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Help in a crisis
Gary Walker

Gary Walker, People Participation Lead, Great Yarmouth and Waveney

Gary took over his new role in September 2019, covering the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area in a job share alongside Sophie Bagge.

He was appointed after spending three years at the Trust’s Recovery College, where he teaches courses focusing on psychosis, men’s emotional health and hearing voices. 

He said: “My desire is to make a real difference for the people who rely on our care.”  

Gary works as a PPL part time so he can continue to teach at the college. “I am really passionate about making sure the voice of our service users and carers is heard and ensuring they can play a major role in our Trust, so this seemed like the ideal job for me.

“I already run various groups for service users and carers and will continue that work in my new job. I think that introducing the new structure and role of PPLs is a positive step forward for the Trust and shows that there is a big culture change taking place. I hope that we will be able to make a real difference to people.”

Gary has been completing a six-month secondment as a Peer Participation Lead, during which time he has spearheaded three projects which he is continuing to develop

They include initiatives to introduce Peer Support Workers in GP surgeries and create a “what to expect” leaflet, both of which aim to reduce anxiety for people referred to the Trust’s services. He is also working with a school in Lowestoft to introduce a mental health ambassador role which older pupils will be able to take on to support their peers. The plan is to expand the scheme across Norfolk.

“I believe that some of the mental health issues I have experienced were as a result of being bullied at school, so feel it’s really important for us to try to change the culture and encourage people to start having those conversations at an early age,” said Gary. “I’ve been really pleased with the response I’ve had to these projects so far and look forward to continuing to work on them.”