Mental health worker wins lifetime recognition

    A mental health worker has won a lifetime award for outstanding
    achievement in social care.

    Linda Couchman was given the recognition at the department of
    health’s Health and Social Care Awards ceremony in Manchester for
    her work with adults with mental health needs who live in the

    The link resource centre team leader with Cheshire Council
    social services began her career in Peterborough in special needs
    service. Moving to Cheshire, she became a residential care
    assistant for adults with learning difficulties.

    In the early 1990s, Couchman became centre team leader at Link
    Housing, which works with adults with mental health needs in the
    community. It is recognised as a model of good practice, partly to
    due to Couchman’s enthusiasm, commitment and leadership

    Couchman said after the ceremony that the occasion was flying
    the flag for public sector workers: “People in social care are the
    forgotten heroes. This award isn’t about me, it’s about
    everyone in social care and everyone in the room last night.”

    She added that she would encourage young people to go into
    social work as a career. Her daughter is taking on the family
    tradition, and is now training in social work while working as a
    care assistant with older people.

    Social care awards also went to Young Livin’ at Kingston
    upon Thames social services, Sunderland Council’s social
    services department, Rapid Access Rehabilitation Service at Halton
    Council and The New Hope Project and Jigsaw Project.

    Other social care award recipients were Age Concern,
    Oxfordshire, ‘Moving on Up’ project at Suffolk Council,
    Deafblind UK Regional Deafblind, Hampshire Direct Payments and
    Carers’ Breaks Direct Access at Bury Council.

    Presenting the awards, health secretary Alan Milburn said: “The
    innovation and excellence demonstrated by frontline staff shows
    what can be achieved in these fields. Reform in health and social
    services will be led by the best and tonight we have seen what the
    very best can do.”




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