The first Membership e-newsletter of 2024

Posted: 15/02/24

Welcome to the Trust's Membership e-newsletter

A message from the Corporate Affairs, Membership and Engagement Team

Welcome to your first Membership e-Newsletter of 2024! We are now two months in and we are already so excited for the year ahead. It is Darren Best’s first full year as Chair of the Council of Governors and Board of Directors (he recently did an interview with The Chronicle which you can read here) , we also have two new appointed Governors joining us on the Council, Bea Groves-McDaniel, Appointed Community and Voluntary Services Governor and Sithandazile (Star) Ncube, Appointed Governor for Northumbria University.

You can view a photo list of the full Council via this link, if you wish to contact any of our Governors please email [email protected]

In December following the recruitment process for two new Non-Executive Directors the Council of Governors successfully appointed Vikas Kumar and Rachel Bourne to help fill the skills and experience gaps identified within the Board. Vikas brings experience of the Third/Public sector and Rachel has lived experience as a Service User within CNTW to help corroborate Service User and Carers voices at Board Level.

Over February and March we also see many of the usual National Awareness events taking place which we always wish to highlight as someone may find the support they need through one of these very important dates.

Time to Talk Day 2nd February 2024

This years’ Time to Talk Day may have already been and gone, but we must remember the important messages that are shared are not just fixed to this one date but are to be shared and embraced all year long to help get people talking about mental health. Talking about mental health isn’t easy. But a conversation has the power to change lives.

Time to Talk Day is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with the Co-op.

The more conversations we have, the better life is for everyone. Talking about mental health isn’t always easy and sometimes it’s even harder to say how you really feel. But a conversation has the power to change lives.

Please visit the Time to Talk website here for advice and resources on how you could start a conversation around mental health.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) 26th February – 3rd March 2024

For this year’s EDAW ‘Beat Eating Disorders’ is shining a light on a health condition that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

ARFID is a largely unknown and misunderstood eating disorder.  ARFID can have serious consequences for health if left untreated.

The number of people affected by ARFID is unknown. Treatment is not available nationwide and people with ARFID, or who suspect they may have it, struggle to access the help they need.

Which is why it is important that this condition is highlighted and spoken about. You can follow the campaign and find out more information about ARFID by visiting their website here.

Young Carers Action Day 13th March 2024

This is an important day in the calendar to raise awareness and create action for young carers and young adult carers.

One in three young carers struggle to balance their caring responsibilities with education, missing out on opportunities to learn, earn and thrive.

This year’s theme is ‘Fair Futures for Young Carers’, highlighting how young people with caring responsibilities are significantly less likely to undertake higher education or enter employment than their peers without caring responsibilities.

Find out more about Young Carers Action Day over on the Carers Trust website here.

You can also see a full calendar of campaigns and awareness days over on the NHS Employer’s website to help you decide if there are any you wish to take part in/support during 2024:

  • Governor Spotlight - Maria Hall

    Maria Hall, Appointed Governor representing Gateshead Council has taken the time to answer a few questions for this edition of the Membership e-Newsletter.

    Maria Hall

    Please tell us a bit about yourself:

    I am married with 3 grown up daughters and 3 grandchildren. I am the managing director of a small care provider, director of Gateshead Autism Group and a local councillor. I enjoy meeting people and assisting them with their issues or concerns.

    I like altered art and watching films, especially science fiction; my claim to fame is I have met Arnold Schwarzenegger and have my photo with him as my screensaver on my phone!

    Did you have any connection with CNTW before you became a Governor?

    Yes, two of my daughters were service users, one being on the autistic spectrum.  When the Autism Bill and strategy was first published. I was involved in NEAC (North East Autism Consortium), looking at public services and how they were meeting the responsibilities under the legislation.

    Can you tell us a bit more about why being a Governor is important to you?

    I am really concerned about the growing waiting list and length of time children and young people wait to access CAMHS/CYPS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services/Children and Young People’s Services).

    I also think it is important that local authorities and health service providers work closely together to improve outcomes for all our residents.

    What has it been like to be a Governor so far?

    It is a really interesting and important role. The Covid lock down occurred not long after I was appointed, so it was more challenging becoming familiar with the business of the Trust with all meetings being held virtually. I do hope I am able to attend more Face to Face meetings rather than Teams in the near future.

    Outside of CNTW, I have a lot of meetings I must attend in my role as a councillor and also my external job, which can limit my availability to attend all the meetings and sessions with CNTW. I hope I will be able to participate in more visits to part of the Trust along with other governors, to see first-hand the good work of all the staff.

    Thank you Maria for sharing your story.

  • Research and Development at CNTW

    Following on from the article in the last edition of our Membership e-Newsletter – which you can read here: – We have some more great information to share with you from the Research and Development Department here at CNTW.

    Good news stories from the team

    1 – To help CNTW staff learn about research and be part of research, we developed a Principal Investigator training video with CNTW nurse consultant Paul Courtney. The Principal Investigator is the clinician who leads a research project. We were delighted when the National Institute of Health Research asked if they could use this video in their national training package. A great achievement!  Here is the video if you wish to watch it:

    2 – To help raise awareness of research amongst staff and service users, CNTW R&D developed some digital animations. These can be found via the following links:

    Get involved in Research at CNTW

    What should I know about Research at CNTW?

    3 – The research Manager in CNTW recently worked on a national group led by the Health Research Authority to develop an Human Resource tool that will allow CNTW research staff to access non-NHS sites for research. This means places such as schools, care homes and charity settings. This means that more people will be offered and have access to good quality research. The report can be found here: News – NHS R&D Forum (

    Some research studies that have been led by CNTW

    COBALT Trial | COBALT Trial | Newcastle University (  COBALT stands for COmBining memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors in Lewy body dementia Treatment trial. COBALT is a clinical trial, which aims to find out if adding Memantine to a cholinesterase inhibitor (either donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine) improves overall health and functioning for people with Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) or Parkinson’s Disease Dementia (PDD)

    Health Checks for Autistic Adults | Health Checks for Autistic Adults | Newcastle University ( The Health Checks for Autistic Adults study aims to design a health check for autistic adults for use by NHS Primary Care professionals and carry out an evaluation of its use.

    SCHEMA – Centre for Trials Research – Cardiff University A study to investigate if interpersonal art psychotherapy is helpful and value for money for people with learning disabilities who are in secure care.

  • New Community Wellbeing Hubs Launched in Cumbria

    New Community Recovery and Wellbeing Hubs were launched at the beginning of January to offer people easy access to support in the heart of their community.

    The hubs will be run by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne, and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), in partnership with Carlisle Matters and other local organisations.

    Hollie Edmondson, Recovery Clinical Lead at CNTW who has led on organising these Hubs, said: “These new Hubs will give people a safe, relaxed space to feel understood, listened to and supported.

    We can provide on-the-spot support with whatever you might be struggling with. If something’s weighing on your mind, we’re here to help.

    There’s no need to book. You can just drop in any time between 10am and 1pm on Wednesdays at the Workington hub, and between 10am and 2pm on Thursdays at the Carlisle hub.

    Each week we’ll also be offering an optional educational session between 12-1pm, with different themes each week.

    People can come along to learn about things like managing anxiety and stress, finding purpose in life, and sleeping better.”

    The Hubs are located at:

    The Oval Centre in Workington (Salterbeck Drive, Workington CA14 5HA), every Wednesday during term time, from 10am – 1pm

    Botcherby Community Centre in Carlisle (Victoria Road, Carlisle CA1 2UE), every Thursday during term time, from 10am – 2pm

    If the hubs are a success, the Trust hopes to launch more in other communities across North Cumbria.

  • Service User and Carer Reference Group - Gender Dysphoria Services

    Service User and Carer Reference Group banner

    The first Service User and Carer Reference Group of 2024 took place on Thursday 1st February, focussing on the theme of Gender Dysphoria Services.

    The day began with Darren Best, Chair of CNTW, formally introducing himself to the group whilst drawing on his past experiences and journey from working in Policing to his subsequent move into the NHS.  Darren highlighted the importance of the Service User and Carer Reference Group, the value it brings to the Trust, as well as the importance of service user and carer involvement within CNTW.

    Anna Laws (Consultant Clinical Psychologist) and Charles Owens (Peer Supporter) presented an update on the Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service.  Anna and Charles provided an insightful overview of the service as well as highlighting some of the key challenges currently facing Gender Services (such as increasing referrals into the service) as well as setting out plans to address these challenges.  Developments include the use of Peer Support to work with people on waiting lists, as well as implementing changes to the referral process in order to reduce waiting times for assessments – something which NHS England have expressed an interest in, and to potentially introduce nationally.

    Stalls also ran throughout the day, providing attendees with the chance to share their views on a number of Trustwide topics.  Representatives from the Communications Team provided a stall sharing information on the new mental health 111 provision, and the Trust Innovation Group returned to provide updates on Oxevision following feedback given at a previous Service User and Carer Reference Group.   The Patient and Carer Involvement Service also provided a stall, showcasing some of the collaborative work undertaken with the Northern Region Gender Dysphoria service, as well as involvement activities that have taken place via the Bank.

    The afternoon session provided an opportunity for table top discussion, with attendees looking back over the Service User and Carer Reference Groups that took place in 2023, highlighting what had worked well, as well as areas for development in 2024.

    The next Service User and Carer Reference Group will take place on 18th April 2024, focussing on the theme of Community Transformation.  To join the mailing list to receive updates and event invites, please email [email protected]

  • SHINE Charity News

    SHINE’s new look
    SHINE Supporting NHS Care Logo
    The communications team are proud to launch a brand new look for SHINE to modernise the charity’s image and better reflect its values. The new identity adopts a bright colour scheme and includes a new strapline to communicate the charity’s key purpose – supporting NHS care.

    Make a difference in 2024!
    Make a difference in 2024 Fundraise for SHINE banner
    Want to do something great in 2024? Run, bake, hike or host a party to raise funds for SHINE this year and help make a difference to the wellbeing of patients and carers across the Trust. However you want to fundraise, you can make a real impact.

    Last year’s fundraisers included a long-distance cycle by Paul Wales and Dr Mohammed Elhamshary, ‘Where Hope Begins’ song and performances by Peter Prest and Paul Hewitson and participation in the Great North Run. Other fundraisers included bake sales, raffles and seasonal events such as summer parties and Christmas markets. In 2024 we’re hoping to boost our fundraising efforts even further and are grateful for any donation or support you may be able to offer.  Our marketing team is here to support, so if you have an idea but aren’t sure where to start, get in touch [email protected], we’d love to hear from you

    STARRT Activities Facilitator Debbie Potter, who regularly fundraises for SHINE, said “it makes a difference to people’s lives and once you see the difference it makes to your patients you understand the importance of that fundraising and what it can give to them, because their lives have been changed dramatically.”

    Great North Run 2024

    The world’s biggest half marathon is back this September and SHINE is pleased to announce that it has secured 10 places again this year. 60,000 runners take on the 13.1 mile route from Newcastle to South Shields each year – if you’d like to join them and secure your spot for SHINE, email [email protected] today! It costs £80 to secure your spot, and the charity is asking for a £350 fundraising goal pledge.

    Take a look at the GNR 2023 highlights.

    Our fantastic runners last year raised an incredible total of £3438 for the charity, helping it continue supporting patient and carer wellbeing across the Trust.

    New SHINE textiles bin
    SHINE Textile bin in the carpark at St Nicholas HospitalSHINE has partnered with ECS Textiles to help turn unwanted clothes into donations. The company has provided the charity with a textiles collection bin at St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth. We will be trialling the textiles bin on the site and if it’s a success, will be looking to introduce further bins across other Trust sites. The bin is located in the car park beside the Gosforth Royal Mail Delivery office. Visitors and staff are welcome to donate unwanted clothes, shoes, handbags, bedding, accessories, belts, towels, toys, curtains and bric-a-brac.

    SHINE will receive funds for the donated goods, helping the charity continue supporting patient and carer wellbeing across our Trust’s services.

    If you require any accessibility support using the bin please get in touch: [email protected]

  • The Chatty Cafe Scheme

    The Chatty Café Scheme is the UK’s leading non-profit organisation tackling loneliness.

    They offer three services, all designed to reduce loneliness and/or social isolation. They include;

    • Face to face meet ups where venues offer ‘Chatter & Natter’ tables, where customers can get together and chat. There are hundreds of venues around the UK, many Chatter & Natter tables are hosted by Chatty Table Volunteers.
    • Online Chatty Cafe Sessions are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm – 1:30pm. Anyone over 18 can join, simply to chat to others.
    • Telephone Friendship Service for anyone over 18 who is experiencing loneliness and could benefit from a weekly chat on the phone.

    Whether you want to find out more about the scheme, find a ‘Chatter and Natter’ table near you, or even add your own community space to their ‘Chatter and Natter’ table directory please visit their website here:

  • Our upcoming Board of Director and Council of Governor meetings held in Public

    Have you ever wondered what goes on at a Board of Directors or Council of Governors 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 the upcoming dates.

  • NHS A-Z Jargon Buster

    We have recently pulled together a comprehensive A-Z list of NHS Acronyms and Jargon which you can access at any time via out website to help you understand common and uncommon phrases and acronyms in the NHS and beyond.

  • 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 our digital self-help guides please visit our online bookcase.

  • Feedback from you

    As always, we very much welcome any suggestions or ideas that you have. Please get in touch with us by emailing: [email protected]

    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.