Over 50 people attended a unique event on 30th June at Dean Clough Mills in Halifax which offered opportunities to get involved in their local NHS as well as watch a unique piece of theatre.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services to people in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, was recently authorised as a Foundation Trust. This is a different kind of NHS organisation, which gives people who use services, and those living in local communities, the opportunity to join as a member and help shape how the Trust’s services are developed and delivered.
The Trust now has over 13,000 members including staff, and people living in the local area attended yesterday’s event to find out more about opportunities to get involved and what a difference it can make. The event was also a chance for people to chat with the Trust’s chair and chief executive as well as representatives of the Members’ Council, a body of people elected to represent the interests of members.
There was also a special production by Full Body and the Voice, a theatre company which promotes the inclusion of disabled people in professional performance and which has an ensemble of professional actors with learning disabilities at its heart. The performance was called ‘That was then, this is now’ and explored photographs from local history comparing our lives now with the lives of our ancestors.
The evening ended with a musical performance from Hoot, a creative arts group that aims to enhance the wellbeing of people with mental health problems.
The Trust’s Chair Joyce Catterick said, "It was great to meet local people who want to get involved in our organisation and how it is run. I’m very much looking forward to working with our members and putting their individual knowledge and experience to good use. We were delighted to have a production from Full Body and the Voice, it was the perfect way to highlight the talents of people with learning disabilities and provided some excellent entertainment."
Muriel Daveney, who is a member of the Trust, attended the event and said "It was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting evening and an ideal opportunity for myself and other members to find out how to input and make a difference to our local mental health services. Everyone has valuable skills, and attributes that the Trust can put to good use and I think it’s great that people in the community are being included in how the organisation is run."
Bob Mortimer, a Members Council representative said, "Events like these provide a way of reaching out to people in the local community and letting them know their contributions are valuable to us. This event was a huge success which attracted some very enthusiastic people who were keen to find out how they could have a real influence over how the Trust operates. I am thrilled to have those people on board and very much look forward to working with them in the future. "