Blog: Grazina Berry on how coproduction inspires recovery

Grazina-Berry-executive-director-of-performance,-quality-and-innovationAs National Co-Production Week draws to a close, Grazina Berry, Group Director of Performance, Quality & Innovation at Recovery Focus, gives her thoughts on co-production and what it means for inspiring individual recovery.

Our Working Together Strategy is all about people. So often we hear about commitments to co-production and listening to the voices of the people we support, but here at Recovery Focus I’m proud to say we actually do it.

This week we’ve shared a number of inspirational stories from people we support who’ve embraced co-production in their recovery and the one common theme emerging from all of those success stories is ownership.

We give people the chance to own their recovery journey. Yes, our teams play a key role in supporting and motivating people to shape their own recovery, but without buy-in and dedication from the individual, recovery could not become a reality.

Our strategy was developed hand in hand with the people we support as a meaningful and equal partnership to better the services we provide and inspire people to take control of their recovery.

It’s not about saying we will put people at the heart of everything we do – it’s about doing it!

When we embarked on this journey, people we support told us that ‘co-production’ as a term did not fully reflect the spirit of humanity, togetherness and collaboration with which we approach what we do here at Recovery Focus.

People felt that ‘Working Together’ better encompassed our philosophy and approach to supporting people to regain fulfilling lives, fully utilising their skills and experiences gained through lives in vastly diverse communities.

Whilst as an organisation we’ve championed recovery based approaches in local communities for over five decades, we’ve recognised that a fresh look at how we work as an organisation right from the grassroots to the top is needed to enable this true collaboration to be brought to life at all levels. This is a journey we’re excited to embark upon alongside the people we support.

We’ve achieved a lot since launching our Working Together Strategy in October 2015.

We have drawn enormous benefit and learning from the expertise provided by people who’ve survived the often crippling effects of mental ill health in reviewing our services and helping us continue to improve our quality standards for over six years now.

We’ve been looking at how we capture information about the support we provide and how we share it with the people using our services in a meaningful way. We’ve been recruiting to even the most senior posts with people accessing our services asking challenging questions on interview panels. We’ve opened the doors to our committees and the Group Board and welcomed those using our services, so they can witness and be a part of decisions being made about the direction of the organisation.

But we’re not done yet. Like the process of recovery, we have to keep working together with the people we support so that we can move forward and continue to get better at what we do. We have a long and exciting road ahead of us, but one we’ll embark upon alongside people we support.

This year, the theme for National Co-Production Week was about showing your commitment to co-production. And I’m delighted to say that here at Recovery Focus, we are absolutely committed to working together with the people we support so that we can positively improve not only the lives of the individual, but have a true and  real impact on local communities and wider society as a whole.