Co-production week is a great opportunity to celebrate the benefits of co-production in our Recovery College which gives veterans and their families practical help to support their recovery journey.
We believe that services are better when they are designed, delivered and reviewed by those that use them. That’s why our Recovery College sees recovery staff with professional training working collaboratively with veterans and their families who have been through the recovery process to co-produce our courses.
Our team of Peer Trainers, made up of five veterans and one family member, have added their lived experience to the expertise of our Hidden Wounds and Clinical Services teams. Together, they have co-produced courses and self-help guides that cover a range of topics such as financial wellbeing, living with and beyond pain, and living with low mood and depression.
All of our courses are available to view in our new prospectus for 2023-24.
What is Co-production?
The NHS defines co-production as ‘a way of working that involves people who use health and care services, carers and communities in equal partnership’.
Co-production in action sees decisions about public services made by both professionals and the people that use them. It is done right when citizens with lived experience are consulted and empowered to co-design, co-deliver and co-evaluate the services that they use.
National Co-production Week is back for an eighth year this week. It’s the perfect chance to highlight the importance of co-production in the work of our Recovery College.
Co-production in our Recovery College
Our Recovery College is unique as it’s the first to be designed specifically for veterans and their loved ones.
All our courses provide education and practical help to veterans and family members, giving them the autonomy to live a healthy and secure life.
The courses are co-produced by recovery staff, together with veterans and family members (Peers Trainers) who have lived experience of the subject matter and the recovery process.
Our team of six Peer Trainers are instrumental in both course design and delivery, providing the benefit of their experience to ensure that courses meet the needs of students.
Co-production of our courses is a truly collaborative process that aids the professional and personal development of our staff, peer trainers and students. This collaboration has recently been recognised at the 2023 Soldiering On Awards, as the team has been shortlisted for the Working Together Award.
The head of our Hidden Wounds service, Theresa Mitchell, who has been involved in the co-production of several of our courses, said: “It has been a joy to work with our peers on the co-production and facilitation of these courses. The input, knowledge and experience of our Peer Trainers is invaluable, and the process is very creative. Each course is produced and delivered with the student in mind – it’s not something done to them.”
Our Peer Trainers have also been positive about the process, with one saying: “I never envisaged a couple of years ago that I would have made such progress and it’s great to now have the opportunity to work with Help for Heroes in support of the Veteran community. I find it extremely rewarding to utilise my personal experience of illness and recovery to help other veterans and their families.”
Working with Others
We co-produce many of our courses with a range of charity partners, tapping into expertise from outside of the charity.
Louise, a financial advisor from charity partner St. James’s Place, has helped deliver our Financial Wellbeing course alongside our Peer Trainers. Of the experience, she said: “Throughout our prolonged development of the course, we had aimed to give people tools to improve their situation and to see that happening in real time is incredible.”
Louise is also a veteran, serving as a Warfare Officer in the Royal Navy before being medically discharged in 2017. She has experienced the benefits that co-production can have on both the student and those delivering the courses.
“I have been using the tools personally along with the group and it’s been a very interesting experience. We have shared ideas, thoughts and tips throughout the course and that in itself has been worth learning.”