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Surprise award for NHS staff wellbeing service founder


An NHS staff member who has provided ‘endless care’ to colleagues through a pioneering wellbeing support service has been presented with a surprise award.

Isabelle Hudgell, Training and Development Lead for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities (MHLD) Division has become the latest winner of the Seren Betsi Star award, which recognises the hard work and dedication of NHS staff across North Wales.

Isabelle has been recognised for developing ‘Wellness Work and Us’ – a wellbeing service which provides a range of support for individual staff and teams in the MHLD Division.

This includes access to qualified counsellors and coaches, who offer confidential sessions via telephone, video technology, and face to face in work venues, including the dedicated Staff Wellness Resource Centre at Bryn y Neuadd Hospital in Llanfairfechan, which Isabelle played a lead role in establishing.

The centre offers a dedicated space for hard working staff to relax, take some time for themselves and receive support for their mental health and wellbeing.

Carys Jones, Interim Community Service Manager for Learning Disability Services is one of hundreds of staff who have benefitted from the Wellness Work and Us service. She nominated Isabelle for the award, praising her for going ‘above and beyond’ to support her during a recent absence from work.

“Having experienced a difficult personal event at work which resulted in being absent from work for 14 weeks, Isabelle went above and beyond with endless support around the clock during my period of sickness,” she explained.

“She was always reassuring and showed endless care. During my most difficult times I was reassured and made to feel safe knowing that Isabelle was there on the other end of a phone at any time of the day when I needed to talk.

“I will be forever grateful to Isabelle and I firmly believe that without her care and support, my journey would have ended very differently. I am proud to have returned back to work. My quality of life has improved and his would not have been possible without Isabelle.”

Presenting Isabelle with the award, Carole Evanson – Interim Director of Operations for BCUHB’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Division, said:

“There is no one more deserving of this award, as Isabelle really does care passionately about staff wellbeing support and she constantly goes over and above her role to ensure this is delivered to everyone who needs it.

“This award is all the more important as the nomination has been made from someone who has benefitted from this support.”

Speaking shortly after being presented with the award at the Staff Wellness Resource Centre, Isabelle said:

“Everything we’ve achieved here is because we’ve worked together on it – including our fantastic Wellness, Work & Us Team, the many staff who have used the WW&U Service and managers who facilitate staff to access support.  Not forgetting our Bryn-Neuadd estates team who are always ready to fix, paint, connect and create the spaces in the Wellness Centre for us.  We can’t underestimate the impact of interactions our staff have with service users, and with each other, so investing in staff wellbeing and committing to supporting them is key”.