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Cheshire and Merseyside's perinatal mental health service visited by NHS England director

NHS England's National Mental Health Director paid a special visit to the Cheshire and Merseyside Specialist Perinatal Service last week, to hear how the service is making a difference to the lives of women and their families across the region. Claire Murdoch visited Hollins Park Hospital in Warrington on Friday 29 June to meet the team behind the service, which launched last year and is delivered by three local NHS trusts working in partnership; Cheshire and Wirral Partnership, Mersey Care and North West Boroughs Healthcare.

During pregnancy and in 1st the year after birth, women can be affected by a range of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and postnatal psychosis. These are known as perinatal mental illnesses. The Cheshire and Merseyside Specialist Perinatal Service provides support for women with complex or severe mental illnesses during the perinatal period.

Claire's visit came following the recent news that the service had been successful in its bid for additional funding from NHS England to build on existing support. The funding was awarded through a ₤365million national scheme aiming to ensure that women in every part of the country have access to perinatal mental health services by April 2019.

As well as a presentation from the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership outlining how the 3 trusts are working collaboratively to deliver perinatal services across the 2 counties through the partnership's mental health programme, Claire heard from the local teams about the support provided and their journey so far. She also heard powerful presentations from 2 local woman who has accessed vital support from the service, and had the chance to chat to other women who had accessed the service more informally at the end of the event.

Claire said:- "Mental ill health doesn't discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time and it disrupts life not just for mums but the whole family, which is why NHS England is absolutely committed to driving forward improvements in care and ensuring this important area of mental health continues to get the attention it deserves. Women with lived experience can play a pivotal role when it comes to shaping the services for others so it was great to hear 1st hand from women who have accessed the service and hear how it is providing vital support and making a difference to people's lives across Cheshire and Merseyside."

Service user Lee-ann, who shared her story at the event, said:- "When I fell pregnant for the second time at the age of 39 after a number of miscarriages and failed IVF treatment, my initial feelings of shock and elation were soon replaced by extreme anxiety. After breaking down in my GP's office one day, he referred me to the Specialist Perinatal Service. I was amazed by how quickly I was seen; my care package kicked in immediately and within 2 weeks I was attending weekly appointments with my psychologist Ruth, who has been absolutely amazing. The impact the service has had - not just on me but my whole family; is hard to put into words."

Helen Bellairs, Chairman at North West Boroughs Healthcare said:- "We were delighted to welcome Claire on Friday and showcase some of the fantastic work the Cheshire and Merseyside Specialist Perinatal Service is doing to support women experiencing mental health problems during the perinatal period and their families. The additional funding from NHS England will enable us to enhance this support and continue to provide a high quality, specialist perinatal mental health service for women across Cheshire and Merseyside."

Sheena Cumiskey, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership Chief Executive and Senior Reporting Officer of the Mental Health Programme for Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Social Care Partnership said:- "I was delighted to attend this fantastic event at Hollins Park Hospital and it was my pleasure to provide an overview of the mental health programme board's contribution to this service. It is very pleasing to see the service continue to go from strength to strength in its aim to provide excellent specialist perinatal mental health support for women in the Cheshire and Merseyside area."

Dr Mark Barsoum, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at Mersey Care said:- "The perinatal period is the most critical time for a woman's mental health. We are delighted that we now, following NHS England's investment, can offer a gold standard, evidence based service for all the women and families of Merseyside".

Get On (card) Board for Castle Creations!

6 extraordinary structures made of cardboard, tape and community spirit will be created in each borough this summer in what is a cultural first for Liverpool City Region.  Lost Castles will see hundreds of volunteers work with thousands of cardboard boxes to build monumental castle inspired structures, some of which will be based on actual medieval forts or historic structures which were in the region at 1 time.

Members of the public; individuals and community groups; are being urged to get involved in the event which is set to take place, from Thursday, 9 August to Sunday, 12 August 2018.  Anyone who signs up can help create these magical structures and then join in the fun of toppling them at the end of the weekend.

Some of the creations are expected to be as tall as 20 metres and will be located in:-

Williamson Square (Liverpool)

Knowsley Safari Park

Norton Priory Museum (Halton)

Ashton Park, West Kirby (Wirral)

North Park, Bootle (Sefton)

Victoria Square, near the Town Hall (St Helens)

The concept is the brainchild of French artist Olivier Grossetȇte and is the first creative project to take place across the entire City Region. Olivier and members of his team will work with people across Merseyside at a number of free workshops which will take place in July and August 2018; these are drop in sessions and people can get involved as much or as little as they like. Find out more by visiting:- LostCastles.Co.UK

The project has been made possible thanks to support from Arts Council England and is supported by the City Region Combined Authority, and the Global Streets Strategic Touring Programme which aims to bring the very best international outdoor art to Towns and Cities.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "Culture should be for everyone, and that's why I'm delighted that Arts Council England has awarded this grant for an exciting cultural project that will take place in all of the boroughs of the Liverpool City Region. I introduced 1% for Culture to kick start delivery of the new Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Strategy, to help unlock other funding and change the way we work together. Exciting engagement projects and events such as Lost Castles, which is all about telling stories at a local level, can only come about through partnerships. All of our local Councils have all worked fantastically well on this and it's great that Arts Council England has helped us to bring Lost Castles to life.  We look forward to a strong working relationship with Arts Council England and together we can increase access to excellent arts and culture for all over the coming years."

Jane Beardsworth, Director North, Arts Council England said:- "The Lost Castles project is a great idea and a way of getting the communities of all six Liverpool City Region boroughs involved in marking the ten year anniversary of Liverpool08. I'm pleased that we have supported this endeavour through our National Lottery Project Grants and look forward to seeing how the castles materialise."

All the cardboard will be responsibly recycled after the event.

Full build schedule and event details will be announced at a later date. Visit:- LostCastles.Co.UK for the latest information.

Liverpool's Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon said:- "When we announced highlights of our 2018 programme in January, Lost Castles was one of the projects that caused a stir and really piqued people's interest. We have been keen to work with Olivier and his team for some time; not only do they produce great art, but they place the local community at its heart and ensure people are really invested in what is created which aligns with our vision. It's wonderful that this event will touch all corners of the City Region; it's a real partnership approach with the aim of involving as many people as possible who can tap into their creativity, unleash their inner child and work together to create amazing art and unforgettable memories."

Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, Councillor Trish Hardy commented:-"We are delighted to be part of the Lost Castles project across Merseyside and to see Miller's Castle recreated will be an incredible sight. Not many people are aware that Bootle had its very own castle of course.  In 1824 an enterprising businessman called William Miller was able to build a huge castle on the shoreline, aptly named Miller's Castle. The castle was demolished in the 1860s to make room for the ever expanding Bootle docks and a nearby road, Miller's Bridge, was named in his honour. how Miller's Castle is set to awe and impress residents and visitors once more when it is recreated in cardboard form at North Park. It will be a magical venue for a series of community events and performances. Once it's all over, Miller's Castle will be responsibly recycled, making it artwork that's also environmentally friendly."

Wirral Council leader, Phil Davies added:- "Lost Castles is a fantastic example of how the 6 boroughs of Liverpool City Region are working together to enrich our communities. We're proud to be part of this ambitious project which, as well as being a great cultural experience, will bring people together as they join forces to build these incredible creations. Wirral's 'lost castle' is about celebrating the borough's unique Viking history and Norse connections; the area is thought to have been almost a Viking state in its own right with its own borders, customs, trading point and language. We want residents and visitors to be able to explore how these shipbuilding ancestors might have lived, worked and worshipped by creating an impressive Viking Stave Church, in Ashton Park, at the heart of West Kirby, Norse for 'The West Village of the Church.' During the weekend, it will be a spectacular backdrop for family activities, led by real life Vikings!"

Leader of Knowsley Council, Councillor Graham Morgan also said:- "For almost 400 years the small Town of Prescot in Knowsley held a secret. It was the only place in England, outside of London, to have a freestanding purpose built Elizabethan theatre! Across the way, at Knowsley Hall, Lord Strange (Ferdinando Stanley, later fifth Earl of Derby) was patron to an acting company called Lord Strange's Men. Strange's Men was the precursor to the Lord Chamberlain's Men, Shakespeare's company at The Globe and is known to have performed at Knowsley Hall. Knowsley's Lost Castle will celebrate this fascinating history by creating Elsinore, the castle from Shakespeare's Hamlet. We are delighted to be part of this exciting Liverpool City Region project that captures imaginations and shines the light on the wonderful history and heritage from across the region. It's a great opportunity for people to get actively involved in something creative that will stay in people's memories for years to come. Given Knowsley's fascinating links with Shakespeare and the new Shakespeare North Playhouse coming to Prescot, this exciting project will be a further celebration of how the work of the Bard continues to inspire and influence people today."

Halton Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Heritage and Visitor Economy, Councillor Eddie Jones said:- "We are pleased to be involved in this successful bid and to now be partnering with our neighbours in the delivery of this imaginative community heritage project. Lost Castles promises to deliver some visually stunning public art, but crucially, will engage many volunteers from our local area in a project that will echo an important piece of Halton's heritage. It is difficult to imagine the original size and significance of Halton Castle but the scale of Lost Castles will certainly emulate its medieval power for a few days this summer. This may also prompt visitors from across the region to experience more of Halton's heritage and perhaps take in some of the events which re-enact periods of its long and sometimes turbulent history. Enjoy!"

St Helens Council's Cabinet Member for Better Health and Building Arts and Culture, Councillor Gill Neal:- "This year we're celebrating 150 years since the formation of St Helens, with an exciting programme of cultural events happening across the borough, and we're thrilled to be supporting the Lost Castles project locally. We've made a thriving arts and culture scene a real priority going forward, and as the Liverpool City Region's seminal Borough of Culture, we're building; this time literally; upon our already great foundations. This type of cultural event is one that communities will be talking about for years to come. Heritage is a big part of what we're doing for St Helens 150, and a key element of this is our historic partnership with the German Town of Stuttgart. The twinning St Helens and Stuttgart was the first such arrangement in Europe following World War II. Among other events, including our International Food and Drink Festival, that runs over 6 July to 7 July 2018, we will pay homage to this partnership by building in cardboard part of Stuttgart's iconic, 10th Century Old Castle, on Victoria Square."

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