NTW NHS Awards Night

The Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Staff Awards Night happened last month, but I've been wanting to blog about the fabulous night I had ever since. I think it was a really important night about recognition, dedication and teamwork in the NHS.

Now, the first question you'll be asking was why I was at a staff awards night despite not working for the NHS. Well, I was lucky enough to be nominated for the 'Positive Impact' Award, which I'll go into more detail about later on!

So, the staff excellence awards were held at the Civic Centre in Newcastle. It was a beautiful, formal, event. There was live music, great food and a drinks reception. I was allowed to take 2 guests so I brought along my lovely mum and good friend Danielle. Both of them had helped me with a lot of my mental health volunteering, and mental health battles, so I was privileged to have 2 inspirational women to me by my side.

Danielle and mum helped especially last year making up the mental health packages for St Georges at Christmas. For the past 2 years now, we've put 20-30 decorated bags together with chocolate, decorations, socks + toiletries for the people at St Georges hospital at Christmas. This was like a little branch off from project parent as I know from personal experience how lonely it is to be in hospital, especially suffering with mental health issues, so wanted to give back and support them. Danielle and I have also done our fair share of mental health campaigning, especially through vInspired, so it was really nice to be able to bring her along.

There were 10 categories; Apprentice of the year, Behind the Scenes - Individual, Behind the Scenes - Team, Clinical Team of the Year, Clinician of the Year, Knowledge, Safety & Innovation, Healthcare Worker of the Year, Working Together, Leadership and Positive Impact. You can find the winners here - there's some incredible people and teams!

My category was last, the positive impact award. I had been nominated by one of my lovely friends Kelsey who works in the NHS. She wrote the following in the glossy handbook which I've kept as a memento of the incredible evening.

'Supporters want to thank Kate simply for being Kate. Any opportunities she has, Kate pushes herself to raise awareness of ME. She lives with this, EDS and Vasovagal Syncope which comes with a lot of depression and anxiety. Yet, even though she battles crippling pain and anxiety, Kate is fierce, a fighter, and for all the support she gets she sends back out into the world ten-fold. She regularly volunteers, raises money for charity and supports a large group of friends, goths those with the condition and without. Kate blogs at chronicallykatelouise.blogspot.co.uk which helps raise awareness and understanding for everyones benefit. She has an earnest desire to give back to the world having received support herself, and is and inspiration to many people. She does an amazing job through great adversity which is a testament to her character'

The first time I saw this was at the awards and I was in tears, Kelsey has been a big support to me and this nomination came totally out of the blue so I am so thankful for it. I don't like talking about myself too much so feel a bit weird typing this all up, but those words really touched me.

In my category, I had some phenomenal people. The lady who won had been a nurse for 40 years, retired, but then continued on a voluntary basis for 3 years whilst being a carer! In every category I learnt something new about a service which I found so interesting, so even at the awards night I was gained more knowledge about what was available.

One of the most interesting things was chatting with the CEO (Danielle is the most confident person after a few glasses of wine...) about services and his own experiences with the mental health system. He (John Lawlor) was a lovely guy and as well as him we gained some really good connections. One other highlight I couldn't miss was that we got to ride (is that the right word, haha!) in the Mayors private lift - true wheelchair privileges.

It was a fantastic night, and it was lovely to see some really dedicated teams and staff. It also was hard, because I know there's so many stretches and cracks in the mental health system at the moment too yet it's not up to the people in that room to be able to change that. I've been in some of the serves in the area which haven't gone well at all yet I'm in some at the moment which are really trying to look after me. The bottom line is, the whole system does need more funding but there are some very incredible people who are doing so so much to literally save as many people as they can.

Kate x

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