Every Step of the Way is our flagship user involvement and engagement programme.
We support, train, enable and empower people with multiple and complex needs to participate in BCFT.
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 our Experts By Experience choose to be involved in being part of changing services and systems through sharing their lived experience as service users.
We have a number of volunteers who work with the Inreach/Outreach Team and West Midlands Police in the community, helping train police staff and officers and offering their own lived experience both to members of the public and trained professional alike. You can read about some of this work 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 professionals have previously failed.
The Voice of Lived Experience
Our experts regularly attend the service user led National Experts Citizens Group, and have representation at BCFT Core Partnership, ensuring the project as a whole always has input from those with experience. 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 findings to people who have the power to make the changes needed around poverty.
We 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.
EXPERTS SUCCESS STORIES
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What do we mean by multiple and complex needs?
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.
What is an Expert by Experience?
An Expert By Experience (EBE) 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.
What is an Involvement Champion?
An Involvement Champion (IC) is an EBE with additional responsibilities who has committed to take on the role of getting other EBEs involved in Every Step Of The Way.
If you become an IC you may be asked to complete a DBS check and have the opportunity to attend events both locally and nationally.
What is an Engagement and Development Worker?
Each EBE and IC is allocated their own Engagement and Development Worker who works alongside the them providing individual support and guidance.
What's in it for you?
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.
What is required of an EBE?
All we ask is that you are willing to participate!
We 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!
How do I get involved in Every Step of the Way?
Make contact with us (our details are on the right) 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.