Accreditation affirms SARC's commitment to improving quality of support for male victims of sexual v…

Crisis workers Ava Carpenter and Dave Howe, and former service user and member of the SARC Steering Group, Matt BurnettThe team at Hope House Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is...

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Lord-Lieutenant opens county's new Stroke Rehabilitation Unit

The Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire received a warm welcome yesterday (Tuesday 18 June 2019) when he arrived at Vale Community Hospital in Dursley to perform the official opening of its brand-new...

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DSC 0712Crisis workers Ava Carpenter and Dave Howe, and former service user and member of the SARC Steering Group, Matt Burnett

The team at Hope House Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is celebrating the news that it has received Lime Culture Accreditation – a quality standard awarded to services which support male victims and survivors of sexual violence.

Based at Hope House, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, the SARC provides male and female victims of rape or sexual assault, their friends and families, access to emotional, psychological, medical and practical help.

Explaining the significance of a Lime Culture Accreditation, SARC Manager Emma Twydell says: “The award of this quality mark demonstrates the team's commitment to improving the quality of support for male victims and survivors of rape and sexual assault. It recognises that we fully understand and appreciate that men can be victims of sexual violence too, and that we are here to support them just as much as female victims and children.

“We provide a personal, bespoke service for male clients. Our team receives ongoing, specialist training geared specifically toward helping and supporting male victims of rape and sexual assault - most recently, the Lime Culture Training Programme, which led to us earning this accreditation.”

The SARC started its own male steering group late last year. “We thought that the most effective way of finding out what male victims and survivors want is to talk to them,” explains Crisis Worker Ava Carpenter. “The panel members use their experiences and share their thoughts to help drive the service forward.”

Former service user Matt Burnett was instrumental in the steering group’s formation. “I first contacted the SARC when I made the decision to disclose something that happened to me years ago when I was still living in Scotland,” he says.

“With it being an historic rape case, I didn't require the SARC's forensic medical service. But the emotional support I received was fantastic; they were so supportive. That’s what motivated me to become involved with the steering group.

“Soon after its formation we realised that we didn't want to hear the voices of male survivors only; we wanted to hear those of all survivors. So the steering group now comprises both male and female members.”

“And it's not only survivors who form the panel,” adds Ava. “We have people from the NHS, Victim Support, the Police – lots of different agencies - all coming together to share their experiences and talk about what they find really useful.”

“The steering group helped us put together our male wash bags and aftercare packs. We asked male survivors, 'If you came to the SARC and wanted a shower, what would you like in your wash bag?' Just little details like that are really important to the people who use our service.

“The steering group is also working with the SARC Team to help raise awareness and let people know of the centre's existence.”

“Until I accessed the service three years ago, I didn't know the SARC existed,” says Matt.

“Increasingly we’re seeing its colourful logo and posters in the street and on social media. Its presence is definitely becoming more visible; which means more victims of rape and sexual assault are being made aware of the SARC and the services it provides.”

Ava concurs: “We are definitely seeing a rise in self-referrals. Recent appearances on BBC Radio Gloucestershire and a growing social media presence have helped. We are planning engagement events across the county and work closely with the University of Gloucestershire, so more people are coming through to us than beforehand – particularly male clients.

“This year the number of men seeking our service has risen - not just for medical examinations. Many are historic cases where they call us because they have Googled us or seen us on social media, and we're the first number that they want to call.”
Male Crisis Worker Dave Howe joined the SARC in February last year. “The key thing is about giving people choice,” he says. “Following my appointment we can ask people if they would prefer to have a male or a female crisis worker.

“My role is to provide that immediacy, that support, when a person first arrives at the SARC. It's a case of being with them, sitting down and explaining the process to them and making sure their well-being is catered for.
“Bearing in mind everything that has happened to them, they are in trauma. It's about giving them a bit of control and making sure they do exactly what it is that they want to do; that they're not being pushed into anything.

“My job is to make sure that they're comfortable; that they understand everything. We just need to let them know that they can come to us with any queries they may have and that we are here to support them.”
Those seeking the SARC Crisis Team’s help and advice can do so by using the dedicated helpline which is available at all times out of hours for advice or self-referral, or they can get in touch via email.

To find out more about Hope House SARC, visit the website at

How to get in touch
  • Call the Hope House SARC Crisis Team 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year on 0300 421 8400

nhs strokeunit dursley 0064
The Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire received a warm welcome yesterday (Tuesday 18 June 2019) when he arrived at Vale Community Hospital in Dursley to perform the official opening of its brand-new specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Unit.

The inpatient facility, located within Peak View Ward, first opened its doors in February this year. With 14 specialist stroke beds and six general community beds, the unit offers care and support to stroke patients no longer in need of specialist medical care in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), but who still require stroke rehabilitation that cannot be delivered at home.

It is staffed by a multidisciplinary team including nurses, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, doctors, a psychologist, rehabilitation assistants and hotel services.

When performing the unveiling of the commemorative plaque, Lord-Lieutenant Edward Gillespie, said: “I am enormously impressed by the vision of the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit, and how this special facility bridges the gap in post-stroke care in Gloucestershire; enabling people who have suffered a stroke to have the best possible recovery, receiving rehabilitation in a specialist unit.

“My congratulations go to everyone who has brought this valuable project to a successful reality. This is an outstanding example of collaboration between Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, community organisations and patient representatives.”

Plans for the Specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Unit came about following the findings of an NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group review which examined the stroke rehabilitation pathways in Gloucestershire. The report concluded that although there were lots of elements of really good service provision within the county, there wasn’t a seamless pathway for stroke rehabilitation.

Angela Dodd, the Therapy Lead for the new unit, said: “This specialist facility is a centralised, co-ordinated unit where we can focus our resources.

“By providing a community bed-based service here at Vale Community Hospital, we aim to continue the rehabilitation journey for patients following a stroke in a suitable, fit-for-purpose environment.”

If it is safe and effective to do so, a person no longer requiring inpatient specialist rehabilitation will receive ongoing support in their own home from community stroke specialist nurses, or the Early Supported Discharge (ESD) community team. This comprises community stroke specialist nurses, specialist therapists and rehabilitation assistants.

Ingrid Barker, Chair of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, which manages Vale Community Hospital, said: “The opening of the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit here at Vale Community Hospital means Gloucestershire now has its own dedicated community stroke rehabilitation service for the first time. This will be an invaluable and welcome resource for the people of Gloucestershire.”

  • For a picture round-up of the official opening, visit our Facebook page here.

Gloucestershire Care Services and 2gether NHS Foundation Trust will be holding a joint Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday 23 July.

The combined event, which is open to all, takes place from 4pm to 7pm at the Friendship Café, Chequers Bridge Centre, Painswick Road, Gloucester, GL4 6PR.

“This is the second joint AGM we have held as Trusts,” Ingrid Barker, Joint Trust Chair, explained.  

“We are working towards merging our Trusts from October, in order to transform physical health, learning disability and mental healthcare services for our communities.

“By holding our AGMs in tandem, we can provide an overview of the performance and achievements of each individual Trust, but also highlight our merger programme and the exciting future we have ahead of us as Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.”

Everyone is welcome to attend, including Trust colleagues, service users, carers, partner organisations, and anyone with an interest in learning more about or influencing health services in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

The meeting will feature presentations as well as an opportunity to visit information stands and ask questions. Copies of the annual reports and accounts for 2018/19 for both Trusts will also be available.

For further information or to confirm attendance, please email or phone Lisa Evans on 0300 421 7113.

Colleagues at Cirencester Hospital are celebrating the news that one of their team has been nominated for a Pride of the Cotswolds award.

Rhondda May, who has been a healthcare assistant for 33 years, is up for the Health Carer Award.

She has been nominated for being ‘a truly exceptional, caring lady, full of empathy and love’.

This is not the first time Rhondda has been recognised for her work - last year she was shortlisted for an NHS70 Award.

Reacting to the news Rhondda, who works on the Coln Ward, said: “To get another nomination is quite touching. It just makes you feel that you are doing a good job.”

The Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard's Pride of the Cotswolds Awards, held in conjunction with Ecotricity, are returning for a second year, to recognise the outstanding achievement of men, women, children and organisations across the Cotswolds.

You can read more about Rhondda’s nomination by viewing/downloading the Wilts and Glos Standard article here.

Hannah Millar
Hi all. My name is Hannah, and I work in the Programme and Change Management Team. In light of Deaf Awareness Week (6-12 May 2019), I have been asked to share my own experiences as a deaf individual. 

I was born with a ‘severe-to-profound’ hearing impairment, with around 90 per cent hearing loss. To communicate I rely on lip reading and a hearing aid. I consider myself very lucky, as I have always had a great support system - from peripatetic teachers to great friends and, most of all, my brilliant parents/family. But, being ‘deaf in a hearing world’ does have its challenges and, despite the availability of different equipment and support, I’ve always found the thing that makes the biggest difference is whether or not somebody is 'deaf aware'.

Deafness is an invisible disability, and this is a challenge in itself. Just because a deaf individual ‘talks OK' or ‘seems like they know what’s happening’, doesn’t mean they do. In my own experience, lip reading is very energy consuming, especially in group and work environments. This means a lot of information can be lost on me. Workwise this doesn’t just apply to meetings, but also socially - things like ‘office banter’ or small talk.

Having had conversations with other deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, I know this is a common occurrence. Quite often people have been labelled as ‘rude’, ‘disengaged’ or ‘incompetent’, simply because they have been quiet and not contributed to a discussion, or have said something wrong/totally unrelated. In reality, it’s usually because they haven’t heard what’s going on and may feel too embarrassed to say anything - or feel it’s ‘easier’ not to. Someone being 'deaf aware' and having the necessary knowledge and understanding makes a real difference - particularly in terms of making a deaf or hard-of-hearing individual feel more comfortable and confident!

I think this week is also a perfect opportunity to start the conversation about how we can help deaf people in terms of their healthcare. Did you know that the deaf community has a lower life expectancy, due to inaccessibility of healthcare services? Why in a world where technology is such a big part of our lives and advancements are made every day, are so many services still without the appropriate equipment and support to aid the deaf community?

Did you know, for instance, that due to a lack of appropriate communication methods in place, many deaf people often have to travel in person to their GP surgery, simply to make an appointment in person? Once there, they also have the added challenge of communicating their concerns and requirements to the people who work there.

Have you considered that English may not be a deaf/BSL user’s first language? That reading and writing is more difficult for them, and that they may not understand online information or that which is sent to them? Why are professional BSL interpreters not used enough? Are you aware that there is a big difference between having a friend/family member interpreting and having a professional interpreter in place? Deaf individuals too often miss out on crucial information about their health because the support isn’t in place and, shockingly, handwritten notes are still being used too often. Don’t members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community deserve to receive information fully and in the same compassionate way as others? We can make a difference!

To conclude, I can’t speak for every deaf or hard-of-hearing person, and that’s really important to remember, because deafness is so varied. Please just take the time to find out what works for that particular person. There’s also a lot of information out there, so try and utilise Gloucestershire Deaf Association’s presence at EJC this week.

Additionally, I’m always happy to talk, so if you have any questions or would just like to chat, please do come and see me. And remember to take care of your own ears!

Baby HubWith the help of local mums, dads and their children, Gloucestershire Care Services has produced a short film explaining What the Health Visiting Service Does.

Featuring our very own Health Visiting Team, Community Nursery Nurses and Public Health Nurses, the film talks about the services available to families in Gloucestershire; from pregnancy and preparing for parenthood, through to breastfeeding, sleep, child development, parenting, illness, immunisation and family mental health.

It also offers an insight into the professional knowledge and expertise available to families seeking help and advice with positive touch, infant feeding, sleep, food, diet and exercise and dental health.

A big thank you to the mums, dads and children who kindly allowed us to film them at one of our New Baby New Life Hubs.

To view the film visit the About the Health Visiting Service page on the website here.

GCC 2525 Good Mum Bad Mum

Listen to The Healthy Family Series online

The Early Years
is the third podcast in the seven-part Healthy Family Series - a collaboration between CheltenhamMaman and One Gloucestershire.

These monthly podcasts feature local healthcare professionals, including midwives, health visitors and nursery nurses, talking about parenthood and offering advice to parents on how to be healthy themselves, as well as raise healthy children.

Over the next few months these special episodes will take parents through key stages in parenthood, starting with the very first part of every parenting journey – pregnancy.

  • Episode 1: Let's Talk Pregnancy
    To listen to Let's Talk Pregnancy - the first podcast in the Healthy Family Series - click here.

  • Episode 2: The Fourth Trimester
    To listen to The Fourth Trimester - the second podcast in the Healthy Family Series - click here.

  • Episode 3: The Early Years
    To listen to The Early Years - the third podcast in the Healthy Family Series - click here.

To receive notifications as each monthly episode goes online, subscribe via the CheltenhamMaman website.


The Insider magazine provides an insight into life on the wards of our community hospitals, as well as a glimpse of the day-to-day goings on with our community teams.