YPAG and Think4Brum leads shortlisted for coveted Unsung Hero award | Latest News

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YPAG and Think4Brum leads shortlisted for coveted Unsung Hero award

Bob Maxfield, Participation & Engagement Lead and Ian Wood, Interim Engagement and Volunteering Manager for our Trust, have been shortlisted as finalists for the coveted Unsung Hero Awards for their outstanding commitment to supporting young people and transforming services.

Bob and Ian lead our award-winning youth volunteer groups, YPAG, (Young Person’s Advisory Group) and Think4Brum.The groups are made up of young people, including siblings and ex patients in our Children’s Hospital and Mental Health Services, who are passionate about shaping healthcare services and making them as young person-friendly as possible.  

Bob said: “It is such an honour to be nominated for this award. 

“I feel that the incredible families and young people that I work and help improve our services are the real Unsung Heros, so I consider this shortlisting as a recognition of them.

With the support of Bob and Ian, YPAG and Think4Brum have led on several impactful projects for our hospitals. This includes improving bed signage in our Children’s Hospital and creating a pioneering wellbeing passport for Mental Health patients, which was highlighted by NHS England as an example of best practice.

The groups have also delivered young person-led suicide prevention training to staff and hosted events with interview panels with siblings and ex-patients, championing youth voice.

Bob said: “The fact that I was nominated for this award by one of the young people I have had the privilege to work with means the world to me. It is incredibly rewarding to feel I have had any positive impact on their journey.”

Bob recently took home the ‘Most Inspiring Colleague’ award at the BWC Spirit Awards in 2023, the Trust’s prestigious annual award ceremony.

In a moving video played on the night, Sophia Badhan, Think4Brum member, said: “He (Bob) is dedicated and passionate about young people. He single-handedly leads the Think4Brum Youth Board. He always advocates for us and is so supportive – he’s just the best”.

Bob added: “Forward Thinking Birmingham have provided me with opportunity to work with our young people and families and many of the staff I have worked with are passionate about the care we provide.

“The young people and staff inspire me to work with them and families with integrity and authenticity, it is such an honour to be nominated for this award.”

Ian, who runs YPAG, was also nominated by the young people in the group. Bob and Ian offer hands on support to the young people involved in the volunteer groups.

Ian said:  “This means the world especially as it was the group who took time out of their busy lives to make the nomination. I can't thank them enough.

“Initially I was shocked as this was a national award, but then very humbled as I just coordinated what the group wanted to do and I do my best to make them happy, so this is more of a joint nomination.

Ian added: “The last two years have been a whirlwind and has seen youth engagement come to the forefront across the Trust. I'd like to see patient engagement increase further so the whole Trust reflects the needs of our patients and families”.

Bob added: “Ian has taken the YPAG group to new levels, his drive and commitment to ensuring the voice of the young people are heard has enabled YPAG to have real impact.

“I am so delighted that Ian is being recognised for his hard work, commitment and passion for our young people and the real and lasting impact on our service.  He goes about this job with a quiet determination ensuring the spotlight remains on the young people”.

Congratulations to Bob and Ian for this fantastic achievement.

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