Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust’s Communications Team have scooped a top prize in NHS Communicate’s annual awards. The awards recognise the achievements of communicators across the NHS and celebrate innovation in the sector.
The team won the Internal Communications and Staff Engagement Award for the Trust’s ‘Reflections of a Pandemic’ project. The judges said they were ‘blown away’ by this ‘inspiring’ project.
Dave Roberts, head of communications, who initiated the project, said: ”I am delighted that this project, which was a labour of love, has been recognised by the NHS community. Its impact has been deeply felt by staff across our Trust and within our community. So much of what we heard and read about during the pandemic was statistics and facts, this project explored and acknowledged how it felt to work as part of the team that managed the pandemic at the hospital. The writing captures the feelings and impact on our staff at work and at home throughout that time.”
The ‘Reflections on a Pandemic’ project began in spring 2020 when poet Martin Figura was commissioned to write poems based on his interviews with staff across the hospital about their experiences of the pandemic, both at work and at home. The series of poems became a collection published as ‘My Name is Mercy’. Martin also conducted poetry writing workshops with staff and groups in the community.
Martin went on to perform the poems in videos and at staff events, such as a music and poetry evening at Brown Street, the Trust’s Staff Awards in 2021, and at ‘We Reflect’, the special service which took place in March 2022 that was held by the Trust and Salisbury Cathedral with carers from across the area to mark the second anniversary of the start of the first national lockdown. This service included original writing from Paula B Stanic who movingly captured how lockdown felt from the perspective of a caregiver, a child of an NHS worker and someone who was cared for. Two of the poems were also recorded by Stars Appeal Patron, Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman.
CEO Stacey Hunter, said: “We are delighted that our Reflections project has received this well-deserved recognition. Responding to the pandemic was an experience like no other in the history of the NHS. The project and the resulting emotional and inspiring poems captured the psychological challenges that our staff faced and coping as best they could at work and in their personal lives. Martin Figura’s poems resonated with our staff and provide a testament to their resilience.”
The project was made possible with funding from the hospital’s League of Friends and Stars Appeal charities.
‘My Name is Mercy’, the collection of poetry, is available to order at https://fairacrepress.co.uk/shop/by-martin-figura/ and can be purchased at the League of Friends shop at Salisbury Hospital
Video: Olivia Colman reading ‘Fifth Season’ https://youtu.be/ppZDwIeOtd8
Photos: Cover of ’My Name is Mercy’(photo credit: Monaya Abel) and Martin Figura (photo credit: Harley Shearstone)