Ify it has the same journey with coproduction and how coproduction really enables people to live good lives, really articulate the value of coproduction and the real life application of coproduction.

morning. Thank you for agreeing to talk to me. Do you want to introduce yourself? Yeah, sure. My name is Anthony

Pick up. Um, I currently work for the main coalition, which is making every adult matter which is under homeless link in London. Um, and my role is the involved and inclusion manager

So I you know, I help manage all the express, my lived experience, but also a great deal of what I do is designing and delivering training, bespoke training for local authorities, um, around co production and how to co produce systems. Sounds like a really interesting job because I love it. Could you could you tell me about and experiences of yours doing, or What's your experience of co production? Well, I suppose if I go back in my personal timeline, So, like you, I've got I'm a personal lived experience and lived in a situation in my op, a disadvantage for about 25 years

So that was mental health. Um, I used drug and alcohol services. I was homeless for several times over 25 years, lived in an insecure accommodation, was the victim of abuse at the hands of like Gangsters in Manchester and stuff like that

So what happened to us is all that came to a head, really? And I was misdiagnosed as, um my myself was misdiagnosed. With 25 years. I had every diagnosis you can imagine, but they couldn't get the right one

And then I decided to I fled Manchester because I got into a situation where I was in fear of my life. And I lived in Ken, um, in Canterbury, like, about 15 years before for a couple of years. So I came back here and I found myself at catching knives, which is the local day centre for the homeless people

Um, and I was really lucky because there were two mental health nurses who were based the community mental health nurses and one of them, um, I thought that I was worth an effort and he had a connection with the local um, psychiatrist called Bill Bamber, and he got me in to see him. I got the correct diagnosis of bipolar. And then what happened was within six weeks of my life went from being unmanageable, as it had been for 25 years

And once I was put on the correct medication, I became manageable. And now this is the point at which I got involved in co production because I ended up in a much larger. We're living in a much larger charity for people with homelessness in 10 called ports

Right? And one of the things I've been there about six months, and they were recruiting for peer mentors. And, uh, because I was living in a very stable way. Then, um, I did the interview to be a peer mentor and was taken on

So that was my That was the beginning of my involvement in co production. You know, I found it fantastic. You know, it gave me a purpose

I felt really motivated. And I think this is one of the important things is we always talk about co production being really beneficial for the for projects for systems and all that. But to my mind, what people tend to overlook is the incredible benefits it can bring to the individual involved in that co production

And it certainly did for me. And then I ended up volunteering at catching life. Then they took me on as a paid member of stuff

Then I managed the night shower. And then I became an involvement officer at Portrait, which was the larger charity where I worked for 4.5 years, Um, doing all sorts of of co produced activities with with our client group

And then I learned So what I learned in that about 4.5 years enabled me to get the job at 100 thing where I've been for just over a year and a half, you know, And also in another part of co production that was really involved in was, um, at that time. So when I first started my job at ports like my manager homeless think they're advertising for people lived experience to sit on the lived Experience Advisory panel homeless link, and she suggested that I should apply

And I did, and I was accepted. I sat. I sat on that panel for four years, the last year and a half of which I chaired it, you know, And that gave me

And, you know, we did so much stuff with external agencies. Is that group so that was really a really strong co production group. Because agencies like the Department of Work and pension department for health

Even politicians become and consult with us on the policy changes they wanted to make, and very often, you know. Sorry, I'm going on. No, I just wanted to say that, like, really great stuff you're talking about, but I'm getting, like, a massive crack or, um, dissent

Sorry. Um, seems a passport that that seems that better. It's a bit better

So you're talking about politicians, department of work and pensions, and all the different people have come to you to interrupt. You don't want to lose any of that? No, no. And, you know, and for me

So my journey through co production has been from somebody who benefited massively on it. Initially, on a personal level. Insofar as you know, it gave me a purpose

It gave me confidence that allowed me to network. My knowledge base increased all the time, you know? And these are the things that are now trying and enable the experts who work with us to achieve as well, you know. And but I think it's really important as well to think, you know, you have to take into account what people want

I mean, there is this for example, in drug services over the years. You know what they see is a success in terms of like development of an individual is so somebody uses a service, then they get clean. Then they wait two years, then they're volunteer and then they get paid paid work for that organisation

Now that works for lots and lots of people. But it's not what everybody wants. And I think, you know, it's really important to Taylor

You know, I think everything I think her production comes down to fundamentally the single most important thing is the building of relationships and listening to people and saying, You know, okay, all these things, you know you can be involved but what you really want to do, you know, and when people, when we get new experts who come onto the come on to the meme expert pool, I always do what's called like a skills audit with them. So we do an interview and it's like, Okay, what, you're interested in what you could do that? What do you want to be better at, You know, all that kind of thing and then we try and tailor their experience around those things because And I think what's really, really encouraging is that since I took over, we've had 100% retention rate of experts. No one's left, you know, and that's like pretty as you well know

That's pretty unusual, you know? So I think we're doing it right. But I think that that that that holding a relationship is really important thanks Symphony. So you talk so passionately about the value that your fan personally someone doing about sort of the value that co production has on organisations, objects or society in general

And if you could share with me some of your thoughts on that, Yeah, I mean, without sort of going into, like a whole lecture, I think, um, you know that concept, nothing about us without us, just two concepts. I think that's really important. The first is nothing about us without us, you know? And I'm sure you've heard that phrase in many, many times, and and that's you know, that basically saying If you're going to make decisions that affect my life, I want an input into those decisions, you know? And I think that's an absolutely human right

And the other thing I think is really important is, um, the idea that if somebody has experienced a service and you know a particular lifestyle or whatever, they are the expert. They are the expert on that subject, you know, and I learned that experience is very, very valuable, you know, and you have to have people with academic backgrounds with social backgrounds, professional backgrounds, you know, in the mix. That's why it's called co production and not just lived experience, you know, so and this is what a lot of people forget this, you know that there is a huge difference and we try to try and drum this into people in training

There's a huge difference between the lived experience group and the co production group lived. Experience groups are very, very valuable, you know, and particularly in terms of mutual support and, like, you know, benefiting people in in following their goals and stuff like that. But the co production, the group is something entirely different

It's where you're bringing, you know, you're bringing all the components of the system together to make share decisions, you know, and yeah, so I think I think those those two things are really crucial So I wanted to ask you How do you feel personally when you co produced what sent what feelings do you? Um Okay, so as a if I'm if I'm the person you know, when I was the person who lived experience in the room and so they have lived experience in the room. I felt it really validating, you know, And and of course, this depends on the skill of the facilitator. But you know, to actually to voice opinion and then have it heard

And then when those opinions turn into action, it's so it's so life affirming. It's fantastic because if you lived a life with a lot of a disadvantage for 25 years you have been at the bottom of a power structure almost your entire life. You know, nothing that you did really has made it

And that's that's very often part of the problem that people feel completely that they have no power over their lives. So in terms of being involved as a person and lived experience, I think that's the most overwhelming thing, that sense of like personal power and self confidence increasing and stuff. And I think you know so from the other side of things

If you're if I'm now co producing something with a group of people in comprising professionals and people lived experience, it shouldn't surprise me this. But it always does the depth of understanding and expression that people have lived experience often have, you know, And you can see it on the face of the professionals. Really? That Oh, my God

We didn't realise. You know what I mean? Sometimes people feel quite ashamed because they think, you know, we should have been asking him all the time. I didn't realise because one of the things you fight, you fight and I thought all my working life really around co production is that when you're trying to promote co production to particularly senior or middle management, what they say is, well, they're just complain

They're just they're just going among, you know, and it's not going to be constructive. Whereas the truth is the complete opposite. Very often, people who lived experience come up with solutions because, you know, if you've got somebody who's who's 25 30 years lived experience, they've seen so many different models, so many different approaches

They know what works you know what doesn't work, So there are oversight is remarkable, and and and then you might have professionals have been in the job 18 months, you know? So of course, the person who has the experience is going to have a greater depth of knowledge on this subject. And I think it's really wonderful when you see that Dawn on people on professionals. You know, that's really, really good, and that's that's when the magic starts to happen

Then you know, thanks for sharing that really important points. So I'm wondering about your own perceptions or way of thinking. Has that changed as a result of co producing? Are learning all the time

You know, I yeah, my depth of understanding of co production and also like, you know, I mean, I've been doing some training reason in an area, and I went down to do my usual two days coproduction training with them, and it became very apparent. The system, the system in the networks in that area were not yet developed enough to do co productions so far as they were very disjointed. They weren't talking to each other

You know, the different agencies there was a big boy. There was a big gap between the charity agencies and the statutory agencies, you know. So what I had to do was rewrite the training to address those things before we could then move on, you know? So I think that's that's really, you know, saying, change

I'm learning all the time. You know, Um, I think it's, uh it's such a hugely important subject. I think you have to have many strings to your bow in a way because not everybody and, you know, and also because I deliver training to people who are frontline practitioners

But all sorts of commissioners, Well, that isn't the same training. It has to be different because otherwise you lose both of them, you know, and it's not. It's not like, higher or lower, but it is a bit, but it's just different

So what is the value of co production to, and what impact do you feel it has? Well, I think I think the concept of zero the traditional way of service provision in design was top down, wasn't it? So you had the professionals come in with all the spreadsheets and flip charts and reports and what not and they would decide what is best for people based on things like AP and hard results and stuff like that always have to have in currency this essential government or to funders, you know, And And as a result, uh, and you and the other massive problem was, that is, was silo commissioning so that, um, each each different service experienced by somebody we might put this advantage will be commissioned in in isolation. So they didn't communicate, so they would they would put against each other. I mean, you have the plastic, you think where mental health services and drug services would pull against each other, one would say, Oh, we can't help you until you do this and you never say, Well, you can't help you until you do that, you know? And so, by engaging people who ever lived those experiences and listening to them and they're saying actually, well, if you do this and this, it will work, you know? And so you have things like the trusted person model come into effect and like bipolar, um, Jill diagnosis, commissioning things like that, you know what I mean? And that there is a direct result of consulting with people, you know? So I think in terms of the power to change those things for the better, it absolutely has it

So, like in your somewhat direct result, have you seen in the work that you've done? Um, okay, let me think. All right. So I'll give you one example

So I've been working with the co production group in Cambridge, which started just over two years ago, and it started with three people in the room. And then they join forces with the grassroots organisation that was to do with drug abuse and homelessness. Sorry

Drug issues and homelessness. Um and so they and then they formed a group of about seven or eight, and then they got over time, they got the operational lead in the area, interested to buy in. And then lots of so and then lots of charity agencies started to represent in this group

Faith agencies started to represent in this group. Uh, the last time I was there, there were three commissioners in the room, and it's like So now it's a co production group of about 22 23 people, and they they they've had, in fact, they consulted on prison release on sex work, Um, on homelessness on housing First, you know, they've consulted on all these things in a very practical way, and that grew from nothing that you know, and and there's another one. I'll give you another example

So in in Preston and there's a language of forum, and this started out as a group of people who had criminal justice, experience and also many other issues. And they just started to meet weekly in the Churchill and just created a mutual support group. And then what happened is over time they became a registered charity

And then they spawned an agency called Red Rose Recovery, which is a which is now one of the recovery provided Sri Preston Council. And the last thing they did was they ran. I think it started about three years ago

Three or four years ago, they managed to get permission. God knows how they did this, right to, um, in custody suites. So when when people come in with drug issues in custody suites, instead of it being a carrot work or whatever, it was a person who lived experience of criminal justice and drug and drug issues who was actually in the custody suite, who would then assist them for 12 weeks and help navigate through the system

Now. There were so many objections from the police concerns about security and all that kind of thing, but they were lucky to get one of the chief constable's thought it was a really good idea. So they did it and they ran it in one custody suite for a year

And at the end of that year, they rolled it out to nine others. Nine other cities. So does that answer your question? It does

Thank you really great. Great example there. Um, so I've got a couple of final questions, so I really like I've heard a lot about kind of the impact and the value and personal plus organisation and societal

So I'm wondering if you've got any, like, top tips to co production talk to, uh, um, build relationships involve everybody, um, upscale rather than done down. I think that's really important. You know, um, offer offer ongoing support because certain aspects of co production can be triggering, depending on the subject matter that you're working

So but that goes back to relationship building. Really? I mean, it's all part of that. Um, that's all I can think of

Really? You sure there are lives? Well, yeah, no problem. You know, I'm lots nuts and but really important stuff around relationship building and facilitation. So do you have anything else you want me to share about the value of co production? Not really

I think I think I've said it pretty much in answering your questions. I mean, are you happy with that? Was that all right? It's brilliant. If you're okay

I'll stop the recording there. Yeah, Cool. Uh huh


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