Blog: Coproduction and unexpected shifts

Our new project with a focus on the positive – working with people who were formally or informally shielded and their supporters in 6 areas of the Midlands and South – is well and truly underway.

One of the first things we did was establish a coproduction group, bringing together people with lived experience to help us design, deliver and shout about this work. All as it should be you might think, but…

At our very first meeting we proudly presented our ideas, together with the #valuablenotvulnerable name and hashtag, inspired by a tweet shared by a special needs teacher early in the first lockdown. Needless to say we loved the name but our coproduction group had other ideas! ‘Everyone is vulnerable sometimes’ they, quite rightly challenged followed closely by ‘we don’t want a title that leads with a negative’!

They were right of course and quickly proved to us, if proof were needed, the positive power of coproduction. So now our project is called #valuableandvulnerable and we have a lovely new hashtag to match. Just hope our funders, the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund and National Lottery Community Fund, are as happy with the shift as we are!

As the project gains momentum, we want to shine a light on what makes people valuable and challenge the rhetoric around being vulnerable. Helping people explore their passions and talents and find creative ways to make a positive difference, while physically distanced. Things like connecting with neighbours and organising a Covid safe outdoor get together or setting up a telephone friendship circle or starting a virtual choir.

So, we are busy looking to connect with people in Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire or Birmingham who have been shielded or very distanced from other people over the last few months. Or people who work or volunteer for an organisation that links with shielded people or those who have been very distanced?

We can offer mentoring time and expertise to you or your group, design and run workshops or help in whatever way you need. Our time is funded so it won’t cost you a penny – we even have a small budget we can use to fund any extra expertise you might need. This is a real opportunity for anyone that is up for a positive challenge in quite negative times.

Get in touch at valuable@communitycatalysts.co.uk or ring 07876 836317 for a chat about how we might help you or someone you know.