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Essex health team win award for supporting young people’s emotional wellbeing at national NHS Parliamentary ceremony

A team of child and young person wellbeing practitioners (CYPPs) from Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service (ECFWS) were awarded Regional Champions Excellence in Mental Health Care at a recent NHS Parliamentary Awards ceremony held in London.

At the special COVID-secure awards ceremony, Radhika Jethwa received the award on behalf of her delighted Essex colleagues who also attended virtually. The day was unlike past ceremonies, with official COVID safety guidelines in place to ensure attendees’ wellbeing.

Radhika Jethwa said, “The rest of the team and I are so over the moon and proud to be in these life-changing roles and to have won the Regional Award for Excellence in Mental Health Care.”

“It was a fantastic experience to attend the Nationals and although we did not win this time, we are excited to hopefully get another chance at the Nationals in the future! Hopefully after COVID, we can all attend as the one strong team we are at the next one.”

The local team was nominated by Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford – also Government Minister for Children – for improving mental health outcomes for local children and young people during the added strain of the pandemic and social lockdowns. The nominees were one of 700 submitted from MPs across the country.

Adrian Coggins, Head of Wellbeing and Public Health Commissioning at Essex County Council said, “My congratulations and thanks – there has never been a better time to deliver emotional wellbeing and win a regional award. It is a just reward for front line staff who have worked so hard in such difficult circumstances”.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate some of the biggest achievements in health and social care. The team in Essex were invited in recognition of going above and beyond the call of duty, working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to make a genuine difference to the people they care for.

Cllr Beverley Egan, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “This is fantastic news and testament to the hard work and dedication of the team in not only supporting children and young people’s emotional wellbeing, but going above and beyond for them. I would like to offer my congratulations to colleagues for being recognised and thank them for their ongoing commitment to improving outcomes for children and young people in Essex, particularly during what has been a difficult 18 months for many.”

Collaborating with school nurses and the wider education system, the new mental health wellbeing support was added to the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, which is run by Virgin Care in partnership with children’s charity Barnardo’s. They offer one-to-one and group cognitive behavioural therapy-based psychological (CBT) support – including for child and adolescent anxiety, adolescent low mood and challenging behaviour in children.

This year’s ceremony – held on 7 July – was a hybrid event and one of the first in a long time as the country carefully transitions out of COVID measures. One representative from each of the regional winners attending in person and virtual attendance made available for online spectators and award winners.

Chris Martin, Commissioning Director for Children, Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Autism at Essex County Council said, “Awesome work from this local team – fantastic achievement. I am so pleased for the wellbeing practitioners and Virgin Care and Barnardo’s in general for the development of the whole service over the past 18 months, improving emotional health outcomes for children and young people”.

Richard Comerford, Virgin Care’s Managing Director for Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, said: “I’m immensely proud of the team for achieving this award. Many have benefitted from the mental health support they provide, which has been especially drawn upon through the pandemic.

The team’s manager, Rebecca Scott-Williams, said, “The successful introduction of Children’s Wellbeing Practitioners in Mid Essex has had a far-reaching impact for our families and one we are now in the process of replicating across all other quadrants within Essex as part of our commitment to support the early mental health needs of children and young people. I am extremely proud of the team and their achievements during an extremely turbulent year. Their motivation, commitment and tenacity shown drove them forward and they are an incredible asset to not only our service but to our communities.”

Members of the winning team were Radhika Jethwa, Sholly Brown, Becky Fitzpatrick, Lauren Anthony and Clinical Supervisor, Luisa Ruiz.

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