Skip to content
May 2016

Think Ahead’s host organisations announced

We can today announce the innovative community mental health services that will partner with us to pioneer our new approach to improving support for people with mental illness. The organisations are spread across England, with six in London, four in the South East, four in the Midlands, one in Yorkshire, and one in the North East.

Our first cohort of 96 participants will join the 16 NHS Mental Health Trusts and Local Authorities from September, all of which were chosen based on their commitment to working on the social aspects of mental ill-health, and their ability to provide a structured and supported environment for Think Ahead’s intensive training approach.

Mental Health Minister Alistair Burt said he was delighted that these partnerships would help to attract people into mental health social work, which he described as “a highly skilled, complex career”. He went on to say that the Department of Health’s support for Think Ahead “will help talented graduates and career-changers support thousands of people to lead more independent and fulfilling lives”.


We’re proud partners of Think Ahead. All my years of NHS experience have underlined the importance of social workers to mental health; you cannot get by without them.

This scheme can make a lasting difference to creating strength and pride in this great profession.

Claire Murdoch, NHS National Mental Health Director and Chief Executive of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

The announcement coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week, which is this year emphasising the importance of relationships in mental wellbeing. Think Ahead’s participants will be trained to work with people to improve social circumstances—such as relationships, support networks, and living arrangements—that have deep impacts on mental health.

Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, welcomed the partnership with NELFT in North East London. “It’s great to see local services in Walthamstow working in collaboration with Think Ahead to add to our ranks of talented mental health social workers,” she said. “It’s important that we continue to find innovative ways to support vulnerable people, particularly in the challenging area of mental health.”

Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, noted the important work of mental health social workers. He said: “Mental health has too long been a poor relation of physical health, and I’m very pleased to see Think Ahead bringing more support to people living with mental illness in Broxbourne. Mental health social workers play a vital role in the community, enabling people to develop the relationships, support networks, and activities that can build their mental wellbeing.”

Mark Trewin, Service Manager at Bradford Metropolitan District Council, one of two host organisations training Think Ahead participants in the north of England, also welcomed the partnership. “I am excited to welcome Think Ahead participants to our integrated community mental health teams in Bradford and Airedale,” he said. “Social work has a key role in supporting people who rely on mental health services. Bradford Council can provide a stimulating and varied learning environment for Think Ahead participants, with our partners in Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust.”

Think Ahead’s 16 host organisation partners are listed below.


  • East London NHS Foundation Trust (together with London Borough of Hackney and Luton Borough Council)
  • South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (together with London Borough of Merton)
  • NELFT NHS Foundation Trust (together with London Borough of Waltham Forest)
  • Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust (together with Brent Council, London Borough of Hillingdon, Harrow Council, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster City Council)
  • Enfield Council (together with Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust)
  • London Borough of Barnet (together with Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust)

As a qualified mental health social worker, I’ve seen first-hand the incredible impact that social work can have on the mental wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities.

Our new partnership with Think Ahead will attract more people into this challenging but rewarding line of work, helping to improve support for those in Birmingham and Solihull who use our mental health services.

John Short, Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

South East:

  • North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (together with Essex County Council)
  • Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (together with Hertfordshire County Council)
  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (together with Brighton and Hove City Council)
  • Cambridgeshire County Council (together with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust)


  • Northamptonshire County Council (together with St Andrew’s Healthcare)
  • Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (together with Birmingham City Council)
  • Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust (together with Warwickshire County Council & Coventry City Council)
  • City of Wolverhampton Council (together with Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust)

Yorkshire and North East:

  • Bradford Metropolitan District Council (together with Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Durham County Council (together with Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust)