Devon’s Peer Support Charter Award a first for England

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in Events and conferences, News on 12th April, 2024

Emily Clayton, Trust Lead for Peer Support, and Emma Flint, Peer Lead, accepting their awardOur Peer Support team was recently recognised with not only the first Lived Experience Charter Award for Devon, but also the first for workforce development in a Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) in England.

The awards, commissioned by NHS England and delivered by Career Matters, recognise excellence in developing workforces where lived experience is strongly represented. Categories include inclusion for employees with lived experience of justice systems, care-experienced adults, and mental health services. The stringent nine month process included an entry selection round, followed by a 5,000 word application from the few carried forward. The process required evidence across ten categories including career progression and training opportunities, inclusion in policy-making, and a supportive working culture. To prevent cherry picking good practice from different services, the process required focus on just one team of lived experience staff. Awards were assessed and given by a panel of senior lived experience NHS England, Health, and Justice staff, alongside former award winners.

Emily Clayton, Trust Lead for Peer Support, and Emma Flint, Peer Lead, chose Exeter Community Mental Health Teams as the basis for their evidence, where four peer support workers work with caseloads across two areas (City and Outer). On Wednesday 27 March, the leadership team were recognised with a Bronze award.

Accepting the award at Birmingham’s Millennium Point, Emma Flint said: “It means so much to be assessed by peers across England who are also working hard to embed lived experience in services. We have many teams in Devon with amazing peer support professionals, and it was hard to choose just one to focus on for this application. We want to name our peer colleagues in Exeter, Lorraine James, Yasmin Braddell, Linds Parkinson, and Becci Tribble, who work with such generosity, and thank them for taking up and testing opportunities in peer apprenticeships, research, and leadership roles.”

LEC award stage

Emily Clayton added: “This recognises all the hard work that has gone into peer support professional development at DPT in recent years. We are a small leadership team who are really passionate about finding solid, long-term opportunities for peers to learn and progress their careers with us. It’s great to have this recognised at a national level, and to be the first CMHT in England is something really special. However an award does not mean the job is done; with peer support set to grow by 50% across the NHS by 2039, we are just getting started!”

The team are bringing the award certificate back for a presentation to Exeter CMHT this April, where it’s hoped it will find a permanent home for display at Wonford House.