Having a user focus – care and compassion

Gold: Dr Jane Clark and Sheila Wharton, Greenwich CAMHS Attachment Project, Looked After Children Team

Jane and Sheila work in the team which supports children and young people who are adopted, looked after by foster parents or in a care home. They were nominated by 20 different people including colleagues, foster parents and colleagues from partner organisations who they support. The innovative service brings stability to placements and has contributed significantly to below average disruption rates in Greenwich. They have developed three training packages which are delivered to foster and adoptive parents, social workers, health professionals and all those involved in the care of the child. Feedback on the training has been 100% positive.

A senior manager at the Royal Borough of Greenwich's Children's Services wrote: "It cannot be underestimated the difficulties many of these children experience as a result of abuse and pervasive neglect in their early years. The work the project has done has been life changing for these children and many have gone on to secure families as a result of their interventions...it is undoubtedly the case that we would have many placement breakdowns, with all the resultant difficulties this brings about, without their involvement." A Council Senior Social Worker said: "Our attachment project is the envy of many other local authorities and we consider ourselves very fortunate to have them!"

One foster parent said: "They supported us as individuals and as a family and I can honestly say helped change our children from scared and anxious to the well adjusted and calmer children they are now."

Another foster parent: "Jane has been a source of invaluable support to us as a whole family. Without her input over the last three years we truly believe that the adoptive placement with us would have broken down...Jane is completely child centred and passionate about providing the highest level of therapeutic care to ensure [our foster child] can really fulfil his potential." The child also nominated Jane and he said: "She really understands me. She's just what I need to help me with my feelings."

Another foster parent: "Sheila has been an absolute star. At one really low point as a family we almost gave up on our boy but Sheila was there with her unwavering encouragement and support."

A teacher in a local school who nominated Jane said: "In addition to her duties, Jane is also a great ‘teacher' providing others who support young people with mental health issues with the understanding they need to empathise and engage with these troubled youngsters."

Another nominator said: "Their passion for helping children and young people is contagious and they are always optimistic about the capacity of people to change and turn their lives around."

Silver: Judy McNaughton, Greenwich Day Treatment Team, Oxleas House

Judy is the Activities Coordinator in the Day Treatment Team at Oxleas House. She was nominated by two colleagues and one service user who nominated her for the support she has given him to jointly run sports sessions at Oxleas House under the Volunteer to Work Scheme. He said: "I nominate Judy, not just on the basis of how she helps and motivates patients in our bi-weekly sports sessions...but for supporting and showing faith in the abilities of a service user, treating me as a peer, and helping me integrate into a pressurised working environment."

The exercise sessions Judy runs for inpatients and outpatients promote healthy lifestyles, awareness of the benefits of exercise to mental and physical health and stimulate interest in activities available in the community. A colleague said: "The groups serve to introduce aerobics to music as part of physical exercise/sport to build confidence, assist with mood and have fun. Judy uses exercise also as a potential coping skill. She runs sessions in a very safe, boundaried and encouraging way." Other activities popular with staff and service users include badminton and basketball. Judy took her RSA Sports skills exams during the weekend when she does not work.

Bronze: Stuart Weir, Greenwich Wheelchair Service

Stuart has worked in the NHS in Greenwich for over 30 years and in the Wheelchair Service for at least 12 years.

His manager said: "I feel he is totally deserving of recognition for his many years of work within the NHS in Greenwich and in particular in the Wheelchair Service where has worked tirelessly to ensure the safety and comfort of our wheelchair users.

"Stuart has been totally committed to the safety of the wheelchair users in Greenwich in regards to the set-up and use of their equipment. He always responds straight away to urgent requests from service users, their carers, clinical staff and staff in the special and mainstream schools...he drove to the Evelina Children's Hospital at St Thomas' Hospital at 7 o'clock at night to deliver and set up a special chair...in order that the client could have his seating in time for discharge the following day."

Recently Stuart identified some safety concerns for service users using trust transport and worked to change the practice and machinery used.