Tickets sell out for Surrey’s first Lived Experience conference at Dorking Halls

Surrey’s first Lived Experience conference will see speakers, with first-hand experience of addiction, mental health, and other issues, reveal how their insights have shaped county services.
Two of the organisers of Surrey’s first Lived Experience conference, Jamie Poole and Colette Lane. Picture contributedTwo of the organisers of Surrey’s first Lived Experience conference, Jamie Poole and Colette Lane. Picture contributed
Two of the organisers of Surrey’s first Lived Experience conference, Jamie Poole and Colette Lane. Picture contributed

Tickets sold out within days for The Power of Lived Experience conference which takes place on January 31 at Dorking Halls. A crowd of over 120 will hear from people who have experience of addiction, homelessness, mental health issues, abuse and offending.

Two of the organisers, Jamie Poole and Colette Lane, have had their own lived experience and say the views of the people who need a service are vital.

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“For three years I had my own mental health issues, which meant I could no longer work as a teacher,” said Colette, who is the Lived Experience Development Lead at Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SABP).

“At the time SABP were thinking about becoming a recovery-focused service, and as a service user I felt I could use my own insights to help them achieve that. Over the last 10 years, we have seen how our service users play a unique role in shaping the services they use.

People with lived experience help promote hope, provide inspiration, and showcase recovery in action. This lived experience conference is a way of hearing their voice, while thanking them for that incredible insight and input.”

Jamie said that his own lived experience has helped to shape the person he is today. He now works as Lived Experience project manager for the Changing Futures programme with Surrey County Council.

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Part of Jamie’s role involves co-chairing the Bridge the Gap referrals panel. Bridge the Gap is a Changing Futures initiative supporting people with multiple disadvantage across the county with specialist outreach.

Jamie said: “With over 18 years of recovery and gaining experience working in addiction, mental health, criminal justice and housing I’ve been able to use my lived and learned experience to help others.

“Lived experience and learned experience are both needed and should be valued equally. I am passionate about the lived experience community voice and the value it holds.”

Jamie said that The Changing Futures Surrey Lived Experience Community has a wide membership where everyone can talk about their experiences and shape the services they use.

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“Of course, it is important to include people who have experienced accessing support locally, but we must also include those not currently accessing services and those who have never accessed services,” he said.

“We mustn’t forget families and carers too, whose views are equally valuable when developing the right support.

“When involving people with lived experience in genuine co-production it must be authentic and not just tokenistic if we want to see positive change in the longer term for vulnerable residents in Surrey.

“There is still a long way to go with overcoming prejudice and stigma, particularly for those with lived experience. However, the value lived and living experience brings to the conversation when designing and commissioning community services cannot be underestimated.”

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The Power of Lived Experience conference’s key note speaker is Melanie Ball, author of the NHS’ thought piece Raising The Glass Ceiling, which looks at the importance of peer support and lived experience. The conference is also supported by a number of organisations including Richmond Fellowship, Surrey Heartlands, Mary Frances Trust, Surrey County Council and Catalyst and speakers from the National Expert Citizens Group (NECG).

To find out how to support The Power of Lived Experience conference, or for more information, contact Colette Lane at [email protected]

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