Lois’ Week!


I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

I am writing a very different blog to my usual blogs about nature. I am using this blog to celebrate the influences that the service user voice has had on services by engaging with The SUN Network.

I have been writing the report for our AGM and it’s really pleasing to see that there have been loads of opportunities over the last year for you to have your say and help services improve and I really wanted to let people know just how much their voice matters, that it is heard and that it does make a difference. Without the voice of people with lived experience and carers, services would really not understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a service or be looking for a service to support us.

Here are some of the ways your voice has influenced services over the last year:

  • The Primary Care Mental Health service heard that you were not sure what to expect from the service once you have been referred by your GP, so they designed a leaflet with input from service users to describe the service and help people understand what to expect.
  • The SUN Network have facilitated service user representation on interview panels for mental health roles at the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) – the roles our service users formed part of the panels for were Head of Mental Health, Mental Health Contracts Manager and Eating Disorder Commissioner
  • Retender Panels – The SUN Network facilitated a group of people to be involved in submitting and scoring questions for the retendering of Carers Support Services and The Community Mental Health Services
  • A group of people with lived experience of substance misuse worked alongside us to interview staff and service users at Change Grow Live (CGL) for The Five Values report and this led to the CGL managers reviewing some of the feedback to improve the service moving forward
  • Communications – Your feedback to us around Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust (CPFT) communications has led them to make changes to their website to display information in a more timely and clearer way, and also invite us to feedback your thoughts on an ongoing basis
  • The CCG supported The SUN Network to get a Collaboration and Co-production group off the ground, chaired by Anna Tuke the Associate Director – Involvement and Partnerships of CPFT. The aim of this group is to promote co-production within services and close the feedback loop with a ‘You said – We did’ response to ensure that you know your feedback matters
  • Attending Strategic meetings – We have paid service user representatives to attend and participate in various strategic meetings across the county, including the Crisis Care Pathways, The Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, the Community Mental health meeting. To have a seat at these tables to speak on behalf of service users is a fantastic opportunity to be heard and involved
  • Hack Week – The local commissioners and service providers met up with some service users that The SUN Network invited to a ‘Hack week’ to look at mental health and drug and alcohol services. Some of the service user toolkit ideas got taken forward and co-produced by CPSL Mind
  • Eating Disorder Pathways – The Eating Disorder service has had some money invested and you have been involved in deciding how best to use that money to provide the Eating Disorder service
  • Addiction Recovery Stories – On our Youtube channel you will find some amazing and inspiring stories shared by people within Cambridgeshire around their struggles and recovery from addiction

These are just some of the successes we are celebrating as a result of hearing your views on mental health and drug and alcohol services and supporting you to be involved and take part in the discussions around these services. It makes me feel really proud of The SUN Network staff for facilitating this work and of every single person who shared their story, gave feedback or became more involved by attending meetings, reviewing services and apps or peer assessing services.

If you want to share your thoughts or find out how to be involved in future opportunities with full support from The SUN Network then please contact me on lois.sidney@sunnetwork.org.uk or WhatsApp, text or Call 07712 358 172. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook @SUNnetworkCambs.

We are also running a #bigthanks competition where you can nominate someone from #mentalhealth or drug and alcohol services #recovery to win a #bigthanks bouquet of flowers on your behalf. We know there are loads of brilliant staff trying to make a difference so please do nominate someone. If your nomination is selected, you also win a £20 gift voucher of your choice. You can nominate someone here.


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