Another success for the Life Rooms is highlighted in the latest update from Chief Executive Joe Rafferty

Life Rooms

I can’t start this week’s blog anywhere other than offering my huge congratulations to everyone at the Life Rooms for their success in the Innovation in Mental Health Care category at the Healthcare Transformation Awards this week.

Whenever a new project or initiative is suggested within the Trust, we talk it through with clinicians, service users and the Executive Board and we all hope that each one has a big impact on whatever we are trying to achieve.


The Life Rooms model has done that, and more, in establishing two sites in Walton and Southport that are now community hubs and bases for Recovery College courses. They are both incredibly popular and we are planning a third, which we hope will be operational later this year, in partnership with Hugh Baird College at the former St Winefride’s Church in Bootle.

When a community model, a bridge between our services and the outside world, was first suggested, we realised there was a need for this type of opportunity for people that needed help regaining confidence and the skills to rebuild their lives.

It was possibly a risk to embark on such a project but it has paid off incredibly and I don’t think any of us – even the ever enthusiastic team over at Life Rooms – could have realised just how successful it has been.


We’ve Been Nominated

Another initiative that is making real progress is our work with the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA), who have been shortlisted in the Excellence in Mental Health Care award category for the NHS 70 Parliamentary Awards.

One of the things we’re exceptionally proud about, both with the ZSA and our free on-line training, is that it has all been developed through co-production between clinicians, people who have experienced suicide through bereavement and those who have survived a suicide attempt.

The ZSA has been exceptionally well led and brought together by Steve Mallen, who lost his own son to suicide, and I’ll be delighted to go to the awards event in London next week with Steve – winning the award would be real recognition on a national stage that the aims and objectives of the ZSA should be celebrated by all.

It’s been a busy week for the ZSA because, in addition to the NHS 70 event at the Houses of Parliament, the online training has also been nominated for this year’s Tech4Good Awards in the People’s Award category.


The People’s Award is the most sought after because it is chosen by the public, voting online via this link: This is not just a recognition of the work this Trust, in partnership with Relias UK, has done in developing the training but it also all the people who have been involved in the co-production, from clinicians to service users and those who have experience of suicide.

I’d like to ask you all a big favour. Could you please spare a couple of minutes to click on the link above and vote for the training – if everyone reading this blog does that then we have a real chance of winning. All you need to do is click on the link above and find Relias – Zero Suicide Alliance #T4GRelias from the multiple choice menu.

All are welcome to vote, so please do share the link across social media and with your own contacts– it would be hugely appreciated. Voting runs until 5.00 pm on Monday 09 July 2018.

The main focus of the ZSA, of course, is to eliminate suicide from the UK. There are various measures we are planning to help with that objective, not least making the training free for all that provides advice to people talking to those with suicidal thoughts.

The more people that take the training the better informed they will be and the better prepared everyone will be to help those in need. That includes making people aware that a free resource, using the expertise of clinicians and experts to develop, is available, which we do through talking to stakeholders and media.

Another way of reaching out is through music and a former member of staff at Mersey Care, Zorro Rudasumbwa, has written a song that has been developed into a catchy, summer anthem for the ZSA. We know this is a serious topic but we wanted to capture the country’s upbeat mood with the sunshine and the World Cup by spreading the word through song.


It’s available via a free download from Spotify and Amazon from this Saturday onwards.


Mersey Care joins Instagram

 Social media is another medium we use to provide information about our services and about the Trust and we have active Twitter and Facebook accounts already.

This week we have also launched our Instagram account, which will update its followers on all the news from Mersey Care and feature some of our best pictures. We’d like as many of you as possible to follow and you can access it here.


Investing in the Future

This week I went along to the THRiVE graduation event at Indigo and it was great to see those graduating and the hard work that has gone into the programme by our Occupational Effectiveness team. Rhian Atanasov and Melissa Holt have built a real rapport with those who have been on the course.

It was great listening to so many engaging and incisive presentations from people on the frontline and shows the benefit of investing in people development within the Trust. One of the best parts about being a manager is watching your staff develop and I hope I have just seen the next generation of possible leaders within our organisation.


For the diary

For those of you who don’t know there are a couple of events coming up to put into your diaries.

Firstly, we’re holding our own celebration to mark NHS70 with a family event at Aintree Racecourse on 7 July from 10.30am until 2.00pm. There will be plenty for families to do and more information can be found here.

Colleagues, members of staff, service users and carers are all also invited to the Annual General Meeting and Members’ Event, also at Aintree Racecourse, on 25 July. Lunch starts at 12.30pm and the AGM starts at 2.00pm.