Healthwatch Essex In The Running for National Award

We are really pleased to be in the running for a national award in recognition of two inspiring films designed to capture the voice and experiences of children within health and social care.

We are urging local people to vote for the films at the Charity Film Awards website. The Charity Film Awards celebrate the very best films and videos been created by charities and CICs in the UK.

The first film was created after the charity ran a competition asking primary school aged children to design bunting to be displayed in local hospitals for the 70th anniversary of the NHS. The children were asked to draw a scene which represented a story celebrating their healthcare hero – the person in health or social care that had made the greatest difference to them.

From one thousand entries, Joshua won the Healthwatch Essex Patient Experience Award for his bunting design showing his cardiac consultant, Dr Babu, saving his life when he was born prematurely. We decided to reunite Joshua with Dr Babu and filmed the day, weaving Joshua’s story through the piece. The result was this poignant film which shares a child’s experience and perceptions of healthcare in Essex.

The second film was borne out of research which revealed that young people across the county were finding it hard to manage, or sometimes even understand, their own mental health. We heard about a project which had been set up to equip children of primary school age with the skills to manage their mental health well into the future. The project was popular and seemed to be having significant success. We wanted to share this as a good practice, so that other schools and children could benefit from this approach – and it was from that intention that this powerful film was created.

Since its launch in 2017 over 1000 charity films have entered the Charity Film Awards and over ¼ million members of the public have voted.

Dr David Sollis, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex, said:

“It is our job to capture people’s experiences of health and social care across the county and use them to create positive change. We have found one of the most powerful ways of doing that is through film.

“It can sometimes be difficult to find ways to hear the voice of children in the system, so we have made proactive attempts to engage with them and understand more about what works well, and what doesn’t work so well for them, within health and social care.

“These two films resulted from those efforts, but we are now up against 400 other charities to get through to the final rounds of judging –  so we really need the support of the people of Essex to make sure we get enough votes to see our entries through to the final stages.”

Simon Burton, founder of the Charity Film Awards, commented:

“All the charities that have entered deserve to be congratulated, but they need more than thanks, they need votes!

“It’s simple for the public to vote for their favourite charity film at and many voters also go onto donate. Nearly 10% of those who voted last year also made a donation.”

The Awards are free to enter for charities. The current public vote phase will determine the final shortlist, which will then be judged by a panel of experts. The winners will be announced at a gala event at a prestigious venue in London in Spring 2020.