Service users to benefit from £30K Kings Fund grant

Posted on 15th December, 2006

As part of its Enhancing the Healing Environment programme, The Kings Fund in London has awarded The Briars an initial grant of £15K to help improve the environment for service users. A further £15K will be given once the project is underway. The Enhancing the Healing Environment programme has been running since 2000 across England and, in December 2005, Health Minister Rosie Winterton announced the extension of the programme to include mental health and learning disability services across the country. The programme encourages and enables teams to work together with service users and others to improve the environment in which they deliver care.  As well as the project grant, the funding includes places on a King's Fund programme for nurses, estates staff and service users to develop their leadership skills and give them the practical knowledge they will need to make their project a success. Part of the process also included a visit from the Kings Fund, who were impressed with the research the team had done on the history and heritage of The Briars and for the service user consultation and their involvement in the development of the plans. The Briars, part of the Devon Partnership NHS Trust, is based in Exeter and provides a creative therapies service that includes dance, art, drama, music and occupational therapy for those with mental health needs. As Malcolm Learmonth, Art Psychotherapist comments: “The decision to include mental health and learning disability trusts across the country in the programme has given us a great opportunity. Since the end of 2005 the project team, led by Nory Meneer, Health Development Manager, has been working hard with staff and service users to gather their ideas and suggestions for what they want to see and the design plans reflect their input. “The grant from the Kings Fund is great news. The Briars is a beautiful building, set in wonderful grounds, but the inside has areas that are unlit, unwelcoming and it lacks waiting and reception areas. The project includes the development of an inviting reception and waiting area and improvements to the lighting in the dark corridors. The award means we will be able to create a warm and safe-feeling space that will benefit our service users when they come to the Briars to attend one of the many therapies we offer. It means their whole experience - from when they enter the building until they leave - will be welcoming, relaxing, therapeutic and will make them feel completely at ease when they need it the most.” Ralph Hayward, Director of Development at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, adds: “There is strong evidence that shows the environment in which care and treatment is delivered has therapeutic benefits not only for our service users, but also improves staff morale and retention and the public perception of services.  I am delighted that The Briars has been successful with its application and we all look forward to seeing the finished work!”