raylidlA Manchester-based service that supports people with mental health issues to get back into work has been awarded ‘Centre of Excellence’ status by the Centre for Mental Health.

Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust’s Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Service was given the accolade after a recent inspection and will now serve as a ‘beacon’ to similar services across the country.

In a letter to the team, the Centre for Mental Health’s director of programmes, Jan Hutchinson, praised the service, saying: "Congratulations on your brilliant result, which is clearly a reflection of the hard work which you, the IPS team, and your Trust colleagues have put into making this an exemplary IPS employment service."

The award is in recognition of the work that the service’s employment specialists carry out alongside community mental health teams, helping service users to find competitive employment. The service supports individuals on a one-to-one basis.

Since April 2012, the team has helped more than 20 service users into employment. Zeph Curwen, service manager occupational activity & employment at the Trust, said: "The aim of this service is purely and simply to help people get back into work and then support them through the process and it is the personalised approach which has underpinned its success.

"The fact that we have been recognised with this award is fantastic and a testament to the staff, for whom this is not just a job but a real passion. My hope now is that we can use our Centre of Excellence status to share our skills and knowledge with other services across the country, as well as build on the good work we are doing in Manchester."

Pictured: IPS service user Raymond at his job in Lidl