FHT award winner profile: Gwyn Featonby

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Complementary therapist and training provider at an NHS approved school, Gwyn Featonby, won the title of 2018 FHT Tutor of the Year at our annual Excellence Awards, held towards the end of last year.

The award was presented to Gwyn at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November. Organised by the FHT, the Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to high-calibre practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy.

A qualified nurse, Gwyn has been practicing complementary therapies for over 30 years. Much of her work has been within hospitals and hospices, where she used therapies to help adults and children manage symptoms related to cancer and other long-term or life-threatening conditions. Today she is education lead at an NHS approved school, which she helped to develop as part of a dedicated team.

The NHS Natural Health School is dedicated to training the next generation of expert therapists, and is part of a self-sustaining model that provides free treatments to patients at a Macmillan cancer centre based in the same hospital. It’s at this school that Gwyn delivers a unique NHS Certificate in Complementary Therapies – a competency-based programme that provides Level 3 students with the skills and experience necessary to practice in an NHS setting and ensure they meet the needs of patients with complex health needs.

In the words of someone who provided a supporting testimonial for Gwyn’s award entry, ‘she is very modest in her achievements but I, and a lot of others in the complementary therapy field, know that she is an amazing practitioner, an informative, knowledgeable and approachable teacher and a pioneer in the complementary therapy field.’

Speaking about her win, Gwyn says: ‘I am delighted to have won the award for FHT Tutor of the year. It is a privilege to be part of a learner’s journey, whether it’s someone new to the industry, or a practitioner wanting to gain more specialist knowledge.

‘Highly skilled and enthusiastic practitioners are key to the provision of quality assured and effective complementary therapy. To be recognised as having a small part in enabling the development of such practitioners is a great honour, not just for me, but for the whole team at the NHS Natural Health School. We are so proud of our learners and graduates, and never forget that they choose to study with us. We strive to help them achieve the very best that they can, but success is only possible with their own enthusiasm and hard work.’

FHT award winner profile: Brian Jauncey, MFHT

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Brian Jauncey won the title of 2018 FHT Student of the Year at our annual Excellence Awards, held towards the end of last year.

The award was presented to Brian at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November. The Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to high-calibre practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy.

Brian entered the field of complementary therapy as a mature student at the age of 42. The simple act of twisting to get out of a car one day resulted in two prolapsed discs which meant he couldn’t work for 16 weeks, leaving his career as a welder in jeopardy. Spinal surgery was recommended, which he promptly refused, and it was when trying different therapies to help with his back problem that Brian discovered the benefits of massage and acupuncture. In his own words, ‘Through these modalities, I was able to manage my pain, mobility and quality of life to a degree that I never thought possible’.

With the support of his family, he decided to enrol onto a BSc (Hons) Complementary Therapy for Healthcare degree at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, so that he could help others in a similar situation. Brian quickly developed a passion for learning and as the nominated representative for his course, helped to promote the university at open days, performing demonstrations and talking to prospective students. Having just gained a first for his degree, he is already looking at other ways to expand his skills and knowledge.

Speaking about his win, Brian says: ‘I’m very proud to receive the Student of the Year Award, and to receive recognition by an organisation such as the FHT is a great honour. I am continuing my studies with a PGCE course, alongside running my own practice, Heka Complementary and Alternative Therapies, in Wrexham. I’m then hoping to go on to do a Masters degree.’

FHT award winner profile: Alison Brown, FFHT

FHT Fellow, complementary therapist and business mentor, Alison Brown, has won an award for providing support and advice to other professional therapists in her area (and beyond…)

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The award was presented to Alison at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November.

Organised by the FHT, the Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to qualified practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy, who are promoting high standards in therapy training and practice.

As well as being a successful and busy complementary therapist herself, Alison is the founder of Ali’s Therapy Academy, providing business support and advice to other professional therapists who are excellent at giving treatments but perhaps lack the confidence or knowledge in how to market themselves effectively.

On top of that she’s also an FHT Local Support Group (LSG) Coordinator for the Worthing area. This is a voluntary role that aims to provide support, advice and learning opportunities to other local FHT members, through regular meetings and activities. As many therapists are self-employed, these are great opportunities for them to network, offer mutual support, and expand their knowledge and skill set.

Like all of FHT’s Coordinators – who, collectively, head up more than 60 groups across the UK – Alison goes to a great deal of effort to provide her group with a varied calendar of events each year. This includes treatment exchanges and talks from different health, wellbeing and business experts. However, what made her nomination for the 2018 FHT Local Support Group Coordinator of the Year Award stand out from the rest was that she was nominated by an FHT member who doesn’t live in her area and hasn’t physically attended any of her meetings.

For personal reasons, the member who nominated her is unable to travel to the group meetings near where she lives, but she has been able to enjoy the content of Alison’s meetings through Skype, webinars and other online platforms. In her own words, ‘In many industries, the way in which Alison works is commonplace, indeed essential to business performance, yet online communication for some reason is behind in the complementary healthcare world. Through her knowledge of social media, she has been able to share information with those who are unable to attend their local FHT meetings. Alison has far exceeded the requirements set out by the FHT to provide a local support group.’

Speaking about her win, Alison says: ‘I am very honoured to win this FHT award and to be recognised by a national organisation. It gives me confirmation and pride in what I do and achieve. This award is also for my local group – we come together to support one another’

Read more about FHT local support groups

FHT award winner profile: Nefeli Tsiouti, MFHT

Cyprus-based sports massage therapist, choreographer and dancer, Nefeli Tsiouti, won the title of 2018 FHT Sports Therapist of the Year.

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Nefeli Tsiouti (centre), with award sponsor, Charlie Preston, from Physique Management (left) and FHT Vice President and awards judge, Herman Fenton (right)

The award, sponsored by Physique Management, was presented to Nefeli at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November. Organised by the FHT, the Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to high-calibre practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy.

An international member of the FHT, Nefeli is a sports massage therapist with a background in dance and dance science. As such, the focus of her work and research has been to improve health and reduce injury in dancers, performing artists and other movers in general. From first-hand experience, Nefeli knows how prone this group is to injury and that some performers, such as breakers (or break dancers), are not invested in properly when it comes to injury prevention education. To address this, she collaborated with other dance and medical experts to conduct research and offer conditioning, strengthening and injury prevention workshops and lectures to dancers in several different countries. She is also currently still conducting research into dancers’ injuries, physiology and biomechanics, as an Associate Researcher at Cyprus Musculoskeletal and Sports Trauma Research Centre, and collaborating with universities in the UK and Brasil.  

In addition, Nefeli recently received first prize, along with a prize for Most Innovative Idea, at a EUC-Peak Entrepreneurial competition for business start-ups in Cyprus, where she pitched her idea to investors regarding a Performing Arts Medicine and Science Institute that she will be launching in 2020 in Cyprus.

Speaking about her win, Nefeli says: ‘I am honoured to have received the Sports Therapist of the Year award since it gives me international recognition for my work as a researcher and a therapist. FHT has been a very supportive organisation, and I know that this award will open many more doors for me and my career.’

Christopher Byrne, President of the FHT, says: ‘These awards are designed to recognise individuals who are excelling in therapy practice and education and are an inspiration to others. Winners like Nefeli should be exceptionally proud to be selected from a pool of high-calibre peers, in awards that are recognised across the industry. Well done.’

 

FHT award winner profile: Jane Sheehan, MFHT

FHT member Jane Sheehan has won the title of 2018 FHT Complementary Therapist of the Year.

Awards Comp Therapist Winner Jane Sheehan PR

Jane Sheehan (right) with FHT Vice President and awards judge, Mary Dalgleish (left)

The award was presented to Jane at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November. Organised by the FHT, the Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to high-calibre practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy.

Jane’s burning ambition had always been to successfully integrate complementary therapies into mainstream care. It was an ambition she went on to realise in 2009, when she took on the role of complementary therapy coordinator at an NHS Specialist Palliative Care Hospice in Norwich.

Drawing on 36 years of experience as a qualified nurse and 29 years as a complementary therapist, Jane developed the existing complementary therapy service, to create a safe delivery model that would benefit patients, therapists and health care professionals alike. Among other achievements she was responsible for:

  • bringing the therapy service in line with clinical governance
  • developing a robust complementary therapy policy
  • creating a sustainable delivery model, with therapists employed by the NHS, providing security for the therapists and ensuring patients could continue to receive valuable care
  • expanding the number and range of therapy sessions available
  • designing a bespoke model of care for patients wanting care at home
  • developing protocols for using aromatherapy for malodourous wound care
  • introducing MYCAW to measure patient-related outcomes, and
  • providing experiential learning for health care staff to promote therapy awareness.

Jane’s nomination was supported by dozens testimonials and letters of support from clients, colleagues, training providers and industry experts, including clinical aromatherapist and author, Dr Jane Buckle.

Speaking about her win, Jane says: ‘I am totally over the moon and feel very privileged to receive the prestigious 2018 FHT Complementary Therapist of the Year award for work that brings together my nursing background and complementary therapy training. I wanted to inspire others and raise awareness of what can be achieved in complementary therapy development in the NHS specialist palliative care setting. This is for every single therapist working in a hospice. Thank you to my colleague, Margaret Ayres, who put my name forward for this award, and to all those who have supported me. And thank you to the FHT.’

Christopher Byrne, President of the FHT, says: ‘These awards are designed to recognise individuals who are excelling in therapy practice and education and are an inspiration to others. Winners like Jane should be exceptionally proud to be selected from a pool of high-calibre peers, in awards that are recognised across the industry. Well done.’

Read an article by Jane from International Therapist, issue 125

Announcing the 2018 FHT Excellence Award winners

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Congratulations to all our winners and finalists at yesterday’s 2018 FHT Excellence Awards!

Held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November, the awards followed the FHT Conference, where leading experts in research, education and health and social care discussed the integration of complementary therapies into mainstream care.

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Conference and awards host, Janey Lee Grace—a regular presenter on Radio 2 and UK Health Radio—announced the winners of the 2018 FHT Excellence Awards, which serve to recognise those raising the bar in therapy training and practice.

2018 FHT Excellence Awards winners

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Complementary Therapist of the Year
Winner: Jane Sheehan
For developing a new delivery model for a complementary therapy service within an NHS palliative care unit.

Highly Commended: Kelly De Souza, Marc Johnson, Julie McCullough

Finalists: Robert Sylvester Coleman, Julie Crossman, Jackie Grimley, Nicolle Mitchell
Awards Sports Therapist of the Year - Nefeli Tsiouti

Sports Therapist of the Year
Winner: Nefeli Tsiouti
For her work in helping to improve health and reduce injuries in dancers, professional artists and other movers.

Finalists: Sheree Phelps, Sophie Vowden

Sponsored by

Physique copy

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FHT Local Support Group Coordinator or the Year
Winner: Alison Brown
For sharing the content of her group meetings via a number of online platforms for therapists unable to attend in person.

Finalist: Kim Newman-Clark

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FHT Student of the Year
Winner: Brian Jauncey
For his inspirational story of retraining as a complementary therapist following his first-hand experience of using therapies for a back injury.

Finalist: Teresa Elliott

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FHT Tutor of the Year
Winner: Gwyn Featonby
For her work in developing the first NHS approved therapy training school and a unique NHS Certificate in Complementary Therapies.

Highly Commended: Dawn Morse

Finalists: Maureen Bonner, Sharon Mountford, Jane Sheehan

 

FHT Conference supports integrated healthcare

At yesterday’s FHT Conference we were delighted to bring together leading experts in research, education and health and social care, to discuss the integration of complementary therapies into mainstream care.

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Held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November, the conference got under way with two presentations that focused on research. Professor Nicola Robinson discussed some key issues surrounding the collection and use of evidence base for therapies such as acupuncture, while Dr Julie McCullough highlighted the positive findings of a trial that looked at the impact of antenatal reflexology on women with pregnancy-related low back and/or pelvic girdle pain.

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The talks generated interesting discussions on the merits of qualitative and quantitative research and what therapists new to research could do to prove the efficacy of their therapies. Look out for an article by Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown and Nicola Brough, on two different patient-reported outcome measures that are suitable for complementary therapies and integrated care, in the Winter 2019 issue of International Therapist, published in January.

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Delegates also enjoyed listening to presentations from two of the most influential GPs in health care and trailblazers in social prescription—Sir Sam Everington and Dr Michael Dixon. Sir Everington left delegates captivated with an insight into Bromley By Bow Centre, a practice that has transformed health care in one of the most diverse and economically deprived areas in London, through community-based integrated services and referrals. Sir Everington told us that the philosophy at Bromley By Bow is ‘it’s not what’s the matter with the patient, it’s what matters to the patient’.

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Dr Michael Dixon looked at the potential of social prescribing and personal health budgets, giving us an overview of the Culm Valley Integrated Centre For Health in Devon. Like Bromley By Bow, Dr Dixon’s practice champions social prescribing and community health, through integrated care but serves a very different local community. Dr Dixon told us that if patient-centred community care can work in both Bromley and the Culm Valley, it can be implemented anywhere in the UK. Discussions afterwards centred on how therapists could convince the NHS to work with them in their local communities. Both GPs said it is important to ‘win over the hearts’ of medical professionals and although this can take time, it is important to persist.

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Talks by Anita Mehrez, MFHT, a member of the complementary health and wellbeing team at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, and Jennifer Young, MFHT, founder of Beauty Despite Cancer, offered delegates an insight into how  therapies have been successfully integrated into the NHS, working alongside conventional medical care to support those impacted by cancer. Jennifer found the NHS in her area very open to working with her and was even approached by her local hospital to set up an appearance and wellbeing clinic within a specialist cancer centre.

The day’s programme was then rounded off by conference host, Janey Lee Grace—a regular presenter on Radio 2 and UK Health Radio—announcing the winners of the 2018 FHT Excellence Awards, which serve to recognise those raising the bar in therapy training and practice.

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President of the FHT, Chris Byrne, says: ‘Everyone at the FHT is extremely proud of this event, not least because of the incredible speakers who took time out of their very busy schedules to share with us their vision of what truly integrated healthcare looks like. I personally came away inspired to think of new ways we can all work together to ensure even more people get access to the best of both conventional  and complementary care, which in turn will help to relieve some of the burden currently being placed on our healthcare system.’

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FHT member, Jacky Huson called the Conference ‘A fantastic and inspiring day’ and says ‘it was very affirming to hear speakers in the biomedical field being so supportive and proactive in integrating complementary therapies into their practice and promoting social prescription. At last a sensible way forward giving choice and responsibility to patients, with a real role for therapists.’

Helen Robinson, MFHT, says ‘Thank you for an absolutely excellent day, all the speakers were absolutely superb. I’ve come away buzzing with all the potential. Thank you so much….I’m very proud to be an FHT member.’