Coproduction – Simon’s story

Simon uses Richmond Fellowship services. As a man living with a disability, mental health problems and a history of addiction he knew he had a range of experiences to bring to help other people and wanted an opportunity to do so. Our coproduction group offered that.

I am an older service user with a disability and have had mental health problems for most of my life. I’ve also battled with addiction and social isolation.

When I began to use Richmond Fellowship’s services I learned about their coproduction and was encouraged to get involved. As a group we look at the structure of the service, how we do things and what we can do to improve the service and support more people.

Through the group I was able to attend a conference in Birmingham for other service users. I thought I’d be the only disabled person there, but it was refreshing to meet other people with a range of disabilities both visual and hidden.

I live alone and struggle with social isolation. It’s really helpful for me to be part of this group as I don’t see or speak to many people.

The staff team are very good at making us feel wanted and needed and that our ideas and input matter.

In the past I did volunteering with other charities and I got walked over and treated badly. It’s not like that here; I don’t get discriminated against, shouted out or not listened to. Here I feel valued and that my ideas are worthwhile and that the team actually listen to me. It’s a really nice feeling.

Everyone needs to find a place where they’re happy and I get that with Richmond Fellowship.