Louis Headley is a staff governor for the Oxfordshire, Swindon, Wiltshire and BaNES Mental Health Services directorate. In his professional role he is participation lead for Children and Young People’s Services.

“I was encouraged by my colleagues to stand to become a governor, partly because of how I’ve come to my job at the trust,” he says.

Louis joined Oxford Health four years ago, straight after his A-levels, to do an apprenticeship in business project management and landed with children and adolescent mental health services – and loved it immediately. He greatly credits his managers from that time for making him start a career at the trust.

“I have an interest in business and service development, but it’s really because of those people that I ended up at the NHS. They really made use of me. I was 19 at the time and could relate to the kids and their experiences. I worked across all of what was then Children and Young People’s Directorate,” he says.

“The best part of my work is being able to help children and young people make changes in their life after a clinical intervention; take ownership of their care and plans for future,” he says.

“The clinical work is important, but children and young people must also be supported to become proactive. I also want to use their experience to develop the services.”

“Balancing the role of governor with everyday work is quite tough,” Louis finds.

“I think there’s a big expectation to get things across and see change – and I want to see change. I guess I’m still new to the role, but it is a role that forces you to ask questions.”

Louis is keen to see change in how the NHS recruits and retains staff. “We need to be able to look at ourselves and how we retain staff and appeal to young people. What kept me in the job was not the programme but purely the people who trained and managed me,” he says.

“But as the trust we are moving to the right direction. We are not stagnant.”

He also wants the trust to involve membership more in its work. “And I mean the whole trust, not just engagement and communications. Our members can help us in service development, for instance by focus groups.”

You can contact Louis and all your governors by emailing contactyourgovernor@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk

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