WHAT DO WE DO?
All our volunteers have lived experience of 2 or more of the following issues: homelessness, addiction, re-offending and mental health problems.
Having experienced recovery and being in a stable place at this time our Experts By Experience, having used a number of services, are in a position where they choose to be involved in being part of changing services and systems through sharing their lived experience as service users.
HOW OUR EXPERTS ARE INVOLVED
We have a number of volunteers who work with the Inreach/Outreach Team and West Midlands police in the community and help train police staff/officers offering their own lived experience both to members of the public and trained professional alike read Bev’s story here
Some of our volunteers are also doing outreach work with the Trident Reach Homeless Patient Pathways service at hospitals across Birmingham such as the Q.E in Edgbaston, Good Hope in Sutton Coldfield and Heartlands Hospital in Bordesley Green.
Our volunteers also do outreach work with Midland Heart and visit a number of city hostels. By sharing their experiences and being an example of hope to people whose lives have gone into a downward spiral of chaos they can often gain trust and inspire change where professional people have often failed.
Our experts regularly attend the service user led National Experts Citizens Group, representation at Birmingham Changing Futures Together Core Partnership. They have been consulted about homelessness by Birmingham City Council and have been involved in a group that improves mental health services in NHS Mental Health
Our experts have been involved in a national project called the Poverty Truth Commission that gives a voice to those who have lived experience of poverty and presents the findings to those who have the power to make changes regarding this issue.
They have also been consulted by the homeless charity Crisis and have had a role in the Revolving Doors organisation who seek to change how the system deals with offenders with complex needs such as mental health problems and addiction
We also provide our experts with top quality training that enables them to excel as volunteers and develop their skills to progress toward further education, volunteering and employment. Our experts have recently been given recruitment practice training to help them with interviewing skills both as an interviewer and applicant. They have also received training in professional boundaries which is essential when dealing both with vulnerable people and finding a place in the modern work environment.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The multiple and complex needs that we focus on are Homelessness, Addiction, Re-Offending and Mental Health.
We use the acronym H.A.R.M for short.
An Expert By Experience, or E.B.E for short, is someone who is experiencing or has experienced two of the multiple and complex needs, with at least one of these needs being in the last five years.
An Involvement Champion, or I.C for short, is an Expert By Experience with additional responsibilities who have committed to take on the role of getting other Experts By Experience involved in Every Step Of The Way.
If you become an I.C you may be asked to complete a DBS check and have the opportunity to attend events both locally and nationally.
Each Expert by Experience and Involvement Champion is allocated their own Engagement and Development Worker who works alongside the Expert by Experience and Involvement Champion providing individual support and guidance.
All we ask is that you are willing to participate!
We do hold group meetings every four weeks and we would encourage you to attend as many of these as possible. You will be offered 1:2:1 time with an allocated Engagement and Development Worker to work on your own goals. This process is supported by completing a personal development plan and your opportunity to actively influence service re-design and delivery in Birmingham.
On top of this there will be many opportunities to get involved and get your voice heard!
You get an allocated Engagement and Development Worker, a development plan to reach the goals you set and plenty of opportunities to get involved and make a difference to local services! Expenses and training are also provided.
Make contact with us and we will invite you to an introduction meeting where you can find out more and get involved if you think it is for you.