Follow-up Extraordinary Bridge Forum Meeting – Community Mental Health Transformation 9th March

Mar 24, 2022 | BRIDGE Forum, News, Newsletter

Extraordinary Bridge Forum Meeting

Community Mental Health Transformation

Developing a VCFSE Mental Health Alliance

 Tuesday 9th March 2022, 1:00pm to 2.30pm, Teams Meeting

Full notes are attached at the end of the post, along with presentation slides and an Expression of Interest form.

1:00 – 1:10   Welcome, Introductions and Purpose – Micha Woodworth

1:10 – 1:25   Recap & Update from first meeting held 12th January – Mark Trewin, Head of Alliance Building, Community Mental Health Unit, Rethink

  • What does this mean for your organisation?
  • Update on East Cheshire/West Cheshire Alliance building
  • Role of people with lived experience

1:25 – 1:40    Mental Health Asset Grant Funding Programmes – Wirral

  • Tomorrows Women
  • Journey Men
  • Community Capacity Builders
  • Next Chapter

1:40 – 1:45    Developing a Wirral VCSE Mental Health Alliance Terms of Reference – Darlene Martin, Community Engagement Manager, Cheshire & Wirral, Rethink

  • Why a Terms of Reference?
  • What should be included

1:45 – 1:50   Comfort Break

1:50 – 2:15   Breakout Rooms

2:15 – 2:25    Feedback from group discussions

2:25 – 2.30 Next Steps and Summing Up – Mark Trewin, Rethink and Micha Woodworth

Recap & Update from first meeting held 12th January – Mark Trewin, Rethink
(Powerpoint presentation below; full notes available here)

  • This work is happening all over the country – encouraging voluntary sector organisations to work together, build alliances, co-produce
  • Experts by Experience are also attending – key principle to try to co-produce with people who use mental health services
  • Key question for today: how are we going to form a voluntary sector alliance that could work alongside the local authority and NHS?
  • Money for this work is coming from NHS England – the goal is to share it and spend it jointly with local authorities and voluntary sector rather than all within the NHS
  • Key principles for Rethink:
    • Rethink are not bidding on any funding or setting up new services
    • Work should be co-produced by those who live in the area and by experts by experience
    • We should wrap care around people
    • We need to shift power away from large organisations to people and communities
    • This is a partnership between primary and secondary care, local authorities, and the voluntary sector
  • Can we change the way we procure services? Less competition (which disadvantages smaller organisations), more working together?
  • Can we minimize referrals between agencies?
  • Alliance-building – looking at a formal alliance that is able to work directly as an equal partner with the NHS and local authority
    • Shared vision
    • Building trust and relationships
    • Governance systems
    • Terms of reference
  • Different places are doing different things – using Somerset as an example as they’ve been working on this for 2 years
  • CWP are committed to thinking about radical and different ways of working
  • Alliance working should also empower the smallest organisations, including those who don’t have capacity to be part of the alliance itself – small grants work

Experts by Experience


  • This is a once in a generation opportunity for people who use services/need services/may feel excluded to have a real say in decision making
  • Grew up on the Wirral – it used to feel like things were being done ‘to’ me rather than with or for me – this has started to change in my lifetime
  • People with lived experience must have a seat at the table – this money is coming in once, we have to get it right!


  • Working with people is very positive – there seems to be a genuine desire for change
  • ‘Once in a generation’ opportunity as Chris said


  • Individuals really have the opportunity to contribute to a better mental health service
  • People with a diverse range of conditions/lived experiences can contribute
  • The new model should mean that co-production really means co-production
  • This has the opportunity to be radical and very positive for the future

Mental Health Asset Grant Funding Programmes – Wirral

  • 16 organisations given funding across East Cheshire/West Cheshire/Wirral
  • Have asked some of the Wirral organisations to present the work they’re doing and how to access them
  • Trying to connect to housing associations also to raise awareness of what’s available

Questions in terms of who was successful/who wasn’t and what opportunities will look like moving forward

  • Darlene can send out a list of successful projects
  • Transparency is crucial so we can work together moving forward

Developing a Wirral VCSE Mental Health Alliance

Important to understand what’s in it for organisations – what would it mean in practice?

  • Benefits in terms of resources, relationships, finances
  • We’re all here because we’re passionate about making change, but we need to be clear about the benefits for VCF organisations

Key focus – procurement as a collective

Synergy with existing alliance-building work on the Wirral

Prevention and after-care:

  • Age UK Wirral: where is prevention and after-care in this model, as well as support for carers?
  • Rethink: prevention isn’t as strong as we’d like it to be. We can strengthen it by having local authorities involved as they have legal responsibility for

NHS awareness of community services

  • Wirral Change – will the alliance ensure that patients already within the NHS are directed to community and voluntary services? We’ve had quite a few referrals from junior doctors who have just found out about our services
  • People need holistic support with social inclusion as well as clinical support – is there space for us as an alliance to be mentioned by e.g. GPs when people present with mental health concerns?
  • Rethink – the point of the alliance is non-clinical services, so alliance working together with NHS should raise awareness of what’s available locally

Capacity and making sure people can get involved:

  • Smaller organisations don’t always have capacity to join meetings – how do we ensure everyone is part of the conversation?
  • Can send out questions by email and give people more time to response
  • Using Healthwatch Wirral and CWP to reach as many people as possible

Gaps – doesn’t cover children and young people

  • Koala NW – is it important for us to be involved as we work closely with children and young people’s mental health?
  • Healthwatch Wirral – importance of whole family approach – we extended the invitation widely
  • Rethink – the framework is focused on adults but we have had a lot of feedback about the need for similar transformation in children and young people’s services
  • Transition points are important – moving from children’s services to adult services
  • Whole family services should be involved in the alliance

Terms of Reference

Next steps

  • Please complete expression of interest form and return to Rethink if you haven’t already
  • Next session to focus on terms of reference – looking at May dates
  • Connect with other areas who have already set up alliances to find out how they’re doing it/what the outcomes have been

Follow-up Extraordinary BRIDGE Forum – Community Mental Health Transfomation Mar 22 minutes

Expression of Interest

Summary of the Rethink Tranformation Approach March 22 Final C and W

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