To mark Multiple Disadvantage Day 2021, we asked a member of our Experts by Experience Network to reflect on what multiple disadvantage and co-production mean to them.
Multiple disadvantage and co-production in my own words
Guest blog by an Experts by Experience Network member
People facing ‘multiple disadvantage’ experience different challenges including substance misuse, homelessness, being involved with the criminal justice system and mental health issues. However, I don’t think ‘multiple disadvantage’ is a very useful term. It can make assumptions about people and make people feel left out.
I think ‘diverse challenges’ seems a better term to use as diverse can mean anything or a variety of different issues without making someone feel left out.
How does the Experts by Experience Network help people facing diverse challenges?
At the Experts by Experience Network, our group comes together to share experiences, tell stories and share opinions. There’s lots of opportunities for different people with different needs and different interests to gain confidence, knowledge and new experiences regardless of what anyone is trying to achieve
What does ‘co-production’ mean to you?
‘Co-production’ is when an individual influences the support and services received or when groups of people get together to influence the way that services are designed, commissioned and delivered.
What do you get out of taking part in the Experts By Experience Network?
You get the opportunity to take part in projects and discussions on how to influence the way organisations deliver their services as there is room for change and a lot of opportunities. You also get a place of security and trust. Everyone has different needs and goals and my goal from the beginning was to gain confidence and get over my anxiety/mental health and see if there was an opportunity for me anywhere.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining the Experts By Experience Network?
At first I was very wary and found myself questioning myself as to why I was attending meetings as I had no confidence at all to get involved in discussions due to my severe anxiety, but the more I persevered and kept involving myself the more I enjoyed being a part of the project and discussions.
There are different opportunities for different people and it’s always worth getting involved. It has changed the way I view some things. I got a lot of knowledge about different things. There’s no judgement from anyone which always helps when in doubt.
New members are also welcomed to the Experts by Experience Network – find out more at Get Involved.