The Role of an Expert Citizen
Expert Citizens are Beneficiaries of the project. A Beneficiary can join the Expert Citizen Group (ECG) when they feel ready to do so, and a conversation will usually take place with their Personal Development Coordinator (PDC) and a Beneficiary Ambassador to arrange this.
The Beneficiary Ambassadors run the ECG, and each bring lived experience to their role. They facilitate the group, providing opportunities to participate in anything from research to consultations, and also offer support and reassurance to participants.
Over 20 Beneficiaries have participated in the ECG to date, and 2018 has seen many achievements both by the group as a whole and also as individuals. Below are just some of the ways in which the group has been involved with project delivery, and local and national work in 2018;
- Some Expert Citizens have joined a local Alcohol Panel to provide views on substance misuse services locally
- An Expert Citizen has joined a 'pathways' group which will review the impact of alcohol issues on an NHS Emergency Department in Nottingham
- Some Expert Citizens have been consulted on the redesign of the Nottingham City Council website
- Some of the group have been consulted on a new mental health outreach service, specifically addressing the most appropriate locations for this service to work from
- Some Expert Citizens have been consulted on 'Improving access to psychological therapy' in prison settings
- Two members of the group have participated in filming for a Notts TV short feature about stigma
- Three Expert Citizens have participated in filming for a short film about mental health services in Nottingham - both the barriers and positives
- The group have coproduced online and print materials as part of the Opportunity Nottingham Communications strategy, and also helped to personalise the project referral form to address the issue of personal data sharing
- Some of the group have been involved in staff recruitment, helping to ensure that the most appropriate candidates are appointed.
Being involved in the above work has been very positive for members of the group. As a result, some have become involved in Peer Research and Peer Mentor roles, and also developed the confidence to speak publicly at National Expert Citizen Group meetings and local events.