Service users, carers and staff in Wakefield are celebrating, after winning an award at the first ever West Yorkshire Modernisation Awards.

Direct Impact, a service user and carer research group, from the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust beat off competition from two other health teams in the West Yorkshire area to win the award in the category, improving patient/user/carer involvement in health and social care services.

The group, which was set up by service users and carers with support from Trust research and development staff, are involved in all aspects of the Trusts research programme as well as carrying out their own research projects. They aim to ensure that the views and experiences of people receiving mental health services (either directly or indirectly as carers) influence local research and development at all levels. The group have developed research, which reflects issues faced by people with mental health needs and their carers.

‘I got involved with Direct Impact because I wanted to have more training in research so that local services can be improved based on evidence from people who use services,’ explained one of the group members.

Over 150 projects from across the region were entered into the awards, with the final decision made by a panel of patients and service users. On the day of the awards all nominees set up an exhibition stand to showcase their work and held workshops enabling colleagues from across west Yorkshire to share good practice. The winners were announced at an impressive ceremony and were handed their award by BBC TV presenter Harry Gration. All winners received £1000 to reinvest into their projects to continue making improvements.

Speaking about Direct Impact’s success, Virginia Minogue, research and development manager said, ‘I’m delighted that Direct Impact have won this award which is testament to the hard work that has been put in by all of the members. The group contribute a great deal to the Trust through their experience and expertise and we are pleased that this has been recognised across the region. The modernisation awards have been an extremely positive experience, colleagues from across West Yorkshire attended our workshop and many people were interested in setting up a similar group in their area.’

The awards provided great recognition for mental health services in West Yorkshire, Leeds Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust were rewarded for their hard work and innovative services with two awards.

For more information about Direct Impact contact Virginia Minogue on 01924 327431 or visit their website at


time to read: 2 min