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July 2022: what we’ve been doing recently at Shaping Our Lives

3 August 2022

Want to know what we’ve been up to in July? Here’s a run down of our latest projects.

We have been delivering three workshops for the King’s College London Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care. Shaping Our Lives were asked to provide some training around inclusive involvement and, to make sure it hit the spot for staff at the institute, we designed and conducted a training needs analysis. This provided valuable insight into the areas people felt more confident in; and the topics they felt a refresher would be helpful. From this we have delivered two remote dynamic training sessions which have provided plenty of opportunity for people to ask questions to meet their own needs. In August, we will provide an in-person workshop focusing on co-production and involving members of the public in research. Our workshops with staff and researchers will focus on inclusion in research.

We have facilitated a workshop with the University of Hertfordshire – this is part of our ongoing project with the University on testing research in practice partnerships in the East of England. Funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research, the overall aim of the project is to establish teams of researchers and social care practitioners (Research in Practice Teams) and evaluate if this model can mobilise research learning and promote the conduct of research that reflects the priorities and challenges of the populations they serve. The workshop brought together an equal number of people who use social care services with academic research staff and research leads from practice environments. One person said when asked what was most useful: “Challenging my researcher brain, hearing other people’s views.”

For the past year we’ve been observing the Southend Community Investment Board and providing recommendations so that lived experience is at the heart of their work. The Board is made up of people from the community of  Southend-on-Sea and funded by Southend City Council. The Community Investment Board have been responsible for using £1.5m of local authority community investment funds to support the Vision 2050 which is working to strengthen community sustainability.  Our involvement with this is now in its final stage culminating in a report which will provide vital information for other local authorities who wish to try a similar innovative approach to community development.

Finally, we’re busy planning the UK’s first user-led inclusive involvement conference, to take place in November! It’ll be a hybrid event, both online and in Birmingham. Bookings will launch soon. To express your interest contact us at