I started my journey with the Involvement team by volunteering at the Nottingham centre. I am a service user and very passionate about the work of the Trust which genuinely involves people. I did two years at the Nottingham centre, volunteering my time helped me in my own road to recovery. Being able to use old skills I had gained throughout my working life and bring them to my involvement was instrumental in helping me return to work after some 12 years off sick with mental illness.
In 2008 I got the opportunity as a volunteer to help set up the second involvement Centre in New Ollerton (now the Rosewood involvement Centre). As the centre needed staff I believed I was well enough to apply for the involvement development worker post. I didn’t expect to be offered a job but thought the interview process would help me in my own development. I was in some kind of shock and surprise when I was offered the full-time post. After one year I was promoted to be the centre manager.
Since 2008 the Rosewood Centre has grown and developed to include not just working in the centre but also a great deal of outreach work north of the county and in the forensic division namely Rampton and Wathwood hospital.
In the Rosewood Centre itself we have core days of activities which include:
- A communications group which produces pieces for the Trust magazine (Positive), articles for the annual report, and, increasingly, work around feedback on our services and on social media.
- A weekly centre meeting with invited guests. These guests are a variety of people from trust staff which can include any position in the Trust: from healthcare support worker to chief executive and everything in between. This is an opportunity for service users and carers to listen to staff and have an opportunity to question them and give them feedback. We also invite a broad range of individuals as part of our partnership working with organisations such as our local clinical commissioning group, Healthwatch, and Mind.
We also have ad hoc days where we deliver training and development for service users and carers: this can be anything from the food hygiene to safeguarding. The Trust’s learning and development department help us deliver some of this training. This year we intend to promote more learning and development for our volunteers and have adapted some core training for all to attend. This should promote confidence and give a greater understanding of some of the work we do inside and outside the centres. These courses include audit training, confidentiality and safeguarding, involvement in interviewing, and patient feedback training. We also deliver training to patients in the forensic division which is very rewarding. This work is linked to the recovery college campuses and all courses are co-produced with service users and carers and staff.
All of our work links to one or more of our core activities: changing services, changing lives, and changing culture.
There are also a great deal of opportunities for people to attend the centre which help them with their own confidence and recovery. We have a weekly garden and music group, Friday is our main day with the centre meeting on that day as well as social inclusion activities.
I am the involvement interview teams lead for involvement. We have developed this process over the last eight years and have won awards for this work. We are involved in a great many interviews across the whole trust: all posts from staff nurses to directors to ward managers to executive directors and so on.
I continue to walk the road to recovery with my own mental health illness and am supported at work by the team. I do believe using my own lived experience (being on a ward myself, having been sectioned, and receiving care in the community from my CPN over the last 12 years) is very beneficial not only to the staff team but to service users and carers who attend the Rosewood Centre and also our outreach work.