Tod’s prestigious fellowship will help to boost town’s focus on mental health

Tod Sullivan, the new mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, will travel to the USA later this year

Tod Sullivan, the new mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, will travel to the USA later this year to research trauma-informed approaches to supporting good mental health. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Lowestoft man has been given a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity' to travel to the USA to research a global issue.

Tod Sullivan, Lowestoft's first Mental Health Ambassador, has been awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship.

Mr Sullivan, who is working with a range of organisations to deliver a trauma-informed approach for Lowestoft, has been selected from more than 1,000 applicants to travel for six weeks to America later this year.

He said: 'It is really exciting and prestigious for the town. My fellowship will see me travel to Washington State, Oregon, Maryland and California studying the kind of trauma informed approaches we want here in Lowestoft as part of our plan to make the town the best place in the world to experience positive mental health.'

Researching trauma-informed approaches to supporting good mental health, this prestigious fellowship will see Mr Sullivan exploring global best practice in the issues facing Britain today.

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He has been chosen to visit key cities in America – including Walla Walla in Washington – where mental health services are world renowned, and will then bring back ideas, research and insights to Lowestoft.

Churchill Fellowships are awarded by The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT), a UK charity set up in 1965 on the death of Sir Winston Churchill as a public memorial to his leadership. More than 5,500 Fellowships have been awarded since then.

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Mr Sullivan, whose Fellowship is supported by the Mental Health Foundation, said: 'It is a bit surreal. The Churchill Fellowship is amazing, I'm not sure if we've had someone from Lowestoft before.

'You can read research online, and I have been liaising with lots of people in America already, but until you go into a community in the USA and see how the mental health system works, or visit a school in Oregon where the Community Resilience process is ingrained in the children at a young age, you can't get a feeling of what is different.

'The aim is to then bring it back to Lowestoft, share with people and create a permanent link with places over there so we can hopefully put Lowestoft and Waveney on the map.'

Mr Sullivan hopes to speak with government ministers to 'share findings' across the country.

Prestigious award

Eight people from across East Anglia – including Mr Sullivan – scooped a prestigious Churchill Fellowship.

They are among 150 people from all regions of the UK who were selected this year from over 1,000 applicants.

'Churchill Fellows search the world for ways to improve their communities and professions,' said Julia Weston, Chief Executive of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT). 'This life-changing opportunity is open to everyone.'

Other award winners include Leisa Nichols-Drew, a forensic scientist and university lecturer from Wisbech; Rebecca Walker, a senior environmental specialist from Norwich; Gita Prasad, a health and social care commissioner from Norwich and others from Ipswich, Chelmsford, Huntingdown and Colchester.

The next chance to apply for a Churchill Fellowship is on April 27. Details are available via

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