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Teenager named Unpaid Carer of the Year in Lammy Awards

Corinthia St Peters1.jpg 

Teenager Corinthia St Peters has been named Unpaid Carer of the Year in the first NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group's Lammy Awards.

Judges heard how Corinthia, 18, has been looking after her mother, father, grandfather and uncle since she was eight.

Helen Charlesworth-May, Strategic Director of Commissioning Strategy at Lambeth Council, presented the award at the Imperial War Museum on Wednesday (16 September). She said: "Corinthia is an exceptional young woman who, despite truly tragic circumstances, has made the best of every opportunity and has done extremely well."

The Lammy Awards were organised by NHS Lambeth CCG to recognise the contributions of individuals and teams supporting excellent health and care services in the borough.

When Corinthia was eight her mother was diagnosed with cancer, her father had to have a kidney removed, her grandmother suffered a stroke and now suffers from dementia and her uncle was blind. 

Helen said: "Corinthia had to grow up fast and become a carer to all of them, moving between living with her mum, gran and uncle in Balham and her dad in Streatham, depending on who needed her the most.

"This meant she pretty much dropped out of primary school to nurse them through a variety of treatments.  This involved washing, dressing and feeding them as well as being the eyes of her uncle. It would have been a huge burden for anyone, let alone someone so young."

At one point Corinthia ended up virtually living in King's College Hospital while both her mother and father were being treated there on separate wards. Her mother died in 2010 aged 39 but Corinthia continues to look after her father and grandmother.

An audience of nearly 200 heard that, at the age of 12, Corinthia was awarded the Jack Petchey Prize by Young Carers Lambeth. But instead of spending the £350 prize money on herself, she gave it back so all of the borough's young carers could go on a trip to the theatre and have ice cream.

Corinthia, from Balham, is now on an 18-month clinical engineering apprenticeship at King's College Hospital learning how to operate hospital equipment.

She said: "There was a time when I never wanted to set foot in a hospital again but I have fallen in love with medicine again. I was curious about how all the clinical equipment works. People don't realise how many other jobs there are in hospitals. Not everyone has to be a doctor or a nurse."

She added: "I am very grateful to get the award. It is good the work of unpaid carers is recognised. Many families are struggling in similar situations. As an only child it was just something I had to do. But sometimes we all need a break from time to time. People forget that caring doesn't stop just because you turn 18."

She took home a specially engraved trophy and a framed certificate.

The Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Donatus Anyanwu, said: "I was very humbled to hear of the incredible and often moving stories of all the individuals and teams brightening our lives in the borough, especially that of Corinthia who gave up her life to look after her family. We should be proud of our heroes. As far as I am concerned, all the nominees are winners, too."

He added: "I am very grateful to the CCG for the wonderful work it is doing to create a vision for our health services. We are lucky to have this team working with partners to make our lives better."

He presented a special surprise Going The Extra Mile award to Karen Hooper, a patient champion from Loughborough Junction. The former journalist was praised for her community efforts, especially for her volunteering work on the Loughborough Farm project, the Lambeth Living Well Collaborative and the Evening Sanctuary in Brixton.

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A Lammy Lifetime Achievement award went to veteran politician and health campaigner Michael English, 84. He was presented with his award by Cllr Jacqui Dyer, vice-chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Lambeth Council and Labour councillor for Vassal Ward, and Andrew Eyres, the CCG's Chief Officer.

Cllr Dyer said: "Michael is a true patient champion. He was Labour MP for Nottingham West from 1964 until the seat was abolished in 1983 and he became a Lambeth councillor.

"He has lived through the establishment of the NHS, was a member of the Lambeth Community Health Council and helped found and later chair the Lambeth Local Involvement Network (now replaced by Healthwatch Lambeth). He continues to attend all of the CCG's governing body meetings and actively participates in discussions. He won't allow us to shirk from our responsibilities."

Mr English said: "We should be grateful that the NHS has helped give us all a little longer to live. We should spread the word that we have a very good health service. We should remember the millions of people around the world who have yet to benefit from the care we have been receiving since 1948."

There were nine Lammy Awards which attracted 84 nominations.

The ceremony was hosted by Dr Adrian McLachlan, who chairs the CCG, and Andrew Eyres, the CCG's Chief Officer. It was the first awards ceremony of its kind organised by the CCG, which was formed in April 2013 to plan and pay for the bulk of the borough's healthcare. It controls a budget of £429 million.

The awards followed the CCG's annual general meeting.

Dr McLachlan said: "It is no secret these are tough times for the NHS. But despite the challenges, there are teams and individuals who every day go beyond the call of duty and go that extra mile to make someone's life a little easier or a little more comfortable. We felt it was vital to recognise those people. Even so, we were bowled over by the huge number and variety of nominations in all categories. We would like to thank all the unsung heroes of Lambeth for all they do."


Full list of winners and runners-up:

Unpaid Carer of the Year presented by Helen Charlesworth-May, Strategic Director of Commissioning Strategy at Lambeth Council and local authority representative on the CCG's governing body and GP Dr John Balaz, also on the CCG's governing body.


Corinthia St Peters: She has cared for a number of significant adults in her family since she was eight, including her mother, father, grandmother and her uncle.

Highly commended:

Loraine Small: She has travelled from Waltham Forest to Lambeth every day for the past two years to care for her aunt, take her to every hospital and GP appointment, including chemotherapy treatments, and look after her personal care, shopping, cooking and housework;

Sylvie Kone le gal: She has cared for her husband for 15 years and her daughter for 18 years. She is also a co-ordinator for a community garden in Stockwell which helps people with learning difficulties;

Roxanne Daniels: Despite having her own health problems, she has spent the past 25 years caring for her sick sister, dealing with her personal care, taking her for walks and going shopping with her. Roxanne also provides support for other carers.

Handsen Chikowore: He cares for his brother who has mental health problems.


Going The Extra Mile Award presented by Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Donatus Anyanwu and Dr Adrian McLachlan, chair of NHS Lambeth CCG.


Karen Hooper: Former journalist Karen Hooper was born in Merseyside but moved to London in 1980 to take up a job on the former Titbits magazine. Loughborough Junction has been her home for the past 20 years.

She said: "After spending many years writing about what other people were doing for their communities, I decided it was time to start putting something back into my own community."

She was aware of work going on to help those with mental health problems through experience with a relative of her own and plunged herself into a series of voluntary roles.

She became a prominent member of Vital Link, a service-user and carer body created under the former Lambeth Primary Care Trust to collect feedback from those using mental health services, and went on to become a founding volunteer of the Loughborough Farm project in 2013. The Wish You Were Here project on the farm encourages GP surgeries and groups for vulnerable people to get involved. Volunteers grow and take home fresh vegetables and have been selling them at local surgeries as well as testing a community café and shop at The Platform (Meanwhile Space).

Karen said: "Putting your hands in soil for a few hours can take your mind off your own troubles and works wonders. It's not rocket science."

She is also heavily involved in Herne Hill Medical Practice's Patient Participation Group, which feeds patient experience to the CCG, and helps at the Evening Sanctuary in Brixton which is open on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

She said: "It's been an interesting journey. Ex-Beatle John Lennon once said life is something which happens when you are busy making other plans, and that seems to have applied to me." She added: "I was gobsmacked when I heard my name called out at the awards ceremony."

She keeps up her interest in journalism by writing stories about peoples' recovery journeys for the website of the Lambeth Living Well Collaborative, of which she is a member, and she also works at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.


Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Cllr Jacqui Dyer, vice-chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Lambeth Council and Labour councillor for Vassal Ward, and Andrew Eyres, the CCG's Chief Officer.


Former Labour MP Michael English, patient champion for Lambeth and founding member of LINk (Local Involvement Network).

Highly commended:

Dr Cathy Burton: Retired Lambeth GP and Lambeth CCG's Clinical Lead for Cancer and End-of-Life Care. Dr Burton has helped develop care pathways, provided leadership and support to local GPs to enable early referrals of cancer.

Dr Ruth Wallis: Joint Director of Lambeth and Southwark Public Health. She is passionate about better health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities.


Putting Patients First award presented by GP Dr Dianne Aitken who chairs the South East Lambeth Health Partnership and Ami David, a registered nurse and midwife on the CCG's governing body.


Three Boroughs Health Team at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust: This is a multi-disciplinary team led by Nurse Manager Fenella Jolly. The team works across Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham in 40 venues, including hostels and day centres, to give primary health care services to the most deprived and vulnerable such as those living rough, refugees and asylum seekers, people with drug and alcohol addictions and those with long-term conditions. The team has seen more than 4,500 clients in the past year.   

Highly commended:

Heather Campbell: Clinical Lead and Head of Neuro-Rehabilitation Services for Lambeth and Southwark, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. The service promotes independence and personalisation of care for those with complex neuro-rehabilitation needs. 

Cepta Hamm and Anita Macro: Head and Deputy Head of Nursing at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. The pair have created a training programme to support new nurses in their first year in the community to give them the skills and competencies to nurse confidently and autonomously in people's homes.  


Innovation in Lambeth presented by Aisling Duffy, Chief Executive of Certitude, a not-for-profit organisation supporting people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs, and GP Dr Hasnain Abbasi from the CCG.


Breathe Arts Health Research: This innovative programme uses the arts to help children with hemiplegia, a common motor disorder which causes weakness on one side of the body. Its flagship is Breathe Magic – a 10-day summer camp where youngsters learn magic tricks to strengthen their hand and arm coordination which leads to improved confidence, self-esteem and independence. Breathe Arts Health Research also delivers England's largest hospital-based performing arts programme to Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust to reduce patient anxiety and improve the working environment for staff.  

Highly commended:

Tissue Viability Specialist Nursing Team from Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust: The team has created a mobile phone app to allow staff to develop their knowledge and skills at any convenient time and place. The app has already had nearly 1,000 downloads;

Lambeth Living Well Collaborative: The Collaborative brings together public/NHS, voluntary sector, secondary services, service users and carers who are committed to "turning the system on its head". The Collaborative is taking the "mental" out of "mental health" and enabling citizens to: 1. Recover and stay well; 2. Make their own choices and achieve personal goals and 3. Participate on an equal footing in daily life.


Best Use of Patient Experience presented by Stephanie Correia, mental health champion and manager of Southside Rehab and governor for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Ruth Wallis, Lambeth and Southwark's Joint Director of Public Health.


Patient Insight Forum from Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. The Forum, comprising 15 volunteer Trust members and chaired by Lady Sally Banks, gives an invaluable perspective on how the organisation can improve its services using the experience of patients. Forum members are trained to assess the quality of the Trust's first contact services including reception desks and public areas. Volunteers undertake mystery shopping visits and make calls to the organisation so they can suggest improvements. The Forum has improved the way the organisation keeps patients informed about delays and has made it easier for visitors to find their way around the large site.

Highly commended:

Children's Allergy Outpatient Team based at St Thomas' Hospital: The team provides outpatient and day care services to children who suffer from food allergies, asthma, eczema and hay fever and their families.

Burrell Street Clinic Sexual Health Clinic: Part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, the clinic has introduced a new digital queue and appointment system which has revolutionised waiting at the clinic.


Working Together award presented by Dr Matthew Patrick, Chief Executive of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and CCG governing body member Sue Gallagher.


Mental Health Street Triage Team: The team, based at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, provides 24-hour cover to help police deal with people experiencing mental distress. A one-year pilot was set up using Department of Health funding and in partnership with the Mayor of London's Office for Policing and Crime, NHS England and the Metropolitan Police Service. South London and Maudsley was commissioned to deliver the first Street Triage service in London. Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon CCGs were all involved from the start. The initial pilot was so successful that the CCGs re-commissioned the service which focuses on the reason individuals come to the attention of the police. Its success is attributed to the honest and open discussions between police, service-users and staff which allow police to use their resources on other priorities such as fighting crime in Lambeth.

Highly commended:

Psychology in Hostels project led by Dr Emma Williamson, Principal Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Chris Deacon, Lambeth Hostels Manager, Thames Reach: This partnership supports homeless people and takes into consideration their psychological and emotional needs.

Healthy Living Club: A unique collaboration between people with dementia, carers, volunteers and others which shows people with dementia can be at the heart of a community, replacing loneliness with a sense of belonging. The club provides residents of Lingham Court, Stockwell with opportunities to meet and enjoy themselves.

Lambeth Safe and Independent Living (SAIL) led by Age UK Lambeth: SAIL is a cooperative multi-agency referral scheme allowing 17 organisations and individuals in the community to help people with problems outside their area of responsibility.  The agencies work with people aged 55 and over and/or adults with disabilities or a carer. The team has set up a referral scheme to streamline health and social care and has referred 540 clients since January. 


Outstanding Contribution award presented by Lambeth councillors Jim Dickson, Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing (Herne Hill ward), and Robert Hill.


Nicola Kingston: Nicola chairs Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care (SLIC) Citizen's Forum, is an exceptional advocate for patients, residents and their families. Despite numerous set-backs, Nicola's perseverance has prevailed and the citizens' voice is now stronger than ever. Her role with SLIC is an extension of her work with the Lambeth Patient Participation Group Network where she is vice-chair. She was previously chair of Lambeth's Local Involvement Network (LINk). She shares the CCG's vision for health services that are people-centred, prevention-focused, integrated, consistent and innovative.   

Highly commended:

Liz Clegg: Assistant Director Integrated Commissioning (Older Adults) for NHS Lambeth CCG and the London Borough of Lambeth. She demonstrates determination and passion every day in her role as a commissioner of services for older people in the Borough.

Catherine Pearson: Chief Executive of Healthwatch Lambeth. She has lived in Lambeth for 26 years and has worked hard to establish Healthwatch Lambeth as an exceptional organisation involving patients and carers to help improve local services.


Kindness Award – a joint award presented by Catherine Pearson of Healthwatch Lambeth and Raj Mitra of NHS Lambeth CCG.


Bernadette Johnson, Practice Manager of Herne Hill Medical Practice and her sister-in-law June Johnson, receptionist: The pair have both been described as "truly kind people who go beyond the call of duty" by the practice's Patient Participation Group (PPG). The PPG says they are "fountains of hope, endurance and inspiration… warmth in a chilling climate" and says June is the best receptionist it knows. It added: "June is the eyes and ears of the world and the best old-fashioned communicator. During the Keeping Warm in Winter campaign she helped send out invitations for a Crisis at Christmas event and then looked after people as they arrived, helping with transport." The PPG added: "Bernadette and the team are incredibly supportive of the Patient Participation Group. Both women help people in the community manage long-term conditions like diabetes and dementia."

Highly commended:

Minnie Kidd House Nursing Team: This team has had a difficult year: its manager retired; the service is under review and the needs of its patients are changing. But the nurses have continued to provide high quality care with a smile and always handle delicate issues with relatives and carers in a kind, thoughtful and sensitive manner.

Rose Sweeney: Rose is a volunteer at King's College Hospital, specialising with patients with dementia. She became one of the first Hospital to Home Scheme volunteers to help patients adjust to returning home.