Mersey Care Reads, the partnership between The Reader Organisation and Mersey Care NHS Trust, has been shortlisted for the Guardian Public Service Awards. There are two other projects competing with us in the ‘Partnership Working’ category, and we’ll be hearing the results at the awards dinner on 22 November 2011.
Our entry for the prize was very much focussed on partnership – not just the fact that the Trust and The Reader Organisation are working together, but the personal partnerships formed between Mersey Care staff and the Readers-in-Residence, as they work together to set up and facilitate reading groups on wards and in day settings. Trust professionals bring their skills in group work and the positive relationships they have formed with service users, essential to recruiting groups. The Readers-in-Residence bring literary expertise and the energy that comes from having someone from ‘outside’ coming on site.
In addition, we concentrated on the outcomes the project has seen: ‘Improvements in confidence, memory, creativity, listening skills’ as the SURE team noted in their 2008 evaluation of the project. Or as one service user put it, ‘It’s good because our lives are like stories.’