Two members of staff from Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) have been shortlisted for an award, in recognition of their work with members of the Armed Forces, Veterans and their families.
Leanne Cobham, Armed Forces Healthcare Lead and Interim Lead for Patient Experience and Engagement, has been nominated in the Armed Forces Advocate of the Year 2024 category of the Celebrating Forces Families (CFF) Awards, alongside colleague and Armed Forces Healthcare Navigator, Joanne Lee.
Leanne, who has also been named in the Social Media Influencer category, has worked for the Trust since 2022 and has been instrumental in improving the care the Trust provides for our local Armed Forces community, playing a huge role in introducing schemes such as the Armed Forces Guaranteed Interview Scheme which gives Veterans and their families the chance to interview for roles at WWL when they meet the required job criteria.
Leanne said: “I was absolutely blown away to be nominated again for Armed Forces Advocate 2024 and it is amazing to be recognised for the work that I have done in the last 12 months. My focus is on ensuring we meet the needs of our Armed Forces Community who face significant health inequality and that WWL is a ‘gold standard’ forces friendly Trust.”
Her nomination for Social Media Influencer of the year also reflects Leanne’s drive to raise the profile of the support WWL offers to the Armed Forces Community, and in the last 12 months her posts have reached over 600,000 people.
Alongside Leanne, waiting to hear if she has been named as the winner is Joanne Lee, who more recently joined the team from her previous role as a Health Care Assistant (HCA).
Following her success in helping a 98-year-old patient and World War II Veteran replace his missing medals – as well as a trip for him to visit Normandy for the D Day 80th Anniversary - Joanne was also surprised to be nominated for an award.
Joanne said: “To be nominated and recognised for something as important as supporting our Armed Forces community whilst they are a patient of WWL is amazing. I cried when I received the email; I am thrilled to have been nominated. I am so passionate about my role in supporting and signposting our veterans for help when they need it and to be a listening ear.”
Since gaining Veteran Aware status back in 2018, WWL has gone above and beyond in improving the care it provides for the local Armed Forces community and helping improve their career opportunities by offering guaranteed interviews to all members of the Armed Forces community applying for roles within the Trust.
This means members of the Armed Forces community will be offered interviews when all the essential job criteria laid out in job descriptions and specifications are met and supports the pledges in the Armed Forces Covenant and the Trust’s accreditation as a ‘Gold Award’ Employer.
Kevin Parker-Evans, WWL’s Interim Chief Nurse, said: “All of us at WWL are incredibly proud of Leanne, Joanne and all those involved in helping to provide an incredible standard of care for our Armed Forces Community.
“Their work has helped WWL to maintain our Gold Standard, Forces-Friendly employer status as a Veteran Aware Trust and a member of the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance. Our accreditation with the Pride in Veteran Standard also shows that all WWL’s staff and volunteers are committed to providing the best possible support to LGBTQIA+ Veterans and their families.
“The nominations are certainly deserved, and I will be keeping my fingers crossed for them both on the big night.”
Leanne and Joanne will find out if they have won their awards at a celebrity-presented awards evening in London on 28th April.