Guest blog - Mike Maier

24 December 2021

I have been with CWP for 11 years serving firstly as a non-executive director and Chair of Audit Committee, then deputy chair and finally for the last six years as Chair of the Trust.

When I left a career spanning three decades in the manufacturing sector, I had little idea what the next chapter would be. Gradually, I realised that I wanted to work somewhere where I could feel passionate about the aims of the organisation. When the opportunity came to join CWP, the way I felt people cared, respected others, and wanted to make a difference to people’s lives, I knew this was the right place for me. And so it proved.

I did expect some real challenges. However, I didn’t imagine that I would be part of the NHS during its biggest challenge in its 73-year history. The way everyone has dealt with everything during the pandemic; by supporting patients and by supporting each other; so dedicated and so committed, has left a lasting impression.

It has cemented my view that the best people I have ever worked with are at CWP. One of my proudest moments is the CQC ‘outstanding for caring’ rating which truly reflects the ethos of this organisation.

Over the years we have invested in our infrastructure with new facilities, such as in Macclesfield with the opening of Silk and Mulberry Wards. We opened Ancora House, the state of the art CAMHS facility in Chester and have won national awards such as the Best Mental Health Service Redesign at the HSJ Value Awards.

Some images will stay with me for a long time. The mother whose teenage daughter had a severe eating disorder, who explained to me how our Trust was giving her hope for the future. The compassionate nurse who I saw sitting quietly with an elderly patient when I arrived at a ward and was still doing so two hours later. The mother who was so complimentary of our staff, who simply wanted to say to me, “thank you for giving me my son back”.

I have learned so much. That people have different abilities - not disabilities. I have a far deeper understanding of inequality. There is privilege and poverty, luck, bad luck, discrimination and prejudice, and people who need support through no fault of their own. I have learned how to really listen (not before time my family have commented!) and how to have the courage to do the right thing.

So, I wish to conclude by thanking you all. To serve as Chair for this organisation has without doubt been the greatest honour of my professional life. I feel confident for the future of our Trust, under the leadership of our incoming chair, Isla Wilson.  The people we serve every day should be assured that CWP has the most skilled, dedicated, and caring staff. It’s been my privilege to work with all of them.

As someone once wrote, “find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life”. Thank you to everyone at #TeamCWP.

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