Unsung heroes

Award for: For teams or individuals, to recognise their incredible work tirelessly supporting others behind the scenes.

River House Estates Team River House Estates Team, Behavioural and Developmental Psychiatry CAG (winner)

Colleagues said: “Paul Coomber and his team epitomise the notion of unsung heroes, working tirelessly behind the scenes to deliver a safe and welcoming environment."

“This team of estates professionals have single handily adapted their skills, approaches and indeed their roles to ensure that they engage with patients, staff and carers in a collaborative and delivery focused manner. I have never met an estates team with so much passion for those that they serve. Their ability to respond to the needs of patients and the staff to deliver a safe environment is second to none.”

Judges said: “We were struck by how much connection these four men have. They worked together building trust in each other alongside becoming integral members of the community in River House. On our visit each patient who approached called Paul by his name. It was very plain to see that on the wards patients respect the estates team and also thanked them for recent jobs they had completed.”


Sue Howell Administrator, King’s College Hospital Liaison Psychiatry, Psychological Medicine and Integrated Care CAG

Sue has worked in the department for 19 years and is described as the person who quietly and kindly makes sure the department functions.

Colleagues said: “Sue knows all the regular patients. They regularly comment on how kind, thoughtful and helpful she is. She will go the extra mile for them, taking the anxious patient down to
find pharmacy or making them feel at ease whilst they nervously wait for an appointment. She never says, ‘sorry it’s not part of my job.’ 

One of the psychiatrists who nominated Sue recounted how, when writing a reference for junior doctors, she will go to Sue to ask for her impressions and whether they treated her with respect.

Sue said: “I was very shocked to be put forward for this award because I don’t see myself as an unsung hero. I am just a person doing my job, that I have done for more than 19 years and I thoroughly enjoy it. King’s Psychological Medicine Department is like one big family.”


Isobel Mdudu Volunteer Services Manager, Volunteer Service


Isobel’s nominator described her as: “A true unsung hero in that she works tirelessly with no fuss whatsoever to support people, whoever they are, to become volunteers in the trust. She has a quiet, “softly softly” approach and is kind and so supportive.

“Isobel treats everybody equally and has managed to secure 100's of volunteering placements in the trust for people, with over 40% of those volunteering having lived experience of mental ill health."

“On hearing about her work not only would you be amazed at how many volunteers contribute in the trust but where they contribute: from supporting ward activities through to shop and museum guide volunteers, from administration roles through to community befriending volunteering.”

Isobel said: “I’m inspired by seeing how volunteers get so involved. We have such brilliant people. It’s a huge range of people from 18-85, all coming with different skills and experiences and sharing that with us here at South London and Maudsley.”

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