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Stand as a governor and help make a difference

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is encouraging local people with an interest in mental health to consider standing for election as a Governor and help drive through further improvements on behalf of service users.

The Trust is currently looking for 10 new governors to represent the views of local people and help shape its future. The successful candidates will be responsible for holding NSFT’s non-executive directors to account, while acting as a key link between the Trust and the communities it serves.

The governors meet six times a year in public and hold two special themed events annually. They also attend sub-groups and committees, as well as visiting services and speaking to staff.

Dr Paddy Fielder, who became a governor in 2014 after spending more than 30 years working in the NHS, said: “The role of the governors is to act as a critical friend to the non-executive directors and talk to people in our constituencies and listen to their problems. Where appropriate, we raise these issues with the Trust so that action can be taken.

“I enjoy the role and feel we are making a difference. The other governors are a very interesting, highly motivated bunch and have a great deal of professional and life experience. We have in depth discussions and people are able to say what they feel and – of course – there is always room for humour.

“It would be nice for us to attract some younger people and those with experience of mental ill health to become governors, as well as people spread out geographically across both counties.

“We’d like people with a range of interests to come forward – the role is ideal for those who are prepared to listen to others and discuss things without prejudice and without being too dogmatic.”

Public, carer and service user seats are up for election in both Norfolk and Suffolk, while two vacancies also exist for NSFT staff. The successful candidates will join the Trust’s Board of Governors, which is made up of 23 seats across its six constituencies, with governors holding a three-year tenure.

Robert Nesbitt, company secretary, said: “Our governors play a vital role at NSFT by representing the views of local people, hosting important public engagement events and appointing our non-executive directors.

“Elected governors come from all walks of life and share an interest in mental wellbeing and a desire to see NSFT develop and thrive.

“We would encourage anyone who thinks they have the time, skills and commitment to carry out this important role to find out more by visiting our Trust's website.”

The elections began on 3 November. The closing date for nominations is noon on 18 November and voting runs until 30 December. The results will be announced on Thursday 31 December.