On the 1st of July 2017 Coventry and Warwickshire Mind in association with Springfield Mind took on the contract for Wellbeing for Warwickshire. The north and south divide was no more.
Having coordinated the wellbeing hubs for the previous organisation, I felt a sense of having an unfinished job, still yet to complete. So myself and Support Time and Recovery Worker Bob Beasley moved over to Coventry and Warwickshire Mind lock, stock and barrel to try and make the transition as smooth and as painless as possible for all of our hub clients.
Even though we now worked for CW Mind, having to do the same kind of job, with the same clients, made it a challenge but a comfortable one. A bit like a pair of slippers that you haven’t worn for a while but once you put them on things make sense.
Even though we were doing our job and the clients appeared positive about the changes there was still an identity crisis, because we were still using the same hub buildings as before.
Fiona, our Wellbeing for Warwickshire Manager, and Leeya, as Senior Operational Manager, with the support of David Healey, our former Director of Operations, helped the service evolve and find a new voice, a new identity.
Bob and I had been hot desking wherever we could and the boot of my car (my office) looked like my sons bedroom! So an office was sorely needed.
On October 3rd we made our first move towards independence by moving to the Mancetter Memorial Hall. I never realised how much pleasure can be derived from simply having a space that you can work in. The Mancetter move was a resounding success for all and gave us a taste of the good life.
Fiona, supportive and positive as ever, jumped on the next challenge of finding a Bedworth building for us to use. This happened very quickly and by November 1st we were joining forces in the same building as Bedworth CAB and a new working partnership was born.
Still lacking a full staff team, Bob and reserve worker Nighat Tahsin, along with a hardy team of volunteers, kept the good ship “Wellbeing” afloat. Christmas came and went in a blur and 2017 appeared. With it we decided that a new Nuneaton base that was ours and would be bespoke to our service was our next great challenge.
Again, after much toing and froing, on 2nd Feb 2017 we moved into our new Nuneaton Hub at Newtown Chambers, a building that was perfect for the service; a space that was pleasant, warm and welcoming with one-to-one rooms, a spacious office and toilets.
By 1st May we had a full complement of staff and peer supporters raring to be involved in the service. I sat back for a day and breathed in the success we had achieved. I opened my emails and Fiona had sent through the next set of challenges for the Wellbeing Hubs in a well presented grid.
Year one is now over, hopefully four more to go, at the very least. We have three new Hubs, three new staff and a caring and supportive organisation that values every voice and every choice. My scepticism from a year ago has now faded. If I could just remember every new name and every new face life would be so much easier. At least I have something to work on for year two!
For more information about the North Warwickshire hubs, please visit the Wellbeing for Warwickshire page.
Gary Bromley and Bob Beasley outside Nuneaton Wellbeing Hub