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The Big Conversation in Nottinghamshire

Community Catalysts worked in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, the coproduction group Our Voice and local people and communities to have a Big Conversation about social care. The work was supported by Social Care Future and recorded by New Possibilities.

Flyer of Social Care Future vision


In Nottinghamshire, lots of people need support to live their best life. Nottinghamshire County Council know that everyone’s social care experience is different, and the system can feel complicated.

In line with the Social Care Future vision, they want every person in the county to live in the place they call home with the people and things that they love, in communities where they look out for one another, doing the things that matter to them. Nottinghamshire County Council are rewriting their Adult Social Care Strategy to show how social care in Nottinghamshire will change from how it is now to become more like the Social Care Future vision.

Illustration of two men

The Big Conversation about social care

From 20 February to 22 March 2023, Community Catalysts, together with Our Voice, supported Nottinghamshire to have a ‘Big Conversation’ to ask people who use social care and their carers about the vision, the challenges, and what they want in the future.

People were invited to come along to one of 7 listening events, supported by senior Council managers and elected members. People who were unable to attend events were asked to invite Community Catalysts to meet with their group, talk on the phone, or complete one of two online surveys – one for people with experience of social care and the other for family carers.

Together we ran 8 community events, held 11 meetings, and developed 2 online surveys for people who couldn’t engage in person. We asked people who use social care and their carers about the vision, the challenges, and what they want in the future.

“Bring people together with shared interests, not just shared disabilities and use community spaces to create a hub.”

We heard from 542 people; this included 277 unpaid carers and 265 people who draw on social care. People shared their experiences and ideas, their thanks and discontent, their hopes and dreams for the future. People were open and honest and trusted the process might help towards a better social care future. Despite many positives, it can’t always have been an easy listen for the council but listen they did – and for that we applaud them.

“I receive direct payments to pay a PA and several self-employed carers. This is great and gives me flexibility, however, when it comes to paperwork, audits, assessments, employment rights… I have to rely on a family member to manage this for me as it can be very confusing and time consuming.”

Three people in wheelchairs

What next?

The Big Conversation is part of a longer process, and everything that people shared was used by Community Catalysts to write a detailed report which aggregates and amplifies what people have to say. The report is then being used to help write the Strategy and develop future plans.

Nottinghamshire County Council want people to stay involved after the Big Conversation and keep working with them to get this right. If you want to learn more about the Big Conversation and the approach they are taking, contact

If you are interested in Community Catalysts supporting a Big Conversation in your area, contact