Over 100 Retreat staff turned out in force for our first ever ‘Making a Difference and Positive Practice’ Awards Ceremony, at which our guest was BBC TV presenter Harry Gration.
Over the past few months staff and patients throughout the organisation had been nominating individuals and teams whom they thought deserved special recognition for ‘going the extra mile’ to enhance the quality of life for our patients.
Over 50 people were originally nominated but the Awards Ceremony was in honour of those who had been shortlisted.
The Hall was set out beautifully, and adorned with paintings by Julie Bagwash, a former patient who is now a successful artist and graduate of York St John University. Julie also made the highly original ‘Fish Feet’ trophies that were to be handed out to the winners.
Funding for the event was provided by the family of the late Nancy Scott, a patient with us for over 30 years on the West Centre (now Katherine Allen) unit.
Poppy Caterers had laid out a scrumptuous banquet, which everyone greatly enjoyed, and excitement was high at the end of the meal when Steve Trenchard took to the stage to begin the proceedings.
After thanks to all who contributed, Steve went on to introduce Harry Gration, with whom some witty banter ensued, before the winners were finally announced.
The nominations for the best clinical team were: Acorn, Blair Atholl, George Jepson, and Katherine Allen. The runner-up was Blair Atholl, nominated for their ‘healthy living group’ which changed the organisation and production of meals after careful consultation with the patients. Liz Jeffries accepted the award and paid tribute to the dedication of her staff.
The winner was the Katherine Allen Unit, who took to the stage to tumultuous applause. They had been nominated for expert end-of-life care, communal art expression work, protected meal times, and the especially innovative older people’s psychotherapy group.
The runner up for the best non-clinical team was the laundry and sewing team, a dedicated bunch of ladies who work hard in the basement, out of sight and often unappreciated, and who contribute enormously to the hygiene and comfort of patients and the maintenance and repair of The Retreat’s beautiful soft furnishings .
The winners in this category were the Domestic Team, praised for their friendliness, humour, accessibility and welcoming attitude, as well as the high levels of cleanliness within The Retreat.
The next presentation was for the best individual from York House. The two nominations were Paul Cuthbertson and Gareth Sullivan, and the winner was Gareth Sullivan, who modestly and reluctantly admitted, when pressed by Harry Gration, that, -astonishingly,- he had forfeited his own trousers for the sake of the dignity of a patient who had had an ‘accident’ when out at the York Races. To walk around in one’s boxer shorts in public at the Knavesmire surely takes ‘going the extra mile’ to a whole new level!
The next category of best clinical individual had no less than five nominees; Norma Tomlin, Michael Moss, Les Popely, Nicky Surgenor, and Phyllis Carson-Smith, all of whom are remarkable individuals, so the judging must have been especially difficult. The runner-up was Phyllis Carson-Smith, for her creative dramatherapy work with patients and most particularly for organising the hugely enjoyable Christmas Revue, which brings the whole community together in a very joyful way each year. Phyllis took to the stage with her usual aplomb and gave Harry Gration a run for his money in the banter department, when he asked her about her outfit, which she said she had ‘nicked from Berwick Kayler’.
The overall winner was Les Popely, our Activities Organiser, praised for the variety and scope of the activities that he offers to patients of all ages and tastes, ranging from concerts and visits to horseriding and even aerobatics! Les has not been in post very long but was described as having really turned things around with his ‘can-do’ attitude and his respect for patients.
There were four nominees for the best non-clinical individual; these being Brian Forshaw, Gill Moss, Christine Dick and Rose Potts. The runner-up was the hugely popular Brian Forshaw from Stores, who is known for being both obliging and efficient, and willing to go up and down flights of stairs to find you what you need without even a hint of a complaint.
The winner was Rose Potts, the team leader of Domestic Services, who took to stage once again to a standing ovation. Rose looked rather overwhelmed when praised for her enthusiasm and desire to do everything to the best of her ability, and her ability to take the team with her, earning their deep respect and affection.
All winners received an award, a certificate and a cheque, and the entire occasion was a most wonderful celebration without any rivalry whatsoever. It is to be hoped that this can become a regular occurrence, to celebrate the many fine contributions of often unsung heroes to the Retreat’s community.