This week I've been to Bristol for the launch of PPN in the South West. This is the result of the hard work by Catherine Gallup, Ken Laidlaw and Phil Self who have secured funding to develop the South West Psychological Professions Network.
There were around 70 people in a room in Bristol from a wide range of psychological professions and people with a psychological focus such as Arts Therapists and Peer Support Workers.
I shared our PPN journey - startling myself when I realised we had our first engagement event in 2013. Clare Baguley and I started working together in 2013. Our launch event took place in 2014. Since then, we have grown and held many events - annual conferences, sub-group events. We’ve also been joined by the PPN in Kent, Surrey and Sussex who have gone from strength to strength since their inaugural conference in 2018.
The opportunity to share the North West story reminded me of how much we've all worked together in the North West to make PPN a success. And collaborated with Kent, Surrey and Sussex to both share and learn from each other’s experiences. Now we have a new sibling.
It was wonderful to hear the enthusiasm in the room and recognition of the work by Catherine, Ken and Phil in bringing us together. The workshop session enabled people to share their thoughts on how they and colleagues can take the South West PPN forward. The structure of the event allowed for ongoing conversations and networking over the afternoon. Even as I left to get my train back to the North West, there was still lots of people, lots of discussion, and lots of enthusiasm.
This made me reflect on how bringing psychological professionals together enables our voice to have greater impact. This can make a real difference to the people with whom we work – whether they access our services as patients/service users/carers or as staff members who we can support in their work, or the wider systems that develop workforce, services and structures.
Developing our collaboration - working within the South West and wider with PPN England can only help us realise the dream of a psychologically informed NHS and wider.
Welcome to the South West Psychological Professions Network.