Superstar social workers shortlisted in national awards

Three superstar social workers have been shortlisted in a prestigious national award scheme for their efforts to support vulnerable children, young people and families in the city.

The Social Worker of the Year Awards take place annually to celebrate the achievements of practitioners and teams in the profession across the country.

Stronger Futures and Portsmouth City Council put forward colleagues in children’s social care, with three social workers being shortlisted in the following categories.

  • Liam Mills – Social worker – (Category: Children’s social worker of the year)
  • Amanda Haylock- Service leader – (Category: Team leader of the year)
  • Lucy Collier – Newly qualified social worker – (Category: Student social worker of the year)

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council welcomed the news:

“Since launching Stronger Futures, we feel it is important to shout about our amazing social workers who do a fantastic job supporting the city’s children, young people and families. The fact that our colleagues have been recognised in three different categories is a huge achievement. You all deserve a collective thank you and well done!”

As part of the nomination process, a supporting statement was submitted for each social worker which showcased their compassion, resilience and professionalism when supporting those who need it most.

Liam Mills who is part of the family safeguarding and support team, visited homes during the first lockdown to ensure families had the right support. Liam’s work has also seen him creating picture books for children to explain complex subjects that might be impacting a family’s life.

Amanda Haylock, service leader in the adult family safeguarding team introduced Portsmouth’s unique approach to family safeguarding, working with different teams to support parents/carers in issues such as mental health, substance misuse and domestic abuse.

Sarah Daly, deputy director of children and families at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Our workforce in children’s social care mean the world to us. A national awards scheme gives us a chance to showcase what we are all about by recognising the efforts of our teams across the service.

“We value our teams’ commitment to children, young people and families in the city. I would like to thank you all for your ongoing work and give you all a well-earned congratulations.”

Lucy Collier, a newly qualified social worker, who has been shortlisted in the student social worker of the year category, said:

“When my colleagues told me I had been shortlisted, I couldn’t believe it. It’s an incredible feeling to be recognised. Portsmouth is such a great place to work, partly due to the training and mentoring I have received through Portsmouth City Council and the University of Winchester.”

In her role at Portsmouth City Council, Lucy has been proactive in developing relationships with specialist schools in the city to enable better partnership working as well as supporting families who require respite as part of their care packages.

Lucy joined Portsmouth City Council through the step up to social work programme, a government initiative, which is designed to support those who graduate from training into employment. The University of Winchester supported Lucy on the 14-month programme.

Simon Jobson, dean of the faculty of health and wellbeing at the University of Winchester said:

“Congratulations to Lucy on her nomination and her fantastic achievements in her work for Portsmouth City Council since graduating from the University of Winchester.

“Our step up students undertake placements across the South, thanks to our close collaboration with local councils. This combination of employment and academic experience leads to the development of confident, highly-skilled and reflective practitioners, like Lucy, who are ready to work effectively and safely in social services.”

Those shortlisted will find out if they have won on Wednesday 17 November as part of a special virtual awards ceremony broadcast live from London. For more information on children’s social care at Portsmouth City Council, visit:

Safe Space moves to Civic Offices

A Safe Space for individuals who might need support on a night out is now located in the reception of Civic Offices in Guildhall Square. This has moved from Guildhall Walk Practice, where it has been located over the summer.

The Safe Space will be open every Friday and Saturday from 10pm – 3am, to offer confidential and non-judgemental advice, immediate medical care, and help for minor injuries from trained professionals to anyone who needs it.

It is delivered by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) in partnership with NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Portsmouth City Council (PCC), and with support from the University of Portsmouth.

To ensure that people get the most appropriate care, we will also be signposting to other support services and schemes in the area such as PARCS, Stop Domestic Abuse, Positive Minds, Portsmouth Wellbeing Service, Citizens Advice Bureau, Ask for Angela, Ask for Clive and others.

If you have any questions about Safe Space, please contact Jo Atkinson at Portsmouth CCG on or 023 9289 9541.

New mental health crisis service launches in Portsmouth

The number of people living with mental health issues in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire is on the rise – but a health service launching this week aims to help tackle this problem.

The Harbour – a remote, out of hours mental health crisis service – is set to launch on Friday 17 September for people living in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Havant and East Hampshire.

The Harbour aims to reduce the number of people who use the emergency and hospital mental health services by preventing people reaching crisis point.

Figures from the ‘Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey: survey of mental health and wellbeing’ from NHS Digital show the predicted prevalence of mental health problems for adults aged 18-64 in Portsmouth, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The report predicts more than 26,000 people will have a common mental health disorder in 2025.

Steve Johns, The Harbour Service Manager, explains:

“These predictions were made prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact of Covid-19 and the resulting economic depression is expecting to cause a considerable increase in mental ill health over the next three to seven years.

In order to support those who are impacted by this, mental health services are being asked to treat more people and improve access to the right service at the right time. These figures show that it’s important now, more than ever, that we ensure we provide a service for people who feel they are at breaking point and need empathetic and positive support to get them through their self-defined crisis.

The Harbour aims to do this and enable local people to continue on and improve their mental wellbeing to ensure they can thrive, not just survive.”

The service, to be piloted for 12 months, will be run by Solent Mind and Havant and East Hants Mind, in partnership with Solent NHS Trust and Health and Care Portsmouth, and is based on the successful crisis service in Southampton, the Lighthouse, staffed in partnership between Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust nurses and Solent Mind peers.

It will be unable to support people who need medical attention; incoherent under the influence of drinking alcohol or using drugs; threatening/aggressive behaviour; and are under 18.

The Harbour will initially launch during the busiest times of the week – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, open 4.30pm- If people feel uncomfortable on the phone, they can also text, web chat or use video calls to access the service: 07418 364 911.

Dr Nick Moore, Clinical Executive at Health & Care Portsmouth, said:

“I’m really excited for this new service to open up in Portsmouth. It’s important that people have somewhere to go, out of hours, where they can talk to some with lived experience of Mental Health issues. We know the impact the Covid-19 Pandemic has had on peoples feeling of wellbeing and that many people are struggling with their mental health for the first time in their life, this service can support those people in times of need when most other services are closed for the night. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Pilot of the service progresses and what we can achieve and learn from over the next 11 months.”

Jo Perry, Operations Director, Mental Health Services, Solent NHS Trust, said:

“We are really proud to be a partner in piloting The Harbour which will ensure that there is real-time support for people experiencing mental health problems, particularly in the evenings when we know people can feel even more lonely, isolated and vulnerable. We would encourage everyone who is struggling with their mental health in Portsmouth and southeast Hampshire to reach out to The Harbour because the team, with their lived experience, is brilliantly positioned to understand what support’s needed for that individual.”

Dr Zaid Hirmiz, a Horndean GP and the Clinical Director (South East Hampshire) for NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG, said:

“I applaud the skills and knowledge of the partner organisations behind this hugely worthwhile project. People live with mental health problems every minute of the day, and it is well documented that this is now a vast problem for society. To have this crisis out-of-hours service on our doorsteps is hopefully going to help change many lives for the better.”

For more information, visit:

Thank you to all NHS staff and volunteers in Portsmouth

On Emergency Services Day (9 September 2021), we want to pay tribute to all of our fantastic emergency services in the city, but in particular we’d like to highlight the hard-working and passionate staff and volunteers we have throughout the NHS in Portsmouth.

Whether you’re a paramedic, call handler, ambulance driver, doctor, GP, nurse, healthcare support worker, midwife, pharmacist, carer, practice manager, community responder, care staff, administrator, or any other role in the NHS – from the bottom of our hearts at Health and Care Portsmouth, we want to say thank you.

Your expertise, skill and dedication have been essential in supporting our city through the most challenging of times, and – alongside other local emergency services in Portsmouth – you are the reason that we can begin our recovery from the pandemic.

We know there is still a long way to go, and know that resources within the NHS continue to be stretched – but we want you to know that your commitment and ongoing support for those living, working and studying in Portsmouth has not gone unnoticed. We are truly grateful for your work.

Thank you, on behalf of everyone involved with Health and Care Portsmouth.


Dr Elizabeth Fellows, Clinical Chair, Portsmouth NHS Clinical Commissioning Group
David Williams, Executive Lead, Health and Care Portsmouth
Jo York, Managing Director, Health and Care Portsmouth


Major milestone reached as 2m COVID-19 vaccines delivered across Hampshire and Isle of Wight

A major milestone has been reached in the local delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme with 2 million jabs delivered across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Latest official data published on Thursday 17 June shows that 2,068,810 doses of the vaccine had been delivered locally by the week ending 13 June.

To date more than 91% of adults aged 30 and over have received their first COVID-19 jab and the vaccination programme continues to roll-out at pace across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

This milestone has been reached just six months since the launch of the biggest vaccination programme in this history of the NHS.

Anyone aged 21 and over is invited to make an appointment to receive the vaccine by contacting via the National Booking Service at or by calling 119. Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to making a booking.

With bookings open to adults aged 18 or over, everyone eligible is urged to take up the offer of a vaccine as soon as they receive their invitation.

Jenny Erwin, Senior Responsible Officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 vaccination programme, said:

“We are proud of and incredibly grateful to everyone who has stepped up and continues to go above and beyond to support delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. We will never forget the dedication of every one of our colleagues, partners and volunteers who have helped us achieve this milestone in just six months – thank you.

“We don’t stop here. Working with our partners we continue to do all we can to reduce inequalities and ensure everyone eligible receives the vaccine. We remain on track to have offered every adult across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 19 July and I urge anyone eligible who hasn’t yet made an appointment to do so as soon as possible.”

Dr Nigel Watson, Clinical Lead for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 vaccination programme, said:

“This is an incredible achievement and testament to the dedication and commitment of all our colleagues and partners across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight whose outstanding efforts are helping to save lives.

Getting the vaccine helps protect you, your loved ones and our communities against COVID-19. The first dose offers good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need a second dose.

Two doses of the vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is now making up the vast majority of cases and I encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated without delay.

Please keep your appointment if you have been offered one or are booked into a clinic. If you are unable to attend an appointment please cancel the appointment so that someone else can benefit from it.

If you have previously declined a vaccination – the benefits outweigh any potential
risks – if you now would like to be vaccinated please contact your practice or book
an appointment via the national booking service.”

NHS service to help patients with Long COVID

Local NHS providers (Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Solent NHS Trust and Isle of Wight NHS Foundation Trust) have a number of clinics across Hampshire and Isle of Wight to help patients suffering from the effects of Long COVID.

The service is part of a £10m initiative by NHS England, which is funding 69 clinics across the country.

This vital service has been launched following emerging evidence that reveals a growing number of people who contract COVID-19 cannot shake off effects of the virus months after initially falling ill.

The symptoms of Long COVID are wide-ranging and fluctuating and can include pain, breathlessness, chronic fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and stress. However, many patients recover with support, rest, symptomatic treatment and with a gradual increase in physical activity.

Robin Harlow, Clinical Director for Primary Care Development, Southern Heath NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are delighted to be working with our NHS colleagues to deliver this service and support those who are experiencing the symptoms of Long COVID. While we have learned lots about Covid-19, we are still yet to learn more about its long-term effects that we know can be debilitating, even for young, fit people, or those who did not go to hospital.

“These new clinics not only give us an opportunity to support those in need but will also help us learn out more about Long COVID and find new ways to help people affected by it.”

The service is available by GP referral only and is available anyone who is still experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 for more than 12 weeks.

Patients referred into the Long COVID service will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and will then undergo a number of physical, cognitive and psychological assessments. Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) will then work alongside other health teams to develop a support plan that will help improve their health outcomes and quality of life.

Patients will also be signposted to existing Long COVID support services, and will have access to the ‘Living with COVID’ App, offering patients education, support and encouragement.

Dr Hayden Kirk, Clinical Director at Solent NHS Trust, said:

“We know it is vital that people with Long COVID get the support they need. Through our partnership working within the NHS, we will be able to draw on existing specialist services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in a co-ordinated manner to address every persons individual needs to ensure they can benefit from a wide range of specialist advice.”

Evidence shows that 10% of people experience prolonged illness after COVID-19. The new service will be part of a research network to help the NHS learn more about the effects of the pandemic on the population.

There are six Long COVID clinics now open across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Anyone experiencing the symptoms of Long COVID can visit for more information and if symptoms persist, should contact their GP or health care professional.

Young people encouraged not to let stigma stop them from accessing mental health support

Children and young people are reminded not to suffer in silence when it comes to their mental health.

Anxiety or stress is currently the top reason for young people in Portsmouth accessing counselling via the Kooth digital wellbeing service. Kooth provides a safe and anonymous space for those who might not feel confident in accessing traditional face to face services and is free for Portsmouth’s young people to access.

Darren*, aged 17, from Portsmouth, reached out to Kooth’s counselling team due to feeling lonely and experiencing low mood. He had bottled up his emotions, not talking to his parents or any other trusted adult due to the stigma that he felt exists around mental health.

Darren realised he needed a professional to talk to, but felt speaking face to face was too difficult. He took the step of logging onto, which provides easily accessible and anonymous access to support from skilled professionals. Darren began the process of opening up and is now having ongoing sessions with Kooth’s counselling team.

Young men like Darren might not reach out for support via traditional routes like their GP, however, online support can feel easier. He is now accessing the support he needs and the Kooth team have continued to help him reach his goals to improve his mental health and build confidence to talk to other trusted adults around him.

Commissioned by Health and Care Portsmouth in January this year, Kooth has helped young people to be supported more quickly. 11-18 year olds (up to age 25 for care leavers or those with an Education Health and Care Plan) can register themselves anonymously at, with no referrals or waiting lists.

The site is available 24/7, with counselling available 12pm – 10pm Monday to Friday and 6pm – 10pm at weekends, all year round. In addition to counselling, the site offers a range of self-help resources and wellbeing activities. Young people can join moderated forum discussions about a range of topics, and use a daily journal to track their feelings and reflect on how they’re doing.

All Portsmouth users surveyed on the site say they would recommend Kooth to a friend.

The commissioning of Kooth forms part of Portsmouth’s 2020-2023 Social, Emotional and Mental Health Strategy for children and young people, which includes a focus on ensuring early help is available to support emotional wellbeing and mental health needs, preventing difficulties from escalating and requiring specialist mental health services.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education, said:

“No-one should feel embarrassed or ashamed that they’re struggling with their mental health. It happens to lots of people, especially after going through some of the challenges that Covid has presented like not being able to see friends or family, having to study at home and not being able to take part in activities that you enjoy. Lots of successful public figures like sports stars, actors and musicians have started to talk about difficulties they’ve faced with their mental health and I hope that this will normalise it and encourage young people to open up when they’re struggling and be willing to ask for support when needed.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to further enhance our mental health support for young people with an online service as they told us that they liked accessing support this way, especially the ability to remain anonymous. It’s even better that we’ve been able to launch it during the pandemic when we know so many people are finding that their mental wellbeing has been impacted.”

Alison Jeffery, Director of Children’s Services at Portsmouth City Council, added:

“Digital solutions are an important part of our mental health strategy for young people and have become even more essential due to Covid-19, which led to a requirement for remote options as well as increased demand for services. We’re pleased that Kooth has enabled more young people to be supported, more quickly, especially during these challenging times.

“By providing young people with a highly accessible and anonymous way to access support safely from experienced counsellors we hope this is helping to mitigate any stigma that young people may feel about accessing support for their mental health.”

For more information about Kooth and other mental health support services for young people in the city, visit


*Darren is a pseudonym

Help shape the women’s health strategy

The Department of Health and Social Care are seeking your views to help inform the development of the government’s women’s health strategy.

The consultation aims to build a better understanding of women’s experiences of health, and the health and care system. This will help shape a new women’s health strategy to better meet women’s needs.

The Department of Health and Social Care is keen to hear from as many women as possible, from all ages and backgrounds, about what they think works well and what needs to change. You can find more about the consultation, as well as information on the Women’s Health Strategy here.

The public survey is open to everyone aged 16 and over and will take about 15 minutes to complete. It closes on 30 May 2021.

You can find the survey here:

Positive Minds is back open for face to face support from today

Positive Minds is a partnership between Portsmouth CCG, Solent NHS Trust and Solent Mind, the local mental health charity. The mental health support service is based in central Portsmouth and has been delivering fantastic online support over past last year.

The service offers a new way to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of Portsmouth residents, with a safe environment to provide support to individuals before they reach a crisis point.

The service looks and feels very different to traditional NHS services whilst providing a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. This gives people somewhere they feel able to turn to when they face periods of distress in their lives which might feel overwhelming.

It is also a place where people can meet others who have experienced similar struggles to them. So the reopening of face to face support will be incredibly impactful for many.

Claudia, Wellbeing Advisor at Positive Minds is ready to welcome people back in person.
She says:

“We recognise that coming out of lockdown will be really difficult for many people, so we are still available over the phone while we adjust. We are really looking forward to seeing people face to face, while following the government guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety. If you’re anxious about the changes in any way, please reach out to us.”

Due to the relaxation of restrictions, the service can now once again accept face to face appointments with mental health professionals and ‘peer supporters’ – people with personal experience of living through periods of mental and emotional difficulties.

To ensure the safety of users, Portsmouth residents will have to book an appointment in advance, but often one will be available on the same day. To book an appointment call 023 9282 4795 – or for more information, visit


Tips for adjusting to life as we come out of lockdown

Take your time – If you have something coming up, you don’t have to do it all at once. You can open the front door for a bit, step out into the garden or street, and when you’re feeling ready, take a walk around the block.

Be kind to yourself – If you don’t feel ready for social events, don’t feel pressured to attend right away.

Learn some techniques to manage anxiety – If you start to feel anxious, focus on taking deep breaths, counting out seconds as you do it. Do this for as long as you need to.

Talk about it – If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, don’t keep it to yourself. Speak to people you trust about how you are feeling or contact Positive Minds.

New COVID-19 vaccine research facility to open in Portsmouth

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU), in collaboration with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), has secured funding to open a new COVID-19 vaccine research facility in the city.

Located at the John Pounds Centre, the Portsmouth Research Hub will open later this month to help deliver additional COVID-19 vaccine trials, as prioritised by the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce.

As the NHS rollout of approved vaccines progresses, research trials into other COVID-19 vaccine candidates will continue to collect important information such as which vaccines work best for different groups of people and which vaccines offer the most protection against variants of concern.

The Portsmouth Research Hub will provide local residents with the opportunity to take part in COVID-19 vaccine research and help researchers answer these questions.

Professor Anoop Chauhan, Director of Research and Innovation at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said:

“We’re excited to be expanding our COVID-19 vaccine trial programme and opening a new research facility in Portsmouth.

“Thousands of local volunteers have already taken part in COVID-19 vaccine research and we’re pleased that the new Portsmouth Research Hub will create more opportunities for people to get involved.”

“We need people from every part of the UK population to consider taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research so that we can continue to find a range of safe and effective vaccines to help us tackle the global pandemic.

“We’re calling on the people of Portsmouth who are interested in taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research to visit the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry to find out more and sign up.”

The NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, which enables the UK public to support the national effort to speed up vaccine research, was launched in July last year. Since then, over 450,000 people have already signed up, giving their permission to be contacted about taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research.

The UK public can continue to support the national effort to speed up vaccine research and receive more information about volunteering for future vaccine studies by visiting