The Winter edition of CNTW’s Membership e-Newsletter

Posted: 11/12/23

Welcome to the Winter edition of CNTW’s Membership e-Newsletter

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Corporate Affairs, Membership and Engagement Team

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year on a light blue background

Can you believe we are at the end of 2023 already? No matter how you have spent the past 12 months we hope you have had a very happy, positive and safe time.

Within the Trust we have had many exciting occasions over the year, and as like last year we thought it would be good to go through a bit of a timeline of some of the many things that has been going on over the past year:


We launched our brand new career portal called the Application Support Hub to help improve our recruitment diversity


The North East and North Cumbria Health and Care Partnership launched an ambitious new plan that aims to help people live longer and healthier lives by 2030

The Trust secured Stonewall’s Silver award which recognises exceptional employers who are committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community


Our Deputy Lead Governor, Tom Rebair, shared a blog about his personal experience of anorexia for Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2023

The builders working on the redevelopment of Monkwearmouth Hospital in Sunderland uncovered a time capsule that was buried more than 90 years ago


We were delighted to announce the appointment of our new Lead Governor, Anne Carlile in Aprils Membership e-Newsletter

On Thursday 20th April 2023 the Trust launched our brand new Carers Promise at the Carers Promise Conference which was developed with and for carers in CNTW


The Corporate Affairs Team submitted an application and was successfully selected as a finalist to showcase some work undertaken by our Council of Governors at the NHS Providers Governors Focus Conference held at The Oval in London on 23rd May 2023. The Conference provided a bespoke opportunity for Governors from around the country to network with their peers and learn from colleagues and sector leaders on issues and developments within the sector directly affecting their role


The Trust launched our first ever Volunteer Involvement Strategy. Many volunteers, patients, and staff have all been engaged in creating the strategy. It was launched at a celebration event in Gosforth, Newcastle on Friday 9 June


We celebrated 75 years of the NHS with sharing some CNTW staff stories in our annual long service brochure which celebrates the commitment of CNTW staff and volunteers who have reached significant milestones in their NHS service

The Trust signs the Pledge To Be Seen campaign which shows we are committing to representing more people with a visible difference in the Trust’s communications materials


The Council of Governors appointed Darren Best as the new Trust Chair to take over from Ken Jarrold when he retired at the end of September 2023

Local house builder, Barratt Developments North East, donated an amazing £1,500 to the Trusts SHINE Charitable Giving Fund as part of the NHS 75th Anniversary


Our SHINE Charity officially relaunched with two cleaners at St Nicholas Hospital coming together to launch a song called ‘Where Hope Begins’ with all funds raised being donated to the charity

We buried our own time capsule at our Northgate Park site at the new Sycamore Unit to reflect on the past and look forward to the future


We announced that we were looking to recruit two Non-Executive Directors, including one specifically with a Service User background to make sure service user and carer voices are heard at Board level

You can read more about our news from November and December further down in this e-Newsletter.

We want to thank all our colleagues, service users, carers, partners, friends, family and more for an amazing year and we hope you all have a wonderful and festive Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

  • Governor Spotlight - Julia Clifford

    Julia Clifford, one of our Appointed Community and Voluntary Sector Governors has taken the time to answer a few questions for this edition of the Membership e-Newsletter.

    Julia Clifford

    Please tell us a bit about yourself:

    I am in the process of writing a book, as I have had such a wonderful, spicy, full, and exciting life, so I will try and make this as short as possible.

    I come from a small, middle-class family from East Sussex. My parents are both dearly departed, and it is just my older sister, who lives in Mexico, myself and our 4 children.

    My father was a ‘manic depressant’, which was interesting growing up. Since then, I have learned so much about poor mental health, and in retrospect he had PTSD after having his leg blown off in WWII at the tender age of 19; (among other personal issues with my grandmother)

    I left home and the UK at 16 to become a show dancer in the south of Spain. I was a professional dancer. This led me to dance around the world and I ended up in Mexico in 1984 with my own ballet company. In 1985 we lost a great deal in the Earthquakes that killed hundreds of thousands of people. I was also pregnant so came home to be with my family in Spain. I became a successful, self-taught director of an English business in Malaga.

    In 1993 I moved my family to Mexico where I was employed by Emilio Azcarraga Milmo, the CEO and President of Televisa and one of the richest men in the world at the time. I was introduced to the likes of Rupert Murdoch, David Rockefeller Sr, and Bill Clinton. All of whom taught me something very different in life.

    In 1995 I moved to Miami, where I worked for Ricky Martin, then Gloria and Emilio Estefan of Miami Sound Machine. I spent 5 years as project manager, for her and the likes of Shakira, and Jon Secada, project managing their attendance at the Oscars and the Grammy’s amongst other events. It was while working there I went home for a holiday to Eastbourne, East Sussex and met my future husband.

    He immediately moved in with me in Miami, we were married in 5 months, and I was pregnant with my second child a month later. Unfortunately, I now know that he was an undiagnosed psychopath according to the Psychopathy Checklist PCL-R developed by Robert Hare (scoring 18 out of the 20 traits). The abuse began and I lost everything I had worked so hard for and ended up back in the UK with a young baby, with phenylketonuria (PKU) and on benefits.

    In 2007 I wrote a business plan and managed to convince the banks to give me a loan of £30K and with my sister, we opened an American franchise, Curves – fitness for women, in Carlisle. We have weathered 2 recessions in 2008 and 2009, lost everything in the Storm Desmond floods, became a Community Interest Company, survived a 2 year lockdown due to the nature of our services, and then became a Charity in June 2023. We now have a modest turnover of nearly £500K per year.

    My children (37 and 22) are my world, and my business is my priority in life. I am unapologetically a positive disruptor , with a huge heart.

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

    I have been aware of CNTW, but had no connections. I have been in touch with several key employees in Cumbria to work collaboratively, but unfortunately Cumbria still seems to work very much in silo from my experience. I was invited in by a fellow Governor, to whom I will be forever grateful for believing in me.

    Can you tell us a bit more about your Governor Role, what lead you to this role and why it is important to you?

    I am an appointed Governor for the Council of Governors representing the Third Sector and I have also been invited as a Governor representative joining the Mental Health Legislation Committee.

    Honestly, I had never considered becoming a Governor for several reasons; I am a workaholic and have very little time and I never believed being a Governor would really allow me to have a voice. I sadly believed it to be a ‘Status’ role. I have learned otherwise, especially since attending the Governwell course hosted by NHS Providers.

    The day I feel I am no longer heard; I will graciously step down.

    Being a Governor has surprisingly become very important to me. I believe in doing things differently, since my original business plan in 2007 I have quoted Einstein’s definition of insanity and I live by that. I am aware that I am not everyone’s cup of tea, but in 17 years I have earned outstanding respect from those who matter to me.

    I am lucky to have very good mental health, but including members of my family, I am surrounded with less fortunate people whom I just want to serve and improve their life’s experiences.

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

    I am only 5 months into the role, but I am absolutely loving every second so far (Except maybe the financial side, where I tend to get very confused and often lost!)

    I am overwhelmed by everyone’s honesty and transparency in the Trust. It has been truly enlightening especially after working 17 years in Cumbria where I feel there is still so much to learn and be done, especially around silo working and ‘favouritism’ (if that is the right word). After my past experience working in Latin America, I thought I would be well prepared for that, but unfortunately, it is a very tight circle and hard to break into unless you ‘tow the line’…..Insanity comes to mind, yet again!

    I am hoping that the same ethos and growth this Trust has achieved, will transfer into North Cumbria and the culture here can too be changed under CNTW’s guidance. Within my role, I sincerely hope I can be of assistance.

    Thank you Julia for sharing your story, is there anything else you wish to add or a message you would like to share with our local communities?

    If you have a genuine passion and want to make a difference, this is the role for you! You need to be here for the right reason and not for personal gain. Heart is key in my opinion.

    Do not take this role lightly, it is a commitment and not just a ‘trophy title’

    Do not be worried, there is so much support from everyone on the whole Executive Team, Jack, Debbie and Kirsty are all amazing people and so accommodating.

    It is a learning curve, but a very welcoming and decent group and I am beyond honoured to be part of it.

  • Council of Governors Election's 2023 - Results

    People standing around a ballot box holding voting papers

    Following on from our Council of Governors Election cycle which has taken place over October and November 2023, we are happy to announce the following Members have been successfully elected onto our Council of Governors:

    Service User

    • Adult Services – Tom Rebair


    • Children and Young People’s Services – Shannon Fairhurst
    • Learning Disability Services – Rosie Lawrence


    • Cumbria (North) – William Miskelly


    • Non-Clinical –Siobahn Watson
    • Clinical – Amber Cormack

    Congratulations to our newly elected Governors and thank you to everyone who took the time to put a nomination in, please keep an eye out for more opportunities to join our Council in the future.

  • NHS Providers - A blog from our Corporate Engagement Assistant

    Our Corporate Engagement Assistant, Jack Wilson, has written a blog for NHS Providers about his experiences as a Governor previously at CNTW and now as an Appointed Governor at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust representing our Trust.

    You can view his blog over on the NHS Providers website here: Why I became an appointed partner governor at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust – NHS Providers

  • Research and Development at CNTW

    We have worked with our Research and Development Department here at CNTW to gather some information about the great work they do across the region and further beyond. Over the next few editions of the Membership e-Newsletter we will be sharing more information about the department, what they do and who they are.

    What is Research in CNTW?

    Evidenced-based practice is the cornerstone of the NHS, and good quality research improves treatments and services for everyone. CNTW have a significant research profile, as one of the most research-active mental health Trusts in England. We lead, and facilitate the delivery of, research and innovation, across the organisation and beyond into the wider health system.

    In a typical year we proudly lead on around 50 studies and support the recruitment to between 50 to 60 large scale National Institute for Health Research portfolio adopted research projects.

    Our strategic aims for research and development are:

    1. Research is embedded into services and practice in CNTW
    2. Research in CNTW is co-produced and available to all users of CNTW services
    3. CNTW is a leader and an influencer in local and national research networks and partnerships
    4. We enable research through innovative approaches to using data and digital methods
    5. We support and enable our staff to be involved in research at all levels of the organisation

    As an integral part of the regional infrastructures which supports research, we host the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration North East and North Cumbria (ARC-NENC), which is a collaboration involving 84 NHS, 35 public health, 18 social care and 31 voluntary and community sector bodies across the North East and North Cumbria. This applied research collaboration aims to improve the health of the population of the region through research in health and social care and its implementation into practice.

    We are also a partner in Newcastle Health Innovation Partners, along with Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals, Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and the Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC). This aims to translate internationally recognised science and innovation into improvements in the health of the population.

    Our strong research position nationally attracts pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech companies who share a common goal of offering our patients and staff opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research.

  • Our new state-of-the-art Sycamore Unit is officially opened

    Jane Percy, The Duchess of Northumberland opening the new Sycamore Unit at our Northgate Park Site

    On Thursday 16th November 2023, Her Grace, Jane Percy, The Duchess of Northumberland officially opened our new Sycamore Unit at Northgate Park, Morpeth.

    Sycamore unit is our newly built integrated adult medium secure facility, which is comprised of 6 wards, some of which are new wards and others have replaced our older, outdated units at Northgate Park and St Nicholas Hospital:

    • Alwinton is a Learning Disability ward with 12 beds including two enhanced care areas.
    • Berwick is a 14 bed mental health rehabilitation ward.
    • Elsdon is a Mental health admission, assessment and treatment, with 12 beds including two enhanced care areas.
    • Harthope is a 10 bed mental health recovery and rehabilitation ward.
    • Linhope is a 12 bed complex personality disorder ward.
    • Rothbury is a 12 bed offender personality disorder ward.

    The new unit offers 13 more beds than were previously available at the Kenneth Day Unit and Bamburgh Clinic.

    Each of these new wards has open-plan lounge and dining areas, chill out rooms, activity rooms, treatment rooms, laundry and outside space. Sycamore also offers access to a spiritual space, an education suite, art rooms/art psychotherapy, shared therapy spaces, gym, sports barn, running track, woodwork facilities, and gardens.

  • Service User and Carer Reference Group - Children and Young People's Services

    The bi-monthly Service User and Carer Reference Group met on Thursday 16th November at the County Hotel in Newcastle.  The theme of the meeting was Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS).

    As will all Service User and Carer Reference Groups, the meeting was opened with a lived experience story, with a parent-carer sharing their story and experience of being a carer for a child within mental health services.  Highlighting both good and bad experiences, their story set theme for the rest of the day, leaving the group to focus on what is working well with regards to children’s mental health, but also where there are lessons to be learned.

    Throughout the day the group heard presentations from the staff working within CYPS as well as the Trust’s Transformation team, detailing the current provision for Children and Young People’s Services, as well as future plans.

    An update was provided by the Patient and Carer Involvement Service, detailing the Youth Involvement Bank Pilot.  The pilot saw the introduction of a bespoke Involvement Bank for young people aged 14-17 years.  After a successful trial in the North locality, the Youth Involvement Bank will now be expanded to cover all localities within the Trust’s footprint.

    The afternoon session provided opportunities for networking, as well as an update on transitions within Children and Young Peoples Services, including a look at the work of the Trust’s Transitions Group, and some of the next steps that have been put forward in order to improve the experience of young people transitioning between services.

    A presentation by the Trust’s Family Ambassadors reiterated the importance of positive transitions, with two carers also sharing their personal experiences and insight of where things could be improved, but where also they felt things have worked well; such as the introduction of the Family Ambassador role.

    The day was rounded off and brought to a close with a look at the ongoing transformation work of the Neurodevelopmental Pathway for children and young people.

    Thank you to all who attended on the day, and to those who presented.  Following a short break, the Service User and Carer Reference Group will next take place on Thursday 1st February.  Further details will be shared closer to the day, however if you wish to join the Service User and Carer Reference Group mailing list, please contact [email protected]

  • SHINE Charity News

    Shine Charitable Given banner with photos of staff

    Paul Wales completes charity cycle

    Paul Wales has completed his incredible 1300+ mile long distance cycle for charity and made it to the promenade in Nice. It was a long and difficult journey over the Alps but Paul said it was worth it! Paul and his colleague Dr Mohammed Elhamshary set off on the long-distance cycle earlier this month to raise money for two charities, the Trust’s SHINE Charity and Brain Tumour Research. They set off from Newcastle and cycled to London together, where Mohammed returned to Newcastle to take part in the Great North Run. Paul continued from London to Paris, cycling through 40C heat in Northern France! He then cycled from Paris to Geneva, cycling over the Alps and continuing to his final point, Nice in Southern France.

    The total journey was over an incredible 1300 miles! We are incredibly grateful for the pair’s fundraising efforts and the money they have raised is going to make a big difference to patient wellbeing. Donations are still welcome, the pair have raised an amazing £4132 so far and would love to reach their goal of £5000.

    If you’d like to sponsor the pair, visit their Justgiving page

    NHS Charities Together – Successful bid

    We are delighted to announce that SHINE Charity has been successful in bidding for money from NHS Charities Together.

    The Trust will receive a grant of £154,000 which will go towards eight different projects aiming to support the long-term recovery of both patients and staff impacted by COVID-19.

    The services gaining from the funding are CNTW’s Children and Young People’s Services, and the adult autism inpatient services, as well as bereavement support for staff provided by the Trust’s Staff Psychological Centre, and support for the carers of children and young people.

    Sharon Brennan, Marketing Manager at CNTW, said: “We are delighted to have received the NHS Charities Together funding which will greatly benefit our service users and healthcare staff, and we can’t wait to get the projects underway.”

    Help raise funds for SHINE (for free!) with easyfundraising

    The Trust’s SHINE charity has registered with easyfundraising, a platform that lets you raise funds effortlessly for a chosen cause every time you shop online. With 8,000+ partner retailers like JustEat, Argos, John Lewis,, Tesco, Curry’s and Pets at Home – you can support the Trust’s charity at no extra cost to you.

    You can set up an account in a few quick steps, you’ll then need to apply the easyfundraising Donation Reminder (available on both mobile and desktop devices) which will prompt you on retailer sites where a donation is available, making donating quick and easy.

    SHINE supports our patients’ wellbeing by providing therapeutic activities and items of comfort that make a big difference whilst they’re receiving care in our services. Recent examples include the community forensic allotment group, a cycle workshop at Walkergate Park, HUG sensory companions for patients with dementia and improving the therapeutic garden at St George’s Park. These projects wouldn’t be possible with the money the Trust receives from central government alone, the charity is able to fund these thanks to the generosity of people who donate and fundraise for SHINE.

    Signing up to support SHINE through easyfundraising is the easiest way to support the charity, and it won’t cost you a penny. To get started, visit the Trust’s charity page on easyfundraising.

  • 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.

  • 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

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