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Blog: “Your voice really does count so please get involved"

To mark #CoProductionWeek2024 our Chief Executive David Woolley is sharing how co-production is at the heart of our organisation and the many different ways people can get involved.

Co-Production Week 2024

By David Woolley, Chief Executive, Your Voice Counts

Co-Production Week is an annual reminder of the incredible value and insight that people with lived experience of services bring to an organisation when they are given the opportunity and support to share their views and be part of how services are designed and delivered.

Over the years, at Your Voice Counts we’ve developed and refined our approach to co-production and we've seen first-hand how rich, detailed and vital the conversations are that emerge with people with lived experience. We’re very proud to offer many different ways for people to get involved and use their experiences to help us bring about positive changes.

This year, for example, we launched our dedicated Co-Production team who create and deliver opportunities for people to join in in a way that suits them. In the coming months the team will be setting up a network for people who have used our advocacy services in Gateshead, Newcastle and South Tyneside. They’ll be looking to create different ways for people to have their say about the health and social care services they use as well as giving people the chance to shape how our own advocacy service works and I’m really excited to see how this progresses.

We’ve also been carrying out some targeted recruitment for new members with lived experience of learning disabilities, autism and mental ill health to join our Board, putting lived experience right at the heart of our governance. We employ Oli, our dedicated Board Support Worker, to help make sure we can support people with lived experience of services to be fully involved in the work of the Board, and we’re keen to talk to anyone who would like to make a difference, whether they have experience of sitting on a Board or not.

Alongside this, we’ve launched our Board Reference Group, which is made up of people who’ve used our services, or who care for someone who has. The group is able to feed into the decisions our Board makes in a more informal way than joining the Board as a member. These are fun interactive sessions that happen every few months and at our next meeting we’ll be talking about the ways people prefer to share their views with us. We'll be posting the date and time of this session soon so please can an eye out if you're interested.

We’re very proud of all of these different ways to get involved and I’d urge anyone who’s interested to get in touch to find out more. By joining us, you can help shape the services that matter to you and your community. Your experiences are important; they help us understand what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to change, and by working together we can find solutions, make an impact and improve services for everyone.

Your voice really does count so please do get involved if you can.


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