Family, Friends and Carers Newsletter - October 2021

Welcome to the October 2021 edition of the Forensic Inpatient services Family, Friends and Carers Newsletter

Publication date:
22 October 2021
Date range:
October 2021 - ongoing


What’s new?

Introducing our new Head of Service for the Forensic and Specialist Care Group – Emma Willing

I started in this role in August. I have worked in the NHS since 1999 in different roles and trusts across the country. My role is to make sure the clinical staff have what they need to deliver effective patient care for of all the services in the care group which includes Trevor Gibbens Unit, The Allington Centre, The Tarentfort Centre and The Brookfield Centre. Since joining I have spent much of my time getting to know the services I will be leading, but as time goes on I will be happy to share with you all the work we are doing within the inpatient wards and inviting you to participate in listening events and engagement events which will improve services and the care that your loved ones receive. If you have any concerns or wish to contact me directly please email

We will aim to introduce some other members of our team in future editions and if there are any roles or disciplines in particular that you’d like to find out more about, please let us know. 

We are also excited to let you know that an easy read version of the Trust’s Organisational Strategy 2020-2023 is now available. The strategy sets out how the Trust plans to make services better over the next three years. 

Our Vision is to work with our partners across Kent and Medway to deliver brilliant care through brilliant people. We aim to achieve this by focussing on quality, using our expertise to partner effectively with other organisations and supporting the integration of mental and physical health services across Kent and Medway to deliver seamless care for our service users and carers and support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

You can find a copy of the full strategy and summary online here and your Family engagement and liaison lead can provide a copy of the easy read version if this would be helpful.

COVID-19: The KMPT journey continues

We are pleased to be able to say that things are moving forwards for us in terms of how we work in relation to COVID-19.

Whilst we continue to ask that visitors to our services follow guidance around hand sanitising and mask wearing, we have been able to start holding face-to-face meetings in some of our services and can also now welcome visitors to join us indoors at the café at Dartford and Lakeside Lounge at the Trevor Gibbens Unit.


Monday and Friday: 8am – 3pm 
Tuesday to Thursday: 8am – 2.30pm
Weekends: Closed  

Patients and visitors can usually be supported to access the vending machine between 9am - 2.30pm during weekends.

Lakeside Lounge Café Trevor Gibbens Unit

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 10am - 1.30pm
Wednesdays: 1.30pm - 5.00pm

Weekends: 11am – 4pm
Please be mindful that children (under 18s) are not able to access Lakeside Lounge and the opening times may vary in line with availability of staff and volunteers.

Virtual forums and feedback

Why not drop in and join us on Lifesize from 2-3pm on:

  • Wednesday 17 November 2021
  • Friday 17 December 2021
  • Monday 17 January 2021

The forums are a great opportunity to share any ideas or queries and to meet up with other families, friends and carers too.
We know that not everyone is able to join the forums so we thought we’d share some of the topics that have come up over the last 3 months here, along with some updates from our teams:

At TGU we had some queries around the sinkholes on site and the potential impact of these on activities that are available to patients. 

The latest information we have is that two of the sinkholes are linked and some further probing work is required to determine the best way forward. The teams are working hard to ensure that patients are still able to access activities and fresh air in alternative locations. Please be reassured that any matters relating to sinkholes are reported immediately to our Estates Department and the areas involved are closed for health and safety reasons.

At Dartford it was raised that e-cigarettes are costly and it was asked whether any alternatives are available.

This matter has been raised at the KMPT Trust wide Smoke Free meeting and we are in the process of looking into potential alternatives. We will share updates on this when available.

It was raised that sometimes low secure wards can seem more restrictive than medium secure wards and that this can be a challenge for those transferring between the services.

The teams are aware of this and recognise that there is currently more scope to reduce restrictions across the different wards on the medium secure site, whereas the low secure service is supporting patients who are acutely unwell as well as those who on a rehab pathway within one unit. We are working to create systems which allow for more individualised patient pathways and will share more information when available.

Queries were raised around how to book visits and how often they can take place.

Visits are to be agreed by the multi-disciplinary team in the first instance and visitors will be added to an approved list and asked to bring along ID. The frequency of visits will depend on your loved one and their specific ward (in terms of staffing and room availability). More information about visits is available within the family, friend and carers information guide for each service.

It was asked whether patients are able to access Church.

Both services are supported by a chaplain who offers religious and spiritual support to patients of all faiths and of none. The chaplain can put your loved one in touch with leaders from the major world religions, and they also lead worship services on units for the patients, to which all are welcome. We also have mutli-faith rooms at each site.

We will work to keep you updated on any developments via the forums and newsletters and if you have any ideas for when or how the forums could take place as we move into 2022, please let the Family engagement and liaison lead know.

We’ve also recently started setting up targeted focus groups to discuss some of the feedback that we have received from surveys and peer reviews of our services. The hope is that we can work together to develop action plans and make sure that we are shaping services in a way that works for you.

Our next focus group is to look at the feedback from The Quality Network Peer Review of The Allington Centre and The Tarentfort Centre which took place earlier this year. If you have a loved one in either of these services and would like to be involved in the focus group on Monday 8 November from 3-4pm via Lifesize please reach out to the Family engagement and liaison lead for the dial-in details or to let us know your thoughts.

What's coming up?

National Stress Awareness Day 2021

National Stress Awareness Day is taking place on Wednesday 3 November. The day highlights the importance of managing stress in our daily lives and focusses on providing people with an opportunity to think about their wellbeing and find advice or support on managing stress in both their personal and working lives.
To find out more about stress and how to manage it, check out some of the links under our Caring is Sharing section later on in the newsletter.

Carers Rights Day 2021

Carers Rights Day is taking place on Thursday 25 November. The day aims to bring organisations across the UK together to help carers in their local community know their rights and find out how to get the help and support they are entitled to.

Having the right information at the right time can make all the difference when you’re looking after someone.

Spotlight on…


Volunteers play an important role in our trust by providing additional services to our patients and supporting our work in a variety of ways.

People volunteer for lots of different reasons. For instance, they may be wanting to use their free time in an enjoyable and positive way, to 'give something back’ to a service which has helped them or someone they know, to share their knowledge and experience, to meet new people or to gain valuable experience for work or further education.

The volunteer services co-ordinators can help you find the right volunteer placement. You can view a full list of our volunteer roles here

You can also find out more about the fabulous work our volunteers do each day on behalf of the Trust by taking a look at our Volunteer Voices newsletter which you can find online here

Kent and Medway Recovery & Wellbeing College 

We may be part way through the September to December term but there are still plenty of opportunities to sign up to some of the free courses and workshops available through the Kent and Medway Recovery & Wellbeing College.

There are courses available online and face-to-face at our brand-new east Kent locations. You can find out more about the courses and enrolling here: or by calling the relevant location:
Canterbury: 07833 442136
Ashford: 07825 859412
Virtual: 07787 266421 

The courses currently come under the following headings: Creativity, Understanding, Health and Wellbeing and Connections.
The Recovery College will soon be designing the new prospectus for January and would love to hear from you as to what courses you might like them to run – you can provide your feedback via this link:
*Courses are open to anyone aged 18 years and above from Kent and Medway. If you are based outside of Kent and Medway and would like to find out whether there is a Recovery College available in your area, please reach out to your Family engagement and liaison lead to discuss further.

Caring is sharing

Do you have any tips, ideas, suggestions or information that you’d like to share with other family, friends and carers?

Perhaps you’ve come across some information about carers rights, or a local support group or organisation who’ve you’ve found really helpful and you’d like to let other people know? If so, we’d like to give you the opportunity to share these via our newsletter…just let your Family Engagement and Liaison Lead know and we can add to our next edition.
To get us started, please see below:

Help to Care app – a free mobile app designed to help you spot the signs of a problem and find the right information and advice if you’re worried about someone. The app includes guides, advice and training videos including information about physical and mental health problems along with many useful links and resources. Some of the links are specific to Kent and Medway however other content is general and potentially helpful for anyone regardless of location. - provides a wide range of information about conditions, symptoms and treatments for both physical and mental health conditions. You can also find information about different medications and how and when to get help. There are also some tips for healthy living too.

You and Your Wellbeing course – Carers UK has developed a free to access e-learning course designed to help carers build strategies to maintain their physical and emotional wellbeing. The course looks at physical and emotional wellbeing together, as each can have a significant impact on the other. The course can be accessed here

There are many more sources of information online too but if you are not able to or would simply prefer not to access information online, please just let us know which conditions, treatments, medications or support you might like to find out more about and we will see what we can find to send to you as a paper copy. This applies to any of the topics covered in this newsletter too.

Any questions?

Is there something you’ve been meaning to ask but weren’t sure who to go to or you think other family, friends or carers might also be interested in the answer?

If so, just let us know – any questions can be submitted to your Family engagement and liaison lead and we will do our best to include the answers in the next edition.

What is a 'Carers Champion'? 

A Carers Champion is a member of our team who has taken on this role in addition to their usual duties. They have expressed a particular empathy and interest in supporting and working with families, friends and carers to promote patient recovery.
The role of the champions is to:

  • support the team to support carers effectively
  • help build good working relationships between carers and professionals
  • have a greater understanding and awareness of carers’ needs 

We will be sharing more information about our Carers Champions and how they can support you in due course but if you’d like to find out who your ward Carers Champion is in the meantime, please ask the ward team or the Family engagement and liaison lead.
When we say ‘carer’ we really mean our patients’ support network, so that might be someone who identifies as a carer or it might be their family, friends, neighbours or anyone else with a supportive and/ or caring role in their lives

What is 'Advocacy' and how can it help me and my relative?

Advocacy means supporting and enabling a person, who is otherwise unable, to speak up for themselves or to speak up on the person’s behalf.  It means supporting people to take more control about decisions over their lives and to make informed decisions. It is independent, issue-based, time-limited and free at the point of request.
There are different types of advocacy services including: Independent Health Complaints Advocacy, Independent Care Act Advocacy, Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA), Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) and Community Advocacy.
There might be occasions when advocacy could benefit families, friends and carers and Kent Advocacy and The Advocacy People would be happy to discuss any needs further. They can be contacted via 0330 440 9000 or
You can also find out more about self-advocacy i.e. speaking up for yourself as well as the person you care here:
Our patients have access to advocacy services during their stay and your loved one can be supported to contact an advocate if they would like to.

Get involved (opportunities)

Including the views and experience of our patients and their families, friends and carers in improving and developing our services helps us to get it right.

Please see below some of the latest opportunities:

  • Keeping Connected events
  • KMPT Annual General Meeting
  • Suicide Prevention Research Network
  • Focus Group to support the recruitment of our new Executive director of nursing and quality
  • The Engagement Council recruitment
  • Volunteers needed for KMPT Awards judging panels

We are also pleased to advise that the deadline for recruitment to The Engagement Council as been extended and is now open until Tuesday 30 November 2021

We will keep sharing updates on opportunities to get involved in local, Trust wide and external projects and meetings when available.
If you are passionate about service improvement, please get in touch with: Kamila Lobuzinska, Patient engagement coordinator, on 07917 513426 or email

Future editions              
We hope you enjoy this latest newsletter and would love to hear your feedback and/or ideas for future content.
The next edition will be coming out in January 2022 so please get in touch between now and then if you’d like to get involved…

Contact us if you have any questions

Your Family engagement and liaison lead is Hayley Mason. 

You can contact her by calling 07880 473366 or emailing