This month we’re celebrating Co-production Week (5-9 July) to recognise the value and potential that each individual has and their capacity to make real, positive change in the provision of services. It also reminds everyone how integral it is to work together to provide the right type of support for our communities. We need each other to get services right. Co-production creates a space for equal partnerships between service providers and service users to work together to try and achieve this.
Here at Mary Frances Trust, Co-production has always been at the heart of what we do. Right from the beginning when we were a clubhouse and had the ability to involve the people using our services in decisions on a daily basis, to now when we have grown as an organisation with an active Advisory Group to guide us. Co-production is not easy and we recognise there are challenges and obstacles in trying to build and improve services together, but we are passionate about people having a voice in how MFT is shaped. Striving towards Co-production is something we value highly!
What’s the Advisory Group?
Our Advisory Group is made up of people with lived experience of using mental health services and who have a passion about shaping Mary Frances Trust and the support that is available to people. We currently have 10 active members who meet once a month and get involved in various projects and discussions throughout the organisation. We’re a friendly, welcoming group and are always looking for more people to join and share their experience!
Over the last few months, our Advisory Groups has been reviewing and refreshing what we do and how we operate as well as working on lots of new exciting things, including:
- MFT Welcome Pack – Client involvement in this project has been integral to ensure that the new pack is just what people need when they register with MFT! We will share the new pack once it is finished and we hope you like it!
- Safe Haven Engagement Survey – MFT are reviewing the current premises of the Epsom Safe Haven and consulted the Advisory Group on the engagement plan and survey questions in order to gather the views of as many people as possible!
- MFT Online Programme – The Advisory Group has been working closely with the Community Connections team to look at how to support people when moving out of lockdown. It has been really important to have people with lived experience of mental health involved in how MFT moves forward with their online programme. This is an on-going piece of work and we’re excited to be involved!
How we’re celebrating Co-production Week
Working alongside the people who use our services to help shape Mary Frances Trust is extremely important to us and should be celebrated! We want to shed a light on all the recent work of our Advisory Group and give all our clients the chance to contribute too. We have been planning some great things for the week of 5-9 July 2021 for you to get involved in. These include:
- Minds Coming Together Course – This three-part course has been co-produced with our Advisory Group. Join us to learn about Co-production, working in partnership with service providers and how your experience can influence Mary Frances Trust! The third session is optional and involves taking part in a real Advisory Group meeting to see what it’s like!
- The Wellbeing Hour – we’ve dedicated the first half of our July radio show to Co-Production. You’ll hear a panel discussion on why Co-production is important and what it is like being an Advisory Group member. You’ll also hear a monologue from our Advisory Group member Keri on her experience of recently joining the Advisory Group, Co-production and mental health stigma. Keri’s monologue has also been turned into a blog available from the blog section of our website.
- New Webpages – we’re in the process of redesigning our Advisory Group and Co-Production webpages with more up-to-date information, members’ profiles and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Do take a peek when you have a moment!
Whether you’re just interested in Co-production, would like to be involved in one project or think our Advisory Group might be for you, Co-production Week is a great time to start getting involved!
We have several opportunities for people with lived experience of mental health to get involved through on-going projects such as our radio show, surveys such as our recent Young People (16-25) Wellbeing Survey or with membership to our Advisory Group. If you are interested or would like to have an informal chat about any of these, please email Redeka, our Co-Production and Community Engagement Worker, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Advisory Group Volunteer Role page.
Happy Co-Production Week everyone!
The Mary Frances Trust Team