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Our service user experts lead equalities outreach discussion

Service user experts from all over England have come together to discuss how to improve outcomes for people with multiple needs.

The experts support and scrutinise each of the 12 Big Lottery funded Fulfilling Lives programmes that are developing and delivering new ways of supporting people with combinations of mental health, homelessness, substance misuse and offending problems.

Resolving Chaos is the lead contractor for the You First partnership delivering the work in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham and our own Expert Service User Reference Group (ESURG) hosted this national gathering.

The National Expert Citizens’ Group (NECG) meeting gave members an opportunity to discuss the issues that most affect those with multiple needs and use their experience to work towards a national approach to these issues.

Since the previous meeting in Manchester in November members of the NECG had been working in four groups considered to be disengaged: young people 18-30, women, LGBT and black and minority ethnic. With this in mind the meeting was focused on how we can all ensure that these groups are better engaged by services.

We were delighted to be joined by a number of speakers from some fantastic organisations. Katherine Sacks Jones the director at Agenda, an alliance for women and girls at risk, talked to the group about the work they do and gave insights about how we can all better engage women.

Samuel Martin the chief executive of Streamz, an organisation that takes innovative approaches to improving the employment prospects and wellbeing of young people, talked about how his organisation reaches young adults. Sam focused on how important positive role-models can be for young people.

Monty Moncrieff joined us from London Friend, an organisation that supports the health and mental wellbeing of the LGBT community in London. Monty talked about the services they provide and how they engage London’s LGBT community.

In each section the working groups made presentations. This included an illustrative play performed by the Women’s group and a graphic novel by the LGBT group.

The different sessions created a great deal of debate of constructive debate.

ESURG and the NECG members are now planning their summer meeting to further make the lives of people with multiple and complex needs better.