numerous service users in attending mutual aid groups, helping them to combat their anxieties and develop confidence. One particular service user had not left their house for over three years before speaking with Danny, who encouraged and accompanied her to a walk with others around the War Memorial Park. Danny was nominated by two separated people for his efforts as a volunteer.
Lauren Hawker has volunteered a huge amount of time to CGL including running two well attended evening groups a week – one of them she designed herself called “positive change with Lauren”. One particular contribution which stands out is Laurens selfless delivery of a peer support group on Christmas Day, a day where most services are closed – Lauren provided crucial support with a fun twist of quizzes and games on a day of the year that our service users can often struggle with the most.
Claire England Claire is the programme manager for the lateral flow test centre operation across Coventry which has conducted tens of thousands of tests and helped reduce the spread of the virus. At the peak, we had 8 operational test centres throughout the City and had to recruit and train hundreds of staff. Claire – whose pre-pandemic job was in sports development heads up with grace and enthusiasm.
Lynda Evans and Veera Samra are Specialist Health Visitors for the most vulnerable families within Coventry, supporting families experiencing homelessness, Domestic abuse, Asylum seeking, Refugees and safeguarding concerns. From the onset of Covid in March 2020 the FHLS Specialist Health Visitors Veera Samra and Lynda Evans continued to work tirelessly with the vulnerable families in Coventry, going above and beyond delivering food parcels, essential baby equipment and a friendly face and a smile to those families in greatest need.
Sue Frossell is a Consultant in Public Health and hosted a daily team catchup across the public health team throughout COVID, making connections and a safe space for people to look after one another. Sunny Sue – as she became known – made sure there was togetherness in a virtual world at some testing times for the public health team.
Community Messengers At the start of the pandemic the council created a Community Messengers forum of existing community leaders to promote clear messages around ‘how to stop COVID spreading’. Since July 2020 over 300 Community Messengers have been recruited and have played a crucial role in two-way communication between communities and the local authority.
Positive Choices Unable to hold a Christmas Grotto in 2020 Positive Choices decided that, more than ever, young service users needed a festive pick-me-up. The service raised funds for a vast amount of gifts that were delivered to their service users and their families to bring little moments of joy when the pandemic was reaching its peak.
Ekta Unity continued with their amazing contributions to the city during COVID by reaching out to reaching out elderly and vulnerable people with a new helpline. The Council has relied heavily on the volunteers from Ekta Unity to help with the local vaccination pop-ups and to spread safety messages. Ekta Unity epitomises the term Covid Heroes.
Louise Aldridge – by day a nursery worker – has worked tirelessly within LFT testing centres during the pandemic. Louise – described by the test centre manager as ‘without doubt the most hardworking, dedicated individual that I have ever managed’ is always one of the first to arrive and last to leave deserves to be recognised for her dedication, hard work and exemplary attitude towards her work.
Lucy Lambert has provided absolutely phenomenal support to schools, dealing with school queries, cases and incidents, often going over and above to ensure schools feel supported. Her dedication has been outstanding, navigating very difficult situations both calmly and professionally. Her patience and resilience have been amazing through this.
Alex Blayney and Becca Fairfield and both on the trainee scheme to become public health consultants and on placement in Coventry during the pandemic. For many months Alex led on the management of care home and workplace cases and outbreaks and Becca led on supporting schools and early years settings when COVID cases were reported. Both showed absolutely phenomenal effort, supporting incident meetings and jumping in to help, both are now sorely missed since moving onto their next placements and both can look forward to amazing careers ahead of them.
Mo Bashir has been a brilliant partner throughout the pandemic and has been instrumental in supporting places of worship and acting as a diligent facilitator of the Council’s relationships with our migrant communities in the City. Always helpful and willing to support, and often going beyond the call of duty. A true COVID-19 hero.
Dave Johns from Arley Medical Services has supported the pandemic response in Coventry and Warwickshire from the very start, from their initial delivery of our first community testing service, through to providing outbreak testing for care homes, and then testing in a wide range of other settings. Arley is now continuing to support the vaccination effort. Their flexibility and willingness to adapt and support the pandemic response have been truly amazing.
Wendu Wole has provided brilliant support to our asylum seeker and migrant communities over the course of the pandemic, recognised not just internally, but also by Public Health England, for his willingness to ensure that our asylum seekers have been kept safe and well provided for.
Michael Maddocks has been a phenomenal member of the COVID-19 workforce. He has very ably led the contact tracing work and team in Coventry and supported our COVID-19 response teams on a daily basis. Michael’s willingness, flexibility and approach to the significant challenge is truly exemplary. Michael and the team have served Coventry well in providing a truly local contact tracing response, which has supported us greatly in managing the spread of the virus in the city.
Coventry Flowers, Stoke Heath Community Centre, Midland Langer Seva Society and Dave Robinson from Coventry and North Warwickshire Cricket and Leisure Club also won the Covid Hero Award for their hard work and commitment to the people of Coventry, during these uncertain times.
The awards are part of celebrating the public health “family” ethos in the spirit of our ‘One Coventry’ goal.