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Sharing your lived experience – how to do it, why it matters

Cover of the My Voice matters guide - a green background with an illustrated group of diverse people, and the words: My Voice Matters - A guide for people who want to share their lived experience

We know that many people want to be involved in shaping the systems and services that affect their lives, to use their experience to make things better. However, our studies have shown that people often don’t know where to start. Perhaps you’ve struggled to find the right opportunities to share your lived experience, or you’ve found it hard to get your access needs taken seriously. Maybe you’ve been asked to do things you have no experience in, or you’ve felt that your views have been heard but not acted upon.

So where do you start? How do you find opportunities? And how do you make sure your access and support needs will be met?

Download the My Voice Matters guide and browse the information below.

Watch the My Voice Matters introductory video

My Involvement Profile

My Involvement Profile will help you to communicate your expertise, skills and access requirements to involvement organisers, in an accessible and easy-to-action way. It will help organisations make events and activities accessible and inclusive.

Find out more and download your free copy.

People’s Involvement Pledge

The pledge is made up of 12 simple steps. The steps outline how people who are organising involvement activities can help and support you to share your lived experience in a positive, inclusive, and effective way.

The pledge is free to download and you can share it with any involvement organisers you choose to.

Download your free copy (Word)

Find opportunities to share your lived experience

Our Involvement Opportunities Board advertises engagement, involvement, co-production and research opportunities for people who want to have a say and influence in health and social care. We also promote events that are inclusive of service user involvement.

Visit our Involvement Opportunities Board

Learn more about why sharing your lived experience matters

If you’d like to find out more about involvement, you might find these blogs and resources useful:

What’s in it for me? The benefits of getting involved

About inclusive involvement

How can Disabled people get involved?

Make connections

Join our inclusive involvement community to stay connected with our work.

Visit our involvement stories page to read more quotes from people about their experiences of being involved

Read about people’s experiences

If you’re looking for support or community in your area, check our list of user-led organisations all around the country.

Find a local user-led organisation

Note about terms – Shaping Our Lives uses the term ‘service users’ because our members preferred it and worked together to explain what being a service user means to them. We recognize that some people prefer other descriptions such as having ‘lived experience’ or Experts by Experience. Our work and approach are inclusive of all people who experience health and care inequalities because of their identities. Read more about our definitions and meanings.