Every Step of the Way

Inspiring and empowering people who have experienced multiple disadvantage to make a difference.

About Every Step of the Way

Our lived experience engagement element of the programme. We guide and empower people with lived experience to use their voice to challenge and change systems in Birmingham and beyond. Lived experience is integral to the programme and the backbone of all the work we do.

See what our Experts by Experience say…

Sam’s Story

“I have achieved so much in my time as an EBE!  I’ve been involved in so many rewarding opportunities where we get to see for ourselves the changes being implemented at places like the DWP, BCC and Citizen’s Advice, to name but a few.  I have discovered something that I not only enjoy and am good at, but has given me a purpose and direction in where I want me future to go”.

“Often, the viewpoint of the service user is overlooked but us offering our experiences in a productive way changes the way services think about how they’re engaging with people like us!  By using our voices and seeing our pasts as our biggest assets we’re the way to a much more positive outcome for systems change”.

“I started as an EBE when I was 6 months clean and sober and was ready for the next stage of my recovery journey.  It got me into a stable structure, routine and purpose in life again. It gave me the opportunity to start helping others and giving something back to society”.

“Sharing my story with others has a massive therapeutic value whilst giving other people hope that there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel! Knowing that we can influence and change the way services are run by our own lived experience is massive.  It’s given someone like me, who once once invisible to these services, a voice”.

Richard‘s Story

“Being an EBE is important as it puts to use some of my existing experiences having accessed services and been involved with multiple and complex needs on different levels.  It means influencing services and having a say in how things are developed”.

“I have undergone training, been invited to contribute to groups, am due to start some peer support for new claimants of Universal Credit, attended webinars, and even on Zoom.  I have passed an interview to become an Involvement Champion so I will be helping to promote the service and also supporting other EBEs. I have kept myself busy and continued to develop my CV”.

“Experts can help influence policy at high levels, they can help influence and develop services, help support others living experiences including those with multiple and complex needs.  They can work towards their own self-development and contribute to the development of others”.

“I became an EBE to gain skills and experiences that would help me find employment, to give help and support to people with multiple and complex needs and to maintain my confidence”.

James‘s Story

“Only by highlighting the things we feel they could do better can we hope for any sort of improvement to the services they provide.  I hope EBEs can persuade the service providers to adopt a more holistic approach which will begin to get to the root cause of our problems”.

“As EBEs we all come from different backgrounds and have travelled different journeys which is the beauty of being part of our EBE team.  This enables us to get a wide range of opinions and lived experience leading to a very wise and varied team of people to give feedback, advice and direction to complex needs services and public health meetings”.

“20 years of experience showed me public services had not listened or learnt how to adapt their services to the people they should be helping.  I had met literally hundreds of complex needs service users through recovery meetings, self help groups and volunteering with CGL, Aquarius, Crisis and New Leaf Rehab.  With the knowledge and experience I gained from conversations and listening to these real people I hoped I could get their voices heard”.

“A milestone for me was giving evidence to a House of Lords public health committee where I felt I got my voice heard and my opinions taken on board to be used in future systems change.  As an EBE I gave evidence and my experiences to an alcohol awareness group and I have become an active member of NECG, which brings together Experts from around the county”.

Paul’s Story

“To me, being an EBE is using my experience of complex needs to help coproduce services and make sure that services meet the needs of the people that they are there to serve”.

“As an EBE I have been involved in many different projects including speaking to the head of Housing First (BCC), CCG procurement panel, transformational groups with the CCG and getting involved with the Peer Mentor pilot at the Citizens Advice Bureau”.

“I think often when working in partnership with other organisations, people with lived experience have a bigger impact as people are more receptive to Experts who have been through what they are talking about”.

“I became an EBE as I wanted to change services in Birmingham to others like me who have complex needs.  My experience of services was really bad, and I want to make sure people with complex needs get more integrated support”.

‘Experts by Experience’ stories…

Eddie’s Story

Joel’s Story

Mandy’s Story

Michael’s Story

Sarah’s Story

Shabina’s Story

Don’t just take our word for it…


“I would not hesitate to involve EBEs in our work again and genuinely the opportunity arises soon.  Theirs is a unique perspective on the world and to have a group of people trained and supported to share that perspective is frankly gold dust to anyone who is genuinely interested in public and social research and policy development”.

Poverty Truth

“We needed people with a story to tell, who understood that the story was bigger than themselves and who were willing to share that experience.  The ESOW participants were a key part of the commission, we felt enriched by having them with us.  If we were to run another commission we would get in touch with yourselves and other organisations in our contacts who work in the lived experience sector”.

Citizens Advice

“The opportunity to hear directly from people who are/have lived in challenging circumstances is extremely powerful and valuable. Just to say thank you to Becky, Richard, and Reuben for sharing so openly their life experiences and giving us some valuable insight into how we can improve our services”.

Sifa Fireside Birmingham

“Definitely, fabulous service run by inspirational staff.  If you could bottle and sell the passion and commitment from the staff and Experts you would be very rich.  Excellent service which I recommend to all other agencies.  I would like to see more Experts working in hospitals, doctor’s surgeries and even job centres.  Just a brilliant, empowering service.  Much needed in Birmingham.  Couldn’t think of a better team to run the EBE service in Brum”!

The Rep Theatre

“Thanks you, it’s been an absolute pleasure working with ESOW participants and appreciate the opportunity to work with Birmingham Changing Futures Together”.


“I would use the EBEs again, and have previously.  I feel their insight and opinions are invaluable, particularly when discussing our future Peer Mentor roles.  We are already working in partnership with ESOW as partners in Birmingham Changing Futures Together”.

Take a look at our videos here

A Positive Change for the Future

Our Stories

Residential Team Work

“We had Experts by Experience come into the office to share their experience with team members, and it was really from there that everybody thought – you know what – this would be a good partnership… just listening to their stories made a massive impact, not only on myself but other advisors and managers – seeing it from their perspective and what challenges they faced in terms of trying to get help, from anyone”

– Citizens Advice Birmingham

Get in touch

For more information on Every Step of the Way, or to find out how our Experts by Experience can help your organisation, please get in touch using the details below:

[email protected]

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