By Rick Mason
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening! (delete as appropriate!)
Thought it was high time to introduce myself, as one of the new members of the team here with the Yorkshire & Humber Involvement Network. My role is Involvement and Engagement Co-Ordinator, based primarily across the adult secure services in West Yorkshire, but I’m sure the role will see me finding my way into other services in the network!
Many of you may recognise me from face-to-face or virtual events with the network. My previous role was as Recovery College Lead at Cheswold Park Hospital in Doncaster. In this role, my primary focus was developing the co-production element of the service, but this soon evolved into everything involvement related too. Prior to Cheswold Park, my CV was quite different. I worked in banking and financial services, and later in the telecoms industry, mainly in training, development, coaching or management roles, so supporting and empowering people to be the best version of themselves runs through my veins and is something I am genuinely passionate about. I came to Cheswold Park with a view to staying six to twelve months, as I was at a cross-road in my life, and after a brief period of struggling with my own mental health, I wanted to decide what I wanted to do next, and I ended up loving everything about mental health services and there I was six years later! On reflection, my own struggles with my mental health have certainly helped me to be more understanding and empathetic towards the incredible service users I have had the pleasure and honour of working with over the last few years. I have been fortunate enough to work on some incredible projects, including one which saw us collect the Mark Britton Service User Choice Award at the 2022 National Service User Awards…possibly the only time in my life that I have worn a bow-tie!
Outside of work, my interests are many and varied. I love being outdoors and will often find an excuse to go for a walk or a cycle. I’m lucky enough to live in a part of Doncaster which is surrounded by walking routes, cycle paths, and forests. I’ll often take a book with me and find a tree or a bench to sit on and read, along with a flask of coffee. Other than that, I enjoy cooking and baking or just taking time to sit down, and binge watch a good boxset, watch some stand-up comedy, or listen to music. I am also halfway through studying for my BA (Hons) in Criminology which I’m absolutely loving, despite being out of education for 20 years, so on the whole, I’m usually occupied with something or other!
I’ve come into this role with the network with an open mind, ready to get straight into whatever the job throws at me. But more importantly, I’m really looking forward to getting to meet everyone in the different services in which I’ll be working, as I’ve only really met people briefly at face-to-face events or from the other side of a computer screen. Please do come and say hello!
Thank you for reading! Rick.