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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Ten terrific years of Tamarind 

Published: 09/12/2022


Ten years ago, on Friday 7 December 2012, a medium secure unit in Yardley called ‘The Tamarind Centre’ opened its doors for the first time. 

From healthcare assistants to clinical psychiatrists, over 300 jobs were created to staff this 89-bedded unit. Named after the African herb Tamarind – known for healing and recovery – hundreds of service users across Birmingham have since benefitted from vital mental health support, at a time when they need it most. 

The Tamarind Centre provides assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for men who have been assessed as needing care in a medium secure environment. It aims to serve the population in central and north Birmingham, as well as offering specialist services for complex, challenging and long-term care. There are seven wards that make up the centre: Sycamore (ICU), Hibiscus and Myrtle (acute), Laurel (Specialist Personality Disorder), Cedar (long term rehabilitation) and Acacia and Lobelia (rehabilitation). 

As part of its 10th birthday celebrations this week, dozens of Tamarind’s staff and service users came together in the sports hall, to pay tribute to the last decade (#TamarindTurns10). Current staff including Dr Anis Ahmed and Hazel Ndoro shared their sentiments along with former staff Jeremy Kenny-Herbert (Clinical Director of Reach Out), previous Associate Director, Mary Elliffe, and Tamarind’s former consultant, James Reed. Messages from the Board, Clinical Director Tom Clarke and former Clinical Nurse Manager Sarah Beasley were also shared. 

Throughout the afternoon, everyone had chance to treat themselves to milkshakes from the ‘Shake Bar’, take part in a Tamarind History Quiz, view the poster presentations, tuck into some tasty Indian food and enjoy other entertainment including music and compering from former HCA and local stand-up comedian ‘Lovdev

Hazel NDoro, Clinical Nurse Manager who joined BSMHFT in 2008 and has worked at the Tamarind centre for the last nine years, said: 

“I was honoured and privileged to be a part of the Tamarind’s 10th Anniversary which took us on a journey of how it all began, the challenges and success stories along the way and the learning for us all over the last decade. 

“There was a lot of planning for months with colleagues and service users to make this day memorable – a big thank you to the Tamarind Team, who always come together to make things happen! I am very proud to be a part of the Tamarind community and I wish Tamarind many more years of thriving and making a positive impact on people’s lives.” 

A graffiti mural, painted by local artist Adam Illes was also unveiled on one wall of the sports hall. Adam worked with members of the Narcotics Anonymous group that meets every two weeks at Tamarind. With the theme of hope and inspiration, staff and service users came together – led by David Ryan, Debbie Gall and Richard Humphrey - to help create the work of art featuring a tree of hope, a piano, reference to diversity and Black History Month and the NHS heroes graphic.

BSMHFT’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Associate Director of Operations (Secure Care and Offender Health) Marimouttou Coumarassamy, added: 

“I am incredibly proud of the staff at Tamarind Centre who always go an extra mile for their patients and their families. I look forward to seeing Tamarind as a centre of excellence for medium secure care.” 

The event was also an opportunity to thank and give out certificates to the Tamarind staff who are this year celebrating 10 years with BSMHFT. 

Tamarind staff group celebrating 10 years