A unique partnership that supports volunteers to promote mental and physical wellbeing through a number of community managed libraries across south Staffordshire has won a national award.

The partnership between Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) and Staffordshire County Council was recognised at the prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards with the Health and Local Government Partnership of the Year award.

The Trust and county council have worked together to deliver eight community managed libraries in the south of the county. The authority provides the building, books, infrastructure and meets agreed costs, while MPFT recruits and supports volunteers who manage the day-to-day library service and provide wellbeing development programmes.

Activities held in libraries range from health checks to yoga, craft workshops and job clubs. These can involve Trust staff as well as those from other organisations with volunteers working with staff from the council’s library service and social inclusion navigators.

More than 250 people now volunteer, and membership numbers for both MPFT and the libraries have increased.

The awards are the most coveted accolade in UK healthcare and celebrate the outstanding contributions of staff, teams and organisations across the healthcare sector. The Health and Local Government Partnership of the Year award recognises NHS and local authority partnerships that deliver better value for patients and citizens.

The judges said of the team: “Their vision was clear in empowering communities to improve lives and is an example of how the NHS and local authorities can partner for better outcomes.”

Neil Carr, Chief Executive of MPFT said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. This is a unique and visionary initiative involving the Trust and county council working in tandem to empower volunteers to support local people and bring communities together.

“The benefits such a partnership continues to deliver cannot be underestimated and I am so pleased that it has been recognised in this way.”

John Henderson, Chief Executive of Staffordshire County Council said: “The Community Managed Libraries programme keeps our libraries at the heart of their communities by remaining relevant to local needs.

“MPFT has shown great energy, flair and enthusiasm in working with volunteers and developing what’s on offer inside the libraries and I am delighted by their success.”

MPFT was also shortlisted in six other categories at the HSJ Awards:

  • Mental Health Provider of the Year
  • Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award in recognition of the Joining Forces Network of seven NHS trusts, led by MPFT that provides inpatient mental health care for serving military personnel
  • Primary Care Innovation of the Year in recognition of an innovative partnership service provided by MPFT’s Telford and Wrekin Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service and Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust’s Telford Musculoskeletal Service that combines care for the mental and physical health and wellbeing of the local community
  • Community or Primary Care Service Redesign in recognition of the Lichfield Staying Well pathway, supporting frail patients to live and age well
  • Digitising Patient Services Initiative in recognition of the Trust’s work to digitally empower staff to deliver a fully integrated care record
  • Freedom to Speak Up Organisation of the Year

Neil added: “Well done to all of our teams for being nominated. I’m enormously proud of their hard work and innovation that challenges the status quo for the benefit of our patients, service users and the populations we serve.”


Notes to Editors:

The HSJ Awards took place on Wednesday 6 November at Battersea Evolution Centre in London.

More information about the HSJ Awards can be found at https://awards.hsj.co.uk/

The community libraries are located in:

  • Barton-under-Needwood
  • Baswich
  • Brewood
  • Glascote
  • Heath Hayes
  • Hednesford
  • Holmcroft
  • Norton Canes