I have attended the Voice4 Choices meeting for the past 3 years as a service user. I was involved with the V4C from the start of process as I was going to the meetings held in middlesbrough and now instead of been a service user I have recently become a full member of the voices 4 choices gang.
I attended the last strategy group in September and was asked if I would do a presentation on my involvement within secure services. I was happy to do this so did my presentation in front of the group and it was great as I am used to doing presentations in front of a lot of people.
This meeting was excellent and also feel that it is good for my recovery journey it is good that I am involved with the team and look forward to continue given my input and may have some goood ideas to bring back to them.
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Voices for Choices are an independent user and carer led organisation in South Tees. Our aim is to make sure that services in south Teesside listen to mental health service users and carers and consider their needs. At the moment we are looking at welfare advice services.
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Notes from Voices for Choices Advocacy and Advice Working Group
31st August 2017. Middlesbrough and Stockton Office at Redcar.
• Alan Williams, Voices for Choices Strategy Group chair
• Andrea Gent, Stamp Revisited
• Catherine Layton, Voices for Choices member
• Jean Warburton, Redcar CAB
• Mary Booth, Voices for Choices Strategy Group member
• Mark Burns, Voices for Choices Engagement worker
• Vicky Fennimore, Voices for Choices member
The group introduced themselves.
Alan Williams agreed to be chair. Mark Burns offered to take the minutes.
Mark Burns also presented the group with a summary of the work so far. This was around interviewing commissioners and providers about advice and advocacy services. The next stage is to interview users of these services with a lived experience and/or their carers. People who would benefit from using these services but haven’t may also be questioned This work is to be substantially completed by October 25th. To fit in with this date it was decided to only focus on welfare advice services.
The group decided that the best option was to produce a questionnaire that could be given out to sympathetic agencies. This would be short. It would be important to be clear whether answers were from people from Middlesbrough or Redcar & Cleveland.
It was suggested that members of the group contact groups where they already had personal links. There would also need to be a gap analysis to see whether there were any key groups that were missing that needed to be approached.
The group discussed possible dates for future meetings but in the end Mark Burns agreed to send out potential times when he got back to the office.