It’s Co-Production Week

It’s Co-Production Week – a time to say thanks to the people we support for building our services in collaboration with us. Without your first-hand insights we could never fully understand, we could never truly respond and we would never grow. 

We do our best to recruit people from across PSS services to be a part of the way we do things around here. It’s so much more than paying lip service, it’s about those who know best governing things alongside us. In a changing world this becomes ever more crucial.

Mental health support built by people with mental health experience

If you want a good example of co-production in its purest form, just look at our all new Upbeat Liverpool; a mental health resource, created alongside people who use our Wellbeing Centres in Liverpool. Based on the necessity for more digital methods of mental health support, we sat down with our team and peer supporters to remake and remodel the current site. Using everyone’s own expertise, we devised a more intuitive layout with enhanced capabilities and a complimentary brand, shaped by the vision and preferences of those who would access the resource. 

We’re so thankful to have such creative visionaries amongst the people we support who were able to bring this to life. Above there’s a preview of the new Upbeat brand, the brain child of the people we support. This mental health resource will be coming very soon… 


 Shared Lives carers recruited by the people they support

Shared Lives is a bit like foster care but the big difference is that it’s for adults who need their own freedom and independence. We take the recruitment of our Shared Lives carers very seriously indeed and only the most genuine, big-hearted, open-minded, determined and professional people will do. 

So, in our Shared Lives schemes all over the country we have Shared Lives ‘experts by experience’ on our carer recruitment panel. They’re people who’ve used the service and know what’s important when supporting someone to lead their life their way. 

Sebastian is one of our newest recruits and, in a changing world, he’s been sending in home-made videos to share with new carers during their induction process in the absence of face-to-face meetings.

Sebastian loves the opportunity he gets to support other people and give them a fulfilled life just like the one he experiences with his own carers. To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer, visit: 


Advice from children with a parent in prison

Our Prisoners’ Families service supports families affected by having a loved one in prison. This includes offering group and one-to-one support to children, to parents and to grandparents who often also step in as kinship carers. 

During lock-down and increased restrictions on visiting family members in prison, the existing strain of this experience on the family has been heightened. As ever, our amazing family workers have been stepping in and offering remote support to those most in need. Special deliveries have also been provided to support children whilst they’re not at at school including educational resources and sporting equipment. 

And, we’ve used the time to work with children, asking them about their experiences and using these to create an all-new book for children with a parent in prison. The new ‘Don’t Worry’ book addresses all their biggest questions, concerns and possible experiences, following the journey of four children we support and using these stories to give insights and advice to other children facing similar challenges. 

We want to say a big thanks to our children for sharing their expertise and being a big part of this co-production project that we hope will support so many other children. 

Above is a sneak-peek of the book which is now being proof-read by our child contributors and their families.  


Support shaped around the needs of the people we support

Our wonderful Women’s Turnaround team support female offenders in Merseyside. There are various factors that can increase someone’s chances of offending and the team at Women’s Turnaround offer completely open-minded support, addressing the root. This can include courses on managing mental health and wellbeing, gaining new practical and emotional skills and addressing distressing experiences like domestic abuse.  

Sarah* had been referred to Women’s Turnaround in the past but said that she struggled in group sessions because of her struggles with selfconfidence. During COVID-19 she’s enjoyed getting support over the phone from Hannah, one of our project workers. Sarah’s mum, who also has a history of offending, joined Sarah on her first session over speakerphone to support her. Sarah said that she was happy to run the sessions like this. Whilst this was not the usual set-up, it seemed to work really well for Sarah who opened up a lot and engaged positively with Hannah. Hannah chatted to our partners in Merseyside CRC to assess whether this arrangement would be possible for future sessions and everyone agreed that this was a good adaption that benefitted Sarah.

In a changing world, our team have really been listening to the people they support to shape the way remote support looks around them. We’ve all been learning to work in new ways together and broadening our horizons for the future based on the necessary changes to the way we do things. PSS people have certainly used this time to see the silver linings and develop our service provision alongside the people who know us best. 

DJ, play our song!

Our Making Days service supports adults with learning disabilities in Liverpool to learn new skills, enjoy their favourite hobbies and make new friendships; supported by a fantastic team of #NeverMoreNeeded support workers. 

The groups that usually take place in the day centres are inspired and shaped by the people who use the service and regular ‘Watchdog’ meetings usually take place for them to discuss and develop their own support.  

During COVID-19, whilst the centres have been temporarily closed based on necessary safety precautions, the team have really had to think differently. They’ve done their best to provide bespoke and remote support options where possible, listening to what their crowd want in doing this. 

Our support team have been chatting to the people we support remotely to see how they’re coping. One of the biggest things they’re missing is a good old boogie on down! So, yesterday, Peter and the gang set-up an online disco for the people we support. And everyone got right into the disco spirit! 


Lee’s Shared Lives lock-down story

Lee loves living with with Shared Lives carers in Liverpool. He’s no shrinking violet and with his carers support he gets to truly express himself and put his all into life. 

He’s also a regular at PSS HQ; giving the team ideas of how to develop the service in the Shared Voices groups, stepping in to induct new staff, promoting PSS on the Radio and coming up with the concept for his own Shared Lives talkshow. 

During lock-down he’s kept busy; jet-washing the garden and sprucing up his outdoor space to enjoy the sunshine and barbecues. This video that Lee produced really sums up his lust for life along with the confidence and independence Shared Lives gives him. 

To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer, visit: