06 March 2019

Mental health worker presented with top honour

Stephen Holmes BEM 040319A mental health worker from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, who was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June, has been presented with his medal.

Stephen Holmes, who is a Health Care Assistant with AWP's Swindon Intensive Team, was named as a recipient of a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his work in developing a football team for people with mental health problems.

On Monday 4 March Stephen was presented with his medal at Salisbury Cathedral by Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.

Stephen has been instrumental in working with Swindon Town Football Club's 'Football in the Community' programme to set up and co-run a weekly football group for service users, which promotes social inclusion and physical health. Over 20 service users are now involved in the programme.

Speaking about his BEM, Stephen said: "It is a huge honour to be recognised for my work with this programme. I have always played football and felt that through my work I would be able to help people with mental health problems. As well as physical exercise, which can improve your mental health, the programme promotes recovery and hope and a sense of belonging. It also acts as a peer support group for the participants and, for some, has led to full time paid work, education and volunteering opportunities. Many people with mental health problems can often feel alone and isolated so having something they can feel part of is hugely beneficial."

AWP's Operations Manager for Swindon, Jason Everett, said: "We are delighted that Stephen has received a British Empire Medal. He is recognised in Swindon and across the Trust as extremely passionate about his work and always goes above and beyond for those in his care. This is an extremely prestigious honour and we are so pleased that his hard work and dedication has been recognised at such a high level."

The British Empire Medal (BEM) was established in 1922 to replace the Medal of the Order of the British Empire. It is a British medal awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown.

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