The Autumn edition of CNTW’s Membership e-Newsletter

Posted: 05/10/23

Welcome to your Autumn edition of CNTW’s Membership e-Newsletter

Message from our new Chairman, Darren Best

Darren Best and his dog BobbyI always find that getting started and deciding on the opening words is the most difficult bit when it comes to writing a short biography, or introduction, on that basis I will simply start with a traditional combination of a very warm ‘hello’, ‘hiya’, ‘hey-up’ and my personal go to favourite greeting, ‘Ya Alright?’…I’m Darren Best and from October 1st I became the new Chair of the Council of Governors and Board of Directors at CNTW.

So now that we are virtually introduced, I must start with a huge thank you to our outgoing Chair, Ken Jarrold. Ken has been an outstanding public servant and is a man who dedicated his entire working life to the NHS. It is with that backdrop that I think it is worth further reflecting upon his farewell words, from the September newsletter, ‘CNTW is the best organisation I have ever served’, a huge compliment from someone who has served in many NHS organisations for over five decades!  In addition to offering my personal gratitude to him, I sincerely wish Ken and his partner Roby (and the dogs, Wilfred and Owen) a very long, happy and healthy retirement together.

For those that don’t know me or haven’t met me (yet) in addition to the introduction, I offer a very brief biography. I am married to Beverley, and we have three grown up children, Maisy, Rosie and Ollie, I am very proud of them all. That said, the most important member of the family is our dog Bobby, I do intend to bring him with me (when appropriate) whilst I’m out and about, so please feel free to say hello, we’ve both got black hair with the odd grey bit, but he’s the handsome one with big floppy ears.

On a professional level, I was a police officer for thirty years. I retired in July 2019 as the Deputy Chief Constable of Northumbria Police. It was during my time in the police that I really became aware mental health related matters. Over the years I was involved in numerous policing incidents and issues that had a mental health backdrop, however it was the untimely and tragic death of a friend and colleague in 2012 that truly tested my own mental health and caused me to think about how I could, and should, support colleagues to recognise and talk about their mental health and wellbeing.

Shortly before retiring from the police, I was successful in applying to be a Non-Executive Director, (NED) with CNTW. I began work with CNTW in October 2019. As a NED I have been the Chair of the Quality and Performance Committee, I chaired the People Committee during its initial set-up stages and have been the Trust Health and Wellbeing Guardian.

I realise that I begin my tenure as Chair in some of the most difficult circumstances the NHS and CNTW has ever faced. I say that because, as well as being the truth, I believe it is important that we collectively understand the pressures that we need to manage and overcome. I recognise that the challenges CNTW is facing are significant and for the foreseeable future things are going to be difficult, but as a member, whether that be as a service user, a carer, or someone with an interest in our services, you should know that Executive and Non-Executive colleagues are fully committed to, and up for, tackling the challenges.

On a personal level and being realistic, I know that I won’t always get things right and / or people won’t always agree with me but my commitment to you is that I will always listen, I will always be respectful, I will always be honest, and I will always do my best for the people that CNTW serves and the people who work with, and for it.

When I was interviewed for the role of Chair, I set out four questions / challenges that I believe are central to the thinking and work we must do. They are:

  • How will CNTW lead and help provide high quality, safe and timely mental health and disability services in the North-East (and beyond)
  • How do we retain, develop and attract the very best people?
  • What kind of organisation does CNTW need to be and who and how does it need to engage and work with to deliver?
  • How do we afford the above and ensure financial sustainability?

Having served the public for over thirty years, I realise that the work of our people and the organisation as a whole is often complex and multi-faceted, answers and solutions are not always obvious and sometimes it is about making the best of a bad situation. In my view the support that we should all use to guide us through difficult times, situations and decisions can be readily found in our strategy ‘With you in mind’ With you in mind – Our strategy from 2023 – Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust ( A key difference with CNTW to many other organisations is that people here live the strategy in the way they treat people and do things, I have seen that many times when visiting services and speaking to our people, it is that alignment and strength in ‘how’ we work and treat each other that will see CNTW through the difficulties we face.

In my view if we utilise and keep central to our thinking the vision, values and ambitions that are set out in ‘With You in Mind’ whilst positively and actively striving to answer the above four questions, we will be successful in helping the people that rely upon and need us. My focus will always be on the needs and views of service users and carers, whilst supporting our staff and those that that we work with to do their very best for them.

I am delighted to be your Chair, I am passionate about the work CNTW does and am proud to be part of it. I feel genuinely honoured to be working with people who do amazing things every day and am hugely grateful to you, our members, for your support, interest, and involvement.

  • Make a difference by becoming an NHS Foundation Trust Governor

    The Trust gives notice that it will hold elections to the Council of Governors commencing Thursday 5th October 2023 with 11 seats available to take up office from the 1st December 2023

    This is an exciting opportunity to represent the interests of Foundation Trust members and partner organisations making sure that the views of the wider community are considered in developing our services.

    What is an NHS Foundation Trust Governor?

    Governors are elected by members of the Trust including service users, carers, staff and the public. They hold the Board of Directors to account, as well as carrying out many other duties. We have a very strong and vocal Council of Governors who work very closely alongside the Board of Directors and services.

    Governors are required to attend a minimum of four General / Engagement Meetings a year, either in person or virtually via Microsoft Teams, to meet the role requirements. Please make sure you can commit to this as a lot of the meetings take place during the working day.

    There is also a lot more opportunities, meetings, and events for you to get involved in.

    Below you can find the eligibility criteria and what constituencies currently are open for nominations:

    Our Service User Governors need to either:

    • Be currently accessing one of the services up for election
    • Have used one of the services up for election within the past 6 years

    For example for the Service User: Learning Disability Services you need to either be still accessing these services yourself or have accessed them within the last 6 years.

    Our Carer Governors need to either:

    • Be currently caring for someone who is accessing one of the services up for election
    • Have cared for someone who has used one of the services up for election within the past 6 years

    For example for the Carer: Neuro Disability Services you need to be caring for someone who is either still accessing these services or have cared for someone who has accessed them within the last 6 years.

    Our Public Governors must currently reside in the area that they wish to nominate themselves for.

    Our Staff Governors need to currently be employed by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust or by NTW Solutions within the correct category (Clinical, Non-Clinical and Medical). If you are unsure which one your job role falls under, please email us on [email protected] and we can find this out for you.

    You cannot stand to be a Governor at CNTW if you are a Governor, Executive or Non-Executive Director of another NHS Trust/Foundation Trust

    Service User Adult Services (1 Seat) Learning Disability Services (1 Seat) Children and Young People's Services (1 Seat) Older People's Services (1 Seat) Carer Neuro-Disability Services (1 Seat) Children and Young People's Services (1 Seat) Learning Disability Services (1 Seat) Staff Clinical (1 Seat) Non-Clinical (1 Seat) Public Cumbria (North) (1 Seat) Northumberland (1 Seat)

    If you would like more information on how to apply to become a Governor, please email: [email protected]

    A nomination form to stand for election to these positions can be obtained from the Returning Officer in the following ways:

    • Telephone: 0208 889 9203
    • Online:
    • Email: [email protected]
    • Text: Text 2FT NW and your name and address to 88802
    • Post: Civica Election Services, The Election Centre, 33 Clarendon Road, London, N8 0NW

    Should any nominee wish to withdraw their nomination, they must put this in writing to the Returning Officer by 5pm, Wednesday 25th October 2023.

    Deadline for completed nomination is: 5pm on Friday 20th October 2023

  • Come and talk to us about our Council of Governor Elections

    As we are preparing for our Governor Elections we will be visiting our local communities and providers to advertise these amazing opportunities and hopefully welcome some of you, our Members, on to the Council of Governors.

    Jack Wilson, Corporate Engagement Assistant, will be visiting our main hospital sites where you can catch him to talk about this opportunity, if you have any questions, please email [email protected]

    • Wednesday 11th October (Morning) Northgate Hospital, Sycamore Unit, Morpeth NE61 3BP
    • Wednesday 11th October (Afternoon) St Georges Park Hospital, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2NU
    • Friday 13th October (Morning) Ferndene, Prudhoe, Northumberland, NE42 5PB
    • Friday 13th October (Afternoon) Walkergate Park Hospital, Benfield Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE6 4QD
    • Monday 16th October (Morning) Monkwearmouth Hospital, Newcastle Rd, Sunderland SR5 1NB
    • Monday 16th October (Afternoon) Hopewood Park Hospital, Waterworks Rd, Ryhope, Sunderland SR2 0NB
    • Tuesday 17th October (Afternoon) Carleton Clinic, Cumwhinton Drive, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA1 3SX

    If you have a service/organisation that would welcome us along, please get in touch with Jack on the above email address ASAP.

    You can also find us at the following events and meetings over the next two months:

    • Abetteru Health and wellbeing drop in South Tyneside – 10th October (World Mental Health Day)
      • Cleadon Park Primary Care Centre and Library 10am – 12.30pm
    • Cumbria CVS Action for Health Meeting – 17th October
      • Wigton Market Hall, CA7 9AA 10.30am – 12pm
    • Gateshead Service User Forum – 14th November
      • Gateshead Learning Skills, in the main Interchange 12.30pm – 2pm
    • Service User and Carer Reference Group – 16th November
      • The County Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne 10am – 4pm
    • Involvement Share and Learn Event – Central Locality 23rd November 2023
      • Jubilee Theatre, St Nicholas Hospital 12.30pm – 4pm
  • Red Bench Project launched in South Shields

    A red bench overlooking the beach with the red bench project logo in the top left-hand side The brand-new project has been launched in South Shields to provide those struggling with their mental health a safe space to chat to others.

    Red benches have been placed in “hot spots” around South Shields, where people can sit when they are feeling low and even chat to others about their struggles.


    Each red bench will have contact details for mental health charities placed on them as well as information about The Red Bench Project.

    The first red bench was placed at South Shields promenade, between the amphitheatre and The Sand Dancer pub.

  • SHINE Charity News

    Shine Charitable Given banner with photos of staff

    SHINE relaunch

    On Monday 18th September 2023 we officially re-launched the Trust’s SHINE fund. We hope this re-launch will allow us to provide even more therapeutic activities and items of comfort to assist people’s care, treatment or rehabilitation, generally helping them live happier, fuller lives.

    We know that many of our wards, departments and teams fundraise for SHINE for which we are incredibly grateful. Now with a dedicated support team, we hope to be able to fundraise even more.

    A massive thank you to our Great North Run runners

    Great North Run Thank you to our Runners. Alice Green Andy Airey Belinia Goncalves Dannielle Taggert Edward O'Connor Edward Philcox Kat Nicholson Louise Thompson Lucy Fulton Molly Summers Raised £3000+

    We’d like to say a massive thank you to all the amazing runners who chose to run for the SHINE fund at this year’s Great North Run on Sunday 10th September 2023!

    The runners raised an incredible amount of over £3000 for the charity, which will go towards supporting the wellbeing of patients receiving care in our services through the funding therapeutic activities and items of comfort. The money raised is greatly appreciated and will help SHINE continue enriching the experience of our patients.

    Paul Wales reaches Paris milestone in his 1300 mile charity cycle

    Paul Wales standing in front of the Eiffel Tower during his charity bike ride Earlier in September, Paul Wales and Dr Mohammed Elhamshary set off on a long-distance cycle to raise money for two charities, the SHINE fund and Brain Tumour Research. They set off from Newcastle and arrived in London, where Mohammed then returned home to complete the Great North Run.

    Paul continued the journey cycling from London to Paris. Temperatures reached 40C in Northern France which made the route very difficult, but Paul pushed on and made it to Paris! He was then heading for Geneva and after that he will be cycling over the Alps and then continuing to Nice, Southern France. The full journey will total over an incredible 1300 miles!

    Paul and Mohammed have raised almost £3000 for the two charities so far – if you are able to support and help them reach their goal of £5000, please visit the page below. Any donation big or small is much appreciated! Crowdfunding to make a difference for the CNTW NHS SHINE Fund and Brain Tumour Research on JustGiving

  • Speak Up Month 2023

    October is Speak up Month and this year’s theme is Breaking Barriers.

    We acknowledge that there are a number of very real barriers that prevent CNTW staff from speaking out, including fear of what will happen and the worry that they will be labelled a troublemaker. We also know that staff sometimes feel that there is no point as they think nothing will change even if they do express concerns.

    The 2023 Trust Strategy “With you in mind” states “we work together, we have empathy and care for each other” also “when we need help we want to be listened to”.

    This presents a challenge to us all, and an opportunity to be better people. Another barrier is trust or more the lack of trust.

    As Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) Guardians we ask that you trust us to support you when you feel like you need to speak up and can’t do this through your manager.

    If you do contact us, we will do our very best to help you.

    Information about speaking up is available at

    There are also over 100 FTSU Champions in many wards and departments across the Trust.

    To show your support to breaking down barriers to speaking up we encourage everyone to take part in the “Wear Green Wednesday” throughout October

    Thank you!

    Fran Papaleontiou and Stephen Hyde

    Freedom To Speak Up Guardians

    Email [email protected]

  • Our Upcoming Council of Governor Meetings and Board of Director Meetings held in Public

    Have you ever wondered what goes on at a Council of Governors or Board of Directors meeting at CNTW?

    Did you know we have specific meetings for both the Board and Council that are held in Public that you can join in person or via Microsoft Teams to find out what is going on within the Trust.

    If you are interested in observing any of them, please email [email protected] to find out about our upcoming meetings.

  • World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2023

    Every year we celebrate World Mental Health Day on 10 October. The theme for 2023, set by the World Foundation of Mental Health, is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’.  

    World Mental Health Day is about raising awareness of mental health and driving positive change for everyone’s mental health.

    It’s also a chance to talk about mental health, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to get help if you are struggling.

    For more information on how you can get involved please visit the Mental Health Foundation Website here.


  • CNTW Pharmacy Department

    Who are we and what do we do?

    Our department employs over 100 professional and support staff ensuring the safe supply and use of medicines through innovative means, such as automation and electronic prescribing, ordering and administration. We provide clinical services and medicines information services to inpatient units, crisis and community teams.  We cover the whole of the CNTW footprint from the 4 main Trust sites.  You can find out more about us and the services we provide by viewing the CNTW Pharmacy Internet Page.  The sustainability theme runs through our service, whether it is the use of electric vehicles for staff to use to travel between sites, delivery of medication or a new ‘staple free’ stapler that we are trialling in our dispensaries.

    How can I find out information about my medicines?

    Our team of pharmacists provide advice to patients of the Trust through a dedicated helpline to help with any medicines related queries. More information is available here.

    Travelling abroad with medication?

    Many people will be taking trips away on holiday and it important not to forget about any medication that may be needed whilst away.  The rules around how you go about travelling with your medication differs depending on the type of medication and the travel destination. It’s always best to check in plenty of time as to what these rules are.  Information on this can be found on the UK Government website .  You can also ask your GP or local pharmacist who will be able to signpost you.

    We are outward facing too!

    One of our pharmacists recently presented at an international webinar/digital event for the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). The session she was asked to help facilitate was the interconnection between the acute pain management and mental wellbeing.

    FIP is the global body representing pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences. Through its 146 national organisations, academic institutional members and individual members, they represent over four million pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists around the world.

    We also have staff who regularly contribute to local, national and international conferences and as a service we have won several national awards.

  • Involvement Meetings and Service User and Carer Reference Group

    The next Service User and Carer Reference Group will be taking place on Thursday 16th November 2023 from 10am – 4pm with refreshments and lunch provided. It will be taking place at The County Hotel, Neville Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5DF.

    There will also be an Involvement Share and Learn event on Thursday 23rd November 2023 at the Jubilee Theatre, St Nicholas Hospital, Jubilee Road, Gosforth, NE3 3XT.

    Places at both events are limited, to avoid disappointment please email [email protected] who will be able to reserve you a spot.

  • Looking for help? 24-hour access to mental health care, advice and support.

    If you need help with your mental health, please follow this link to see some of the options available to you.

  • CNTW self-help guides

    CNTW continue to provide award-winning self-help guides in a range of formats (leaflets, BSL and audio) as well as audio files of relaxation techniques, which can help relieve stress and gain a sense of well-being.

    To access self-help guides please visit our online bookcase.

  • Give us your feedback

    As always, we very much welcome any suggestions or ideas that you have. We also have our survey that you can complete to let us know your thoughts of this month’s e-Newsletter or if you have a questions please email us at: [email protected]

    QR code which directs you to our online survey Please follow this link or scan the QR code to go to our survey.

    Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with the work we are doing and ways you can get involved @CNTW_Membership

  • Not yet a Member?

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    Either visit our website, or e-mail [email protected] if you would like a paper form sent out.