Community team and charity working together in Carlisle

Posted: 13/08/21

Carlisle Community Mental Health Assessment and Recovery Team (CMHART) have welcomed staff from The Glenmore Trust, a charity which supports people with mental health problems and learning disabilities, to work alongside them providing enhanced support and care to patients.

The partnership came about due to staffing pressures in the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has proven to have a very positive effect on the support the CMHART are able to offer their patients.

The Carlisle Community Mental Health Assessment and Recovery Team, provided by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, supports adults with severe and enduring mental health conditions to live in the community. The team is made up of a number of professionals including mental health nurses, social workers, doctors, occupational therapists, and psychologists. The team are increasingly working with third sector organisations to offer the people they support additional help and opportunities.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, third sector organisations in Cumbria – including The Glenmore Trust – offered ‘mutual aid’ to health and care organisations which were facing staffing difficulties due to the pandemic.

As a result, several highly trained staff from The Glenmore Trust have been based alongside Carlisle CMHART, in their base in Portland Square, for the past few months.

Danny May, Clinical Lead for the Psychosis Team within Carlisle CMHART, said: “Having a third sector organisation working alongside an NHS service on a day-to-day basis like this, being in the same office and responding to challenging situations together, is quite innovative. It is early days, but we are all really encouraged by the positive impact this has already had for clinicians and patients.”

Danny recalls one instance where the CMHART’s psychosis team had been struggling to engage a particular gentleman in their support, who would often refuse to answer the door. “Staff from the Glenmore Trust were able to really persevere with him, consistently getting in contact and slowly managing to build rapport and trust.

“But they had a ‘breakthrough moment’ after a random comment from one Glenmore Trust staff member during a visit, about having a cup of Typhoo tea. This seemed to be a bit of an icebreaker, and sure enough at the next visit the gentleman was waiting at the door with a box of Typhoo teabags for the staff! That may seem like a small thing, but it was a big step for him and the team.

“He is now doing very well, engaging with the team and has a crisis support plan in place to help him.”

Kirsty Andrews, Community Mental Health Nurse within the Carlisle CMHART, agrees: “We’ve found collaborating with The Glenmore Trust a great success – it feels like we are working as one team, and we have nothing but praise for their staff and the friendly, approachable support they have offered.

“They fit right in with our team, and bring a wide range of knowledge which has really contributed to the support of our patients, their family members, and other professionals. We have been really impressed with how their support has enabled us to use our time to support people more effectively.

“The Glenmore Trust staff pay really close attention to what each person needs, which is very important to our team. We are able to rest easy in the knowledge that they can directly support the people on our caseload with their day-to-day living.

“Because we are able to refer people to The Glenmore Trust for this routine support, our patients are getting a lot more from us as service; we are working in a more holistic way.”

The Glenmore Trust’s staff have all reported that they feel valued and supported by the Carlisle CMHART. One staff member said, “I had some reservations about moving to work in Portland Square alongside the CMHART, but my worries were soon dispelled. They were so welcoming and easy to work with, and I am really glad I had the opportunity to do this. Working alongside the team, I have learned such a lot from them, and I think they have learned something from us too. I feel we have already made a real difference despite only having worked together for a few months.”

Denise Jarman, Chief Executive Officer at The Glenmore Trust, said: “We are so pleased that our staff have been welcomed into the CMHART, been able to successfully engage with clients and enabled NHS staff to maximise their time and resources. The way in which everyone has worked together is exemplary – it is truly co-production at its best in practice. All of us at The Glenmore Trust look forward to continuing to work with CNTW and the CMHART.”