News - Using lived experience to help shape services

Mental Health Alliance, News

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Lived experience is at the heart of the support Motherwell Cheshire provides for women and girls in the area.

Motherwell Cheshire, which has been running for nearly a decade, promotes positive health and wellbeing through a wide range of activities, including counselling, a community hub for preloved items, a community laundrette and much more.

Last year, the not-for-profit community interest organisation (CIO) worked with nearly 1,100 women and girls aged 13 and above.

By setting up a Her Story Group, with funding recently received from Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA) and the Council to support this, people with lived experience are working closely with the Motherwell Cheshire team to make sure the support offered meets the current needs of people in the local community.

Kate, Founder and Chief Executive of Motherwell Cheshire, said: “I think using lived experience is crucial and, as a community sector and grassroots charities, I believe we’re good at shaping services in this way.

“Setting up Motherwell Cheshire has been a rewarding journey, but it’s come with a lot of different challenges, learning different things along the way and making sure we’re responding to the local community.

“We want to expand further into Cheshire and we’re going for a name change to respond to being a real women and girls’ charity, rather than working more with mums.

“We also want to work more in partnership with other charities to see how we can collaborate and continue to improve the support available to people locally.”

Jude, Counsellor at Motherwell Cheshire, added: “I can see the journey that somebody has made, with how difficult it can be when they come to us and then the end of that process.

“Seeing how well people can do in their time with us is an absolute privilege.”

CWVA received funding from Cheshire West Place to work with the University of Chester and develop a Local Voices Framework, which aims to support coproduction in west Cheshire and make sure people with lived experience have a strong voice.

As well as developing a set of principles that organisations and people with lived experience can use as a guide, it will help create a network that people can use to share best practice when it comes to coproduction.

Local Voices training is also taking place with Tyra Goodwin, Lived Experience Consultant at CWVA, at Northwich Memorial Court on Wednesday 17 July.

Motherwell Cheshire is an important member of both CWVA’s Mental Health Alliance and Children, Young People and Families Alliance, connecting with other organisations working in a similar area and helping form a common voice for the community sector.

CWVA also recently funded Motherwell Cheshire through the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance, hosting pop-up stalls for women and girls to talk about health and encourage people to access any wider support they might need.

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