The winners of the 2015 North West Adult Learners’ Week Awards in Health and Social Care, running for the first time this year, have been announced this week, during a ceremony at Manchester Museum on Thursday 11 June.
Former service users of Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW), Craig Gorton and Martin Smyth, have been celebrating after being awarded Volunteer of the Year Award and runner up for the same award respectively.
They had been nominated for the award by staff from GMW where Craig and Martin volunteer to help support adults with alcohol and drug problems at the Trust’s inpatient detox unit called the Chapman-Barker Unit (CBU).
Craig, who won the Volunteer of the Year Award in the Health and Social Care category, was in treatment with GMW until two years ago. He successfully completed a detox at the Chapman Barker Unit (CBU) in Prestwich, and then became a volunteer. He hadn’t been in a classroom environment for over thirty-five years nor had he had a positive experience of school, leaving without any qualifications.
Having established himself in his role as a volunteer, last year, he successfully completed Level 2 Management of Substance Misuse course before progressing on to the Level 3 Tackling Substance Misuse course. Throughout this time he has continued to work as a volunteer for GMW and Tameside Hospital.
Craig said, “From day one of starting a new course on Substance Misuse at the Chapman Barker Unit, I had a kind of awakening. I was hooked on learning, or some might say I was positively addicted”.
Martin Smyth who won runner-up for the same award also successfully completed treatment with GMW and is currently on the Level 3 Tackling Substance Misuse course, having already completed the Level 2 Peer Navigator and management of Substance Misuse courses. Martin has volunteered at CBU for 2 years and has now gained paid employment there.
Martin said, “Learning is fundamental within this sector as it empowers people to realise that there are other sides of the coin which up until three years ago I didn’t realise existed. I would encourage everyone to take up learning opportunities; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain”.
Dr Sheila Wilson, Substance misuse specialist and Training Coordinator for GMW, said: “We are really keen to help former substance misuse service users make the transition into employment. As volunteers, former service users can tap into their experiences of dealing with addiction to help others. By incorporating a training element into our volunteering programme we not only change services but also the lives of people who volunteer for us by equipping them with qualifications to help gain paid employment.”
Health Education North West in partnership with North West Employers and Voluntary Sector North West, chose to celebrate and promote the national learning campaign Adult Learners’ Week with a series of joint health and social care awards.
People from across the region gathered together at the awards ceremony on Thursday 11 June to hear the inspirational stories of adults who have been transformed by their learning experiences and the impact this learning has had on others.
The Health Education North West believes that people who engage in learning and development make a huge personal investment and commitment to patients and service users as well as themselves. And this learning directly contributes to a place where health and social care is delivered with compassion, consideration, competence, commitment and courage. Recognising learning is an investment in all our futures.
The regional Adult Learners’ Week awards reflect the diversity of learning and the range of responsibilities across the Health and Social Care Sector. The awards included: Five individual awards, North West Apprentice of the Year in Health and Social Care, Career Progression in Health and Social Care, First Steps into Employment in Health and Social Care, Supporting Learners in Practice in Health and Social Care and Volunteer of the Year in Health and Social Care.
Craig, Winner of Volunteer of the Year Award
Martin, Runner Up for Volunteer of the Year
Notes for Editors
- Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW) provides district mental health services in Bolton, Salford and Trafford. The Trust also provides inpatient alcohol and drug recovery services in Prestwich as well as community services in Trafford, Salford, Cumbria, Wigan and Leigh and Central Lancashire. GMW provides secure services for adults across the wider North which includes a range of care pathways. Specialist services for young people and adults are also provided, such as psychotherapy, prison-in-reach, early intervention, and eating disorder services.
- Health Education North West (HENW) is the Local Education and Training Board (LETB) for the North West of England, covering Cheshire and Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire and Greater Manchester.
- Health Education North West in partnership with North West Employers and Voluntary Sector North West have chosen to celebrate and promote the national learning campaign Adult Learners’ Week with a series of joint health and social care awards. This partnership is based on a commitment to promoting lifelong learning because of the shared belief that learning is good for people and organisations and in this context, it is crucial for People Who Care About Care.
- The Chapman-Barker Unit offers stabilisation and detoxification treatment for men and women over the age of eighteen who have a drug and/or alcohol problems. The Chapman-Barker Unit is a 36 bedded alcohol and drug inpatient facility, which is divided into gender specific accommodation. The service is regionally and nationally recognised as a Centre of Excellence.
- Photos are of Craig and Martin collecting their awards from the Awards Ceremony.