Accelerate, the year that was 2020

As Accelerate enters its 10th year, we look back on the great strides forward we have made in 2020, knowing that this difficult and challenging year has in fact, provided us with an impetus to develop and change at a rate we would never have contemplated before COVID entered our lives.

How quickly a year passes…

This time last year we were busy moving from Mile End to our fabulous new premises in St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney. Little did we know it would be a blessing in disguise when only 3 months into settling ourselves, the pandemic hit and sent us all on the rollercoaster ride that has been 2020. While many organisations in health, small and large, floundered, we held true to our mission and our commitment to support our local health system proving that out of adversity can emerge opportunity to rebase and move forward stronger than before.

Our team

We are proud that our staff have been able to support our colleagues in the community across our STP in North East London. This includes developing at pace a focal point of videos and tips to support patients and health professionals at a time of redeployment and perhaps a sense of the unknown for many patients when they realised their routine care was no more for lower limb, complex wounds and lymphoedema. We have kept our focus on the need for reducing harm and enhanced use of compression for this marginalised group of patients, and we continue to tread that path of challenge to all nurses and practitioners who deal with lower limb conditions which can compromise mobility.

As a small but determined organisation we continue to stay ahead of the curve in terms of our planning in regard to the challenges of COVID but also in ensuring we do not lose sight of the wellbeing of our fantastic staff. We have much in development for 2021.

Accelerate Academy

Perhaps our single greatest achievement this year, notwithstanding the successful management of care with our patients, has been the early-stage development of the Accelerate Academy.  We are passionate in our drive to educate about mobility, lower limb and swelling and in order to strengthen this drive and the delivery of our mission, we have recently appointed Georgina Ritchie, a senior lecturer from the University of North Lancashire as Deputy Director of Education. George brings with her not only her passion for the North of England but an opportunity for fresh eyes and a greater national perspective which in turn will enhance our positioning in the delivery of strong and well-respected programmes of education and development. George who coined the phrase ‘courage to compress’ said of her appointment:

I truly believe that confidence and competence are the foundations of effective lower limb management, they can only be achieved through the development, education and empowerment of practitioners. Joining Accelerate has offered me an amazing opportunity to develop education, to improve lower limb care for patients and service users.

Mentoring programme

But it doesn’t end there. We maintain our focus on continuing to upskill our own workforce and to that end we have now developed a formalised Mentoring Programme which will be delivered by Professor Christine Moffatt together with Fran Worboys, one of the original founders of Accelerate.

This is a hugely exciting development for Accelerate and we are thrilled to be joined by Christine who is International Professor of Clinical Nursing at Nottingham Trent university and has been involved in wound healing research for 30 years and lymphoedema research for 20 years.  She has published extensively and is recognised worldwide for her contribution to this area of work. What does Christine have to say about this new addition to her portfolio?

I am SO delighted to be joining the dynamic team at Accelerate and I share their passion about the desperate need to improve care for everyone who suffers with wounds and lymphoedema. I am sure this will be an incredibly fulfilling partnership and I am honoured to become part of the team.

We too are as delighted as Christine as we begin our new journey of change and impact in 2021.

Looking forwards

And so we end 2020 energised by the potential future for Accelerate and as committed as we were 10 years ago to creating the change we want and need to see for the community and population we serve: those individuals living with lower limb conditions, complex wounds and lymphoedema who have been victims of system failure. Our drive towards social impact is paramount for the coming year.