Winners and Highly Commended for the Making A Difference Award sponsored by Breakthrough

The following are the winner and highly commended nominations for the Making A Difference Award:-


Mark ThorpeSheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust. Mark Thorpe is a member of Trust staff, a volunteer and a service user. He works full-time at SPACES (formerly SONY DSCadult mental health day services) as a support worker and also volunteers on the in-patient wards at the Longley Centre. Mark volunteers on Tuesday evenings, Thursday evenings and all day on Sundays (he also volunteers on Bank Holidays and over the Christmas periods).  In his volunteer role Mark works closely with Sue Robsinon (Activity Co-ordinator) and Occupational Therapist staff on Rowan and Maple Wards to provide meaningful activities to service users. Mark helps to organise the Christmas parties and activities every year as well as weekly activities. In fact, Mark took two days annual leave from his job at SPACES to organise and run the Christmas parties and activities on Rowan and Maple Wards last year.

Mark is always willing to go that extra mile and is highly valued by both service users and the staff he works with. Mark has been volunteering on the wards for the past two years. During this time he has demonstrated excellent empathy to service users and excellent communication skills, his commitment and dedication far exceeding that which is expected in his role as a volunteer.

The Trust acknowledges that for many service users, an in-patient admission can be distressing, frustrating and disempowering. By providing meaningful activities both on the ward and in the community for service users to engage it, the Trust aims to enhance the in-patient experience and to give service users the opportunity to engage in activities which increase self-esteem, improve wellbeing and increase enjoyment. Mark is an integral part of the team and his sustained dedication to providing a wide range of activities for service users to take part in has a positive and beneficial impact on service users.  Mark’s choice to give two evenings a week and a full day on Sunday to providing a range of meaningful activities to service users on two wards has ensured that these service users can look forward to a period of fun and enjoyment at regular intervals.

Mark receives no payment or financial reward for his volunteer role. He undertakes this work for the satisfaction of helping others which clearly shows in the work he does. It is simply his own extraordinary commitment to excellent in making the lives of service users currently on the wards better that motivates him to always go the extra mile. His example has positively impacted on the attitude and productivity of the rest of the staff team.;


Dr Daniel Dietch Lonsdale Medical Centre, London; I qualified as a Doctor in 1992 and since 2001, have been a GP at Lonsdale Medical Centre, a large urban London practice with ~14500 patients, 6 Partners and 4 trainees. Before this, I worked in various branches of acute hospital medicine. My interests include mental health, nutrition, psychopharmacology, rheumatology, medical emergencies, inflammatory disease, internal medicine and medical education. I’m passionate about holistic Primary Care and the interface between physical and mental health. Good relationships between Primary and Secondary Care are also vital and I’m fortunate to work alongside many excellent colleagues. I have no ties to, and have received no payments from, the pharmaceutical industry.

Whilst not a Psychiatrist, nor, formally, a GPwSI in Mental Health, since becoming a GP I have developed a particular interest in Mental Health in general, especially Mood Disorders and Bipolar Disorders. I’m keen to support these patients who may experience long term suffering and I recognize that there are important gaps in service provision, especially now that Secondary Care are required to discharge many patients, who are often still unwell, back to the GP. Therefore, over the past 5 years or so, I have developed an innovative and high level service for patients, especially those with Bipolar Disorder, working closely with GP colleagues and Secondary Care; further details are below. This service runs as part of my normal GP workload and has no additional funding.;


Sam Ripley Southdown Housing Association, Sussex.   Sam Ripley works for a third sector employer working within Supported Employment following the IPS (Individual SONY DSCPlacement and Support) model of Employment specifically for people with severe or enduring mental health Issues focusing on gaining competitive paid employment for the individual based on their aspirations. Part of her role and the Principles of IPS is to be embedded into a Mental Health team as Part of the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (SPFT), Sam currently works as an Employment Specialist in the East Brighton Community Mental Health Teams.

People who experience severe and enduring mental health problems have one of the lowest employment rates in the UK. Yet the vast majority want to work, and with the right support many people can. We know from international experience and research how to offer effective support to enable people with mental health problems to work.

Large numbers of people have and can be supported to secure and maintain paid competitive employment through Individual Placement and Support (IPS). Through her contacts with employers, Sam highlights the need for better working understanding of mental health and adjustments that can be made in the workplace to assist people with accessing work.  Sam is committed to ensuring Recovery is an option and reachable for everyone.

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