Reflections on my “Year of Writing” project in an NHS trust – 4

This is the penultimate extract from the ongoing serialization of chapter 14 of the Words for Wellbeing book…

Staff workshops
The staff workshops included half days on writing for publication and running reflective practice groups, and a development day for 17 members of a community mental health team that combined therapeutic and reflective writing exercises with group work on writing good patient notes. Staff attending the team development day all made pledges saying what they had been inspired to do differently in the future.

Communications were key to the success of the project and in this I had the very welcome assistance of our Communications Team who helped me to develop a communications strategy and publicised the project through news releases.
I produced newsletters and reports and maintained web pages throughout the project to keep people informed.

When the Year of Writing ended I was so wrapped up in the project that I found it extremely difficult to let go of the various activities I had been involved in. A period of reflection was needed, around what was best for me and my family, before I managed to decide how to proceed, i.e., which activities to continue, unpaid if necessary, because they were important to me personally, and which I needed to stop.
The activities I found the most personally rewarding and beneficial for participants were the ward writing sessions, so I was delighted when these re-commenced in April 2011 at the request of the Ward Manager. I have been added to the trust’s ‘bank staff’ as a Writing Practitioner and am now paid at an hourly rate for my writing sessions by individual wards/units.

In September 2011, I started to lead a weekly writing group in the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). I also now lead a monthly writing group for discharged patients and anyone else who feels that writing might help their health and wellbeing.
From my point-of-view, the Cumbria Partnership Year of Writing started in September 2009 when I wrote the bid for funding and ended with the Writing and Healthcare Conference in March 2011. But, as I said at the beginning of this chapter, my journey in therapeutic writing really began in February 2005 and it is still continuing. I have learned so much in the last six or so years, especially in the last 18 months, and I continue to learn more with every session I lead and every article and book I read on the subject. The Year of Writing project has turned a casual interest in therapeutic writing into my passion, and changed my life – thank you Dragons!

BBC. (2012). Dragons’ Den. Retrieved 20 January, 2012, from
Ross, C. A. (2011). Evaluation of Cumbria Partnership Year of Writing workshops. Cumbria Partnership Journal of Research, Practice and Learning, 1, 17-20. Retrieved 27 May 2011, from
Ross, C. A. (2012). Words for Wellbeing. Retrieved 22 January 2012 from


About Carol Ross

Interested in therapeutic writing.
This entry was posted in Books, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Reflections on my “Year of Writing” project in an NHS trust – 4

  1. Louise Hart says:

    I think I should watch Dragon’s Den! Seriously, what a fantastic project. You were fortunate to be involved in something so powerful, as were your participants. It’s great to be aquainted with some one who is making a difference.

    • Carol Ross says:

      Thanks! It wasn’t the real BBC Dragons Den – it was a funding initiative by the NHS trust I work for. But so much the better for that! Regards, Carol.

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