Co-Production Learn Real Lives

The immense value of co-designed and co-delivered training

Beth Britton, Trainer and Social Care Consultant

Co-production has long been a buzz word in social care, but I know many people with lived experience have felt that expert by experience ‘involvement’ in social care has at times been more tokenistic than genuinely all-encompassing.

After 10+ years working in social care, I can say I’ve learnt far more from people with lived experience than any textbook. With this in mind, when ARC England approached me about delivering learning disability focused loss and bereavement training, I knew I could never design and deliver this course alone.

Training in partnership with experts

Luckily, I’ve worked with learning disability provider MacIntyre since 2013, and I know how inclusive their approach is as outlined most recently in their Big Plan .

During MacIntyre’s   we worked with many people with learning disabilities, including Jess (and her mum Jo). Jess has a wonderful ability to talk openly about her thoughts and feelings, making her our ideal Expert by Experience to co-design and co-deliver this training.

Jess says of her work on the training:

“It’s been good meeting up with Nicky and Beth on Zoom. I’ve created videos and I’ve been able to share my ideas, and even explode a coke bottle! (Join us on the training to find out more!). I’ve worked with Katie (my support worker) to plan parts of the training in the time between seeing Nicky and Beth. I’m really excited about running our first training session.”

My colleague at MacIntyre, Nicola Payne, Best Practice Manager for Health and Families, has been fundamental in supporting Jess, as well as adding her immense expertise to the topic of loss and bereavement.

Nicola says of working on this training:

Myself, Jess and Beth have come together in a co-productive way, in partnership with ARC England, to create an interactive and accessible workshop. We have truly worked collaboratively, and it’s been wonderful to see Jess’s confidence grow in this topic. Teamwork really can make the dream work with creative thinking and a determination to overcome barriers together.”

Why commission training that is co-designed and co-delivered?

From my initial discussions with ARC England it was clear they wanted to move their training model from an academic focus to a lived experience focus. Clive Parry, ARC England Director, explains:

“ARC has been working more closely with people who draw on services in recent years to increase the voice and representation of people with lived experience in our work. We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Macintyre and excited to be able to offer – for the first time – training that has been co-produced and co-delivered by an expert by experience.”

Clive’s view is underlined by the thoughts of MacIntyre CEO, Sarah Burslem, who passionately believes that all training must be authentically co-produced:

MacIntyre’s view is that people with lived experience are best placed to design and deliver training. We are delighted that this has been the case for the MacIntyre and ARC England Loss and Bereavement course. I have no doubt that the impact of this training will be quite profound.

What did learners think?

The real proof of whether a training approach is successful is, of course, feedback from learners. The first cohort from our training told us:

Phoebe: “Wonderful training ladies, thank you :-)”

David: “It’s been great, well done everyone.”

Robyn: “Brilliant training! Thank you, very informative.”

Want to see this training in action?

Further sessions of our Loss and Bereavement training for ARC England are on: 24th May 2023, 20th September 2023 and 13th March 2024. Find out more and book here




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