Opportunities for you to get involved

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People participation

Participation is "working together to improve the experiences and outcomes of our services." People Participation involves bringing together service users, carers, families, staff and our wider communities as equal partners working to shape and deliver outstanding mental health services for the benefit of everyone. We know that when care and services are designed and delivered in collaboration with people who use them, there will be better outcomes for all.

Become a member

Your mental health trust needs your voice. Are you passionate about the people of Norfolk and Suffolk receiving the best possible care from their mental health trust? Then we need you to join our membership.

Join our Recovery College

Our Recovery College provides educational workshops and courses. All our courses have been designed to support people experiencing mental health challenges to learn skills and strategies.

Be a part of research

We have a number of research studies that might suit you. 


Our volunteers are worth their weight in gold and we appreciate how they give up their time to help us and the people we care for.

Feedback events and current projects

Help shape our services and the experiences of people who use them by joining our projects and feedback events. Current opportunities are provided below.

Workshop for Carers - Personality Disorder and Complex Emotional Needs

Do you support someone with Personality Disorder or Complex Emotional Needs?

If yes, please consider joining us on our: Workshop for Carers, Family and Friends Personality Disorder and Complex Emotional Needs.

This is a 6-part online workshop on Zoom. It will run on Monday evenings 6pm - 8.30pm, starting 30th January 2023. The workshop has been designed for family, friends, and partners (18+), who are supporting other adults (18+) with, or awaiting assessment for, Personality Disorder otherwise known as Complex Emotional Needs. 

The workshop has been developed in collaboration with carers and people with lived experience throughout. We aim to bring people together to support and learn from one another in an inclusive atmosphere, explore topics and skills of interest, and offer a space for meaningful conversations about the experience of caring for someone. 

Topics we will cover include: 

  • Exploring personality, Personality Disorder, and Complex Emotional Needs
  • Supporting someone with difficult emotions
  • Skills for managing strong emotion
  • Looking after ourselves in the short and long term
  • Recovery, discovery, and management
  • Walking the middle path
  • Boundaries
  • Advocacy
  • Sharing resources, ideas, and advice
  • And much more…

Emotive subjects often come up in these workshops, so please bear this in mind. Although we aim to support each other, this is not a crisis or emergency service for urgent issues.  

If you are interested, please email KUFtraining@nsft.nhs.uk with your name, contact details, the reason you wish to join, and confirming you and your person are over 18. 

Monitoring and Measuring standards of care in Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Networks have been introduced to Norfolk and Waveney as a way in which assessment and care for mental health issues can be accessed in a timely and local way. Mental Health practitioners in Norfolk are working alongside our GP practices to provide patients with support and access to treatment that they need following concerns and queries about their Mental health and Wellbeing.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust is working with representatives from the Integrated Care Board (ICB) and GP Surgeries to establish a Task and Finish Group. 

The aim and purpose of the group is to identify ways of monitoring and measuring standards of service in Primary Care, with the focus being on Quality, Safety, Monitoring and Audit.

How can you help?

  • The Task and Finish Group is looking for 2 people who have lived experience of using the Primary Care Mental Health Practitioners in their GP surgery or someone who is supporting a person who has used this service.

What to expect

  • To be involved in the Task and Finish group we would like individuals to join a Monthly 1 Hour Microsoft Teams meeting from 9:30am to 10:30am.
  • The Task and Finish Group is likely to run from December 2022 until May 2023
  • You will regularly work with a team of people from a range of different services and backgrounds, and we want you to feel comfortable and confident in presenting your own views and representing the views of others within a group setting. 

How will we support you?

You will need access to a computer to attend Monthly Microsoft Teams meetings. If computer access is an issue for you, we are happy to talk to you about ways of overcoming that barrier.

You will also need to be able to have time to read documents before meetings.

This is a voluntary role, but expenses would be paid for attendance at the Microsoft Teams meetings.

Next steps

If you are interested in participating and would like to find out more before making a commitment, please email Lisa.Dymond@nsft.nhs.uk 

We look forward to working with you.

Join our Evidence Assurance Group (EAG)

The project aims to ensure we have those who have experience of our services 
working alongside us to monitor our improvements.

This Evidence Assurance Group has been set up to ensure our services are making the improvements needed and that those improvements are sustainable. We value the involvement of those who access our service and their supporters, and is important that together we work together to get things right. We know that the unique perspective of service users and their supporters will drive the improvement in quality that will be beneficial for all.

The EAG will be a supportive, multi-stakeholder, group which will check, challenge and discuss progress with services.

Each EAG session will be focused on a specific service. The expectation will be that each service will present a summary of the improvement undertaken, supported by evidence that demonstrates the progress made.

Services will also be expected to be able to explain how there is a focus on outcomes, as well as service user and staff experience. 

Services will be able to report progress and challenges. The group can then support in terms of testing this progress and completeness/sustainability of the proposed actions and mitigations to any improvement work. 

To ensure we have diverse representation within the Evidence Assurance Group we will ask interested individuals to attend a maximum of six meetings in total.

Names and contact details of those supporting the project: 

  • Robyn Ward - Senior People Participation lead 
  • Jodie Butcher - Senior People Participation Lead

The group will meet fortnightly.


You can claim £10 an hour attending meetings. Meetings will mostly be held online but travel expenses and refreshments costs will be covered if they are held face to face. Please remember to check how payment may affect your tax or benefits. You can choose not to claim the involvement payment and take part voluntarily.

How to express your interest in the role

We are seeking individuals who from a variety of backgrounds (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, geographical location) and a range of lived experiences to join the project. We are inviting people with lived experience of accessing or supporting someone to access, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, within the last five years to collaborate with us. 

When you are completing the expression of interest form it would be helpful if you could briefly tell us what attracts you to the role.

Your answer could also include any skills you have gained professionally, through voluntary work, and through experience of mental health challenges (your lived experience, or in those you care for).

Please let us know if you have any questions, would like support completing the form or would prefer to send us a video or audio response to the questions on the form.

You can complete the form here.

We will look at the expression of interest forms to ensure that people with a range of experiences are recruited to join the Project. Individuals who may be suitable for the role will be contacted for an informal (online) conversation soon afterwards. 

If you would like further information or have any queries, please email:

Coffee Crawl

Join us on a Wednesday morning at 10.30am-noon for a cuppa and a chat.

Just turn up and meet like-minded people in a relaxed, informal chat setting, meeting at a different Ipswich coffee shop each week.


  • 4 - Cosy Club Buttermarket Shopping Centre, St Stephens Lane, Ipswich IP1 1DT 
  • 11 - St Lawrence Centre Café Dial Lane, Ipswich IP1 1DJ
  • 18 - Coffee Cell Combat2Coffee 8 Northgate Street, Ipswich IP1 3BZ
  • 25 - Geek Retreat 41A Upper Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1DU


  • 1- Honey & Harvey 4-6 Queen Street, Ipswich IP1 1SS 
  • 8 - STEAM House Café 22 Carr Street, Ipswich IP4 1EJ
  • 15 - Cult Café James Hehir Building, University Avenue, Ipswich IP3 0FS
  • 22 - Coffee Cell Combat2Coffee 8 Northgate Street, Ipswich IP1 1EA


  • Pennikkity Pots Café 1, Crown Anchor Mews, Tower Ramparts, IP1 3DJ
  • Issacs on the Quay  7 Wherry Quay, Ipswich IP4 1AS
  • STEAM House Café 22 Carr Street, Ipswich IP4 1EJ
  • Hullabaloo Café 14 St Peter’s Street, Ipswich IP1 1XB
  • Coffee Cell Combat2Coffee 8 Northgate Street, Ipswich IP1 1EA


  • Applaud Coffee 19 St Peter’s Street, Ipswich IP1 1XF
  • Oasis Lounge Unit 6, Regatta Quay, Albion Wharf IP4 1FH
  • Geek Retreat 41A Upper Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1DU
  • Coffee Cell Combat2Coffee 8 Northgate Street, Ipswich IP1 1EA

For more information please contact Debbie Atkinson - People Participation Co-ordinator PeopleParticipationEastSuf@nsft.nhs.uk 

Norfolk and Waveney Young People’s Participation

Are you 14-25 years and live in Norfolk or Waveney?

Do you have lived experience of mental health recovery or experience of caring for someone going through their own recovery journey?

Would you like to:

  • Make new friends?
  • Receive training opportunities?
  • Improve mental health services?
  • Build your confidence?
  • Learn new skills?

Join our group! We meet via Zoom, on the last Tuesday and Thursday of the month from 6pm-7pm. You are welcome to join which day works best for you – the agenda will be the same!  

To register your interest please visit nsft.uk/yourvoice

We know groups aren’t for everyone so if you would like to know more about getting involved, please contact Lucy North, People Participation Lead, at People.Participation@nsft.nhs.uk and we can make other arrangements.

Young people and carers needed to help develop a new service

The Participation Team for CAMHS (children and adolescent mental health services) are piloting a new service for children & young people aged 11-18 across Norfolk and Suffolk - and we would like to invite young people, parents and carers to get involved, have a say and develop our service.

How you can get involved with this project

We are looking for people who are interested in providing us with ideas and feedback to develop this new service – and to also contribute to improving our existing services.

Two great ways to get involved in this project are by joining one of our ambassador programmes.

  • Child/Young Person Lived Experience Ambassador Programme
    A group of young people with lived experience who are in a stable place in their recovery who meet regularly. They provide invaluable contributions and suggestions that help to keep our services relevant and sensitive to people’s needs.
  • A Parent/Carer Ambassador Programme
    A group of parents/carers who provide feedback and meet to review content and evaluate our current & upcoming services.

These meetings usually take place once every 6 to 8 weeks via Microsoft Teams, and you will receive an invitation in advance.

Other ways to get involved

You can also participate by joining staff interviews (Values Based Recruitment training is offered to support this process), speak 1 to 1 with our staff by appointment, or by attending one of our specific feedback events.

Find out more

Please contact Elizabeth Bennett, our Participation Coordinator by emailing CATATParticipation@nsft.nhs.uk

If you decide to get involved, this will not affect the care you or your loved one is receiving.

About the service

This service (CATAT - CAMHS Alternative to Admissions Team) is being designed for young people in crisis - to support them to stay in the community with more intensive home treatment in the hope of prevention of hospital admission.

This service will also be used to reduce emergency inpatient admissions and to provide a higher intensity treatment in a home environment.

Perinatal Voices Partnership Group

Do you have experience of using our Perinatal Services? Get involved with participation and get your voice heard.

People Participation is about working together with service users, their carers, families and staff, giving everyone the chance to have input into how the Trust is run. It is about making the service better for everyone.

We will be focusing on developing a Perinatal Voices Partnership networking group, for mums and birthing people who have had experience of using Perinatal Mental Health Services within Norfolk and Waveney to ensure we capture feedback from individuals, carers, families and partners.

Once established the group will collaboratively work alongside other organisations to ensure this feedback is shared to shape change within services where needed.  

These services include Kingfisher Mother and Baby Unit, Perinatal Community Mental Health Team (Norfolk information and Suffolk information) and Lotus Maternal Therapeutic Outreach Team.

This questionnaire will enable us to look at setting up a regular meeting fortnightly.

To register your interest please complete this form.

Join our Learning Disability and Autism Being Together group

The Being Together Group is for adults, with a Learning Disability and/or Autism, carers or others who are interested in our services in Suffolk.

The group meet on Zoom, on the fourth Friday of each month, 11-12.

Join the group on Zoom to find out about how you can get involved in improving our services, talk to others and share your ideas.

Email Margaret.Tanner@nsft.nhs.uk for the Zoom link.

Help share the group with this poster: Being Together group promotional poster [pdf] 392KB

Get involved in our Hellesdon Rivers Centre project

We are asking service users and carers with recent experience of our inpatient wards to help us design new wards. This will further improve quality and safety at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich. Hellesdon Rivers Centre

Find out more about this opportunity.

Chance to sign up for recruitment training

People who use our services and their carers and families have the chance to sign up for training to be involved in recruiting new staff.

The values-based recruitment training is being held to give service users and their families the skills to be involved in interviews and shape the future of NSFT.

We are committed to involving people who use mental health services and their carers or families through the People Participation. 

Sessions are capped at eight people so spaces are limited, and they will be booked on a first come-first served basis.

The training will be via Microsoft Teams and anyone who has difficulties accessing this or needs further support can email people.participation@nsft.nhs.uk.

New training dates can be found below: 

  • Thursday, 26 January 2023 - 9:30 - 13:00
  • Friday, 3 February 2023 - 9:30 - 13:00
  • Thursday, 23 February 2023 - 13:00 - 16:30

To sign up go to https://forms.office.com/r/HSEfWeW0Sp.

Veteran's wellbeing support group

Our Veteran's wellbeing support group is designed to stop social isolation and give veterans a sense of belonging, similar to the close bond they had whilst serving. 

These events will be taking place in a non-clinical environment but Veteran's are welcome to discuss any mental health concerns they may have.

Please see below for locations, times and the days of our wellbeing support group:

  • Norwich: Monday 11:00 - 13:00, The Matthew Project 70 – 80- Oaks Street Norwich NR3 3AQ, Tel: 07584316272
  • Sudbury: Monday 11:00 - 13:00, Sudbury/Toast Café (Winter) or Long Melford Country Park (Summer), Tel: 07584316272
  • Bury St Edmunds: Tuesday 11:00 - 13:00, Combat 2 Coffee , Con Club, Guildhall Street, IP33 1PR, Tel: 07584316272
  • Ipswich: Wednesday 11:00 - 13:00, Combat 2 Coffee , Whitton Clinic, Meredith Road, IP1 6ED, Tel: 07584316272
  • Thetford: Monday 11:00 - 13:00, Steam, Tanner Court, Tanner Street, IP24 2BQ, Tel: 07584316272

You can watch a video, featuring some of our service users, who have used the service and their thoughts on it below.

Join Particip8! A group looking to improve services for young people

Would you like to be involved in improving our mental health services for yourself and others? Your voice deserves to be heard!

Particip8! are a group of people with a personal interest in mental health for young people and a passion for improving mental health services.

Whether you’d prefer to be part of a group, have one-to-one sessions, or share your ideas and experience by email, Whatsapp or phone, we would love for you to join us.

You can be involved as little or as much as you would like and with the things that are important to you.

  • Using lived experience, we have led on projects such as:
  • The language of letters and ensuring these are young person and carer friendly
  • Interviewing staff
  • Sharing our experience of crisis services
  • Art projects
  • Development of educational courses and many more.

To find out more, email Sophie.davies@nsft.nhs.uk. You can also text or call 07342 066589 or use Whatsapp.

Privacy, dignity and respect campaign at NSFT

We know that maintaining your privacy, respecting your dignity and treating you with respect is our duty.

To help highlight the importance of this, we are asking for service users, who have been an inpatient with us in the last three years, to come forward to support us in an awareness campaign, highlighting the importance of privacy, dignity and respect to both our staff and the general public. This will be through a series of short videos which will be produced by NSFT, it will be possible to be involved and maintain anonymity if you wish.

If you are interested in this project and would like to support it, please contact people.participation@nsft.nhs.uk to find out more.

Help us to advance mental health equalities

Advancing mental health equalities logo Led by The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Advancing Mental Health Equalities (AMHE) project runs until September 2024.

The purpose of this project is to reduce health inequalities so that everyone can get equal access to mental healthcare and improved esperiences. Achieved by working with staff and service users from across the Trust, as well as community groups and partner agencies.

We are one of 17 organisations from across the country taking part. We meet with those other organisations to share ideas, learning and best practice.

Dr Uju Ugochukwu, Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director for Quality leads our project team. The team are identifying the barriers preventing certain communities from accessing local mental health services by using Quality Improvement methodologies.

The project team have the task of identifying three separate populations to focus on. The team have established their first two communities of focus, being:

  • Black men,
  • Refugees and forced migrants.

With one more group to decide on, we have almost completed a key aspect of the first phase of the four-step plan set out by Royal College of Psychiatrists:

  1. Identify the inequalities
  2. Design new ways of doing things
  3. Test those ideas
  4. Deliver improvements. 

Each of the groups need a project team working together with the overarching project. 

How can you help

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers from each of our chosen communities who have experienced receiving care from us, or anyone who has supported someone from one of these communities to receive care us in the last five years.

You will need to actively and positively listen to those with experience of our services and approach connecting with others in an empathetic, compassionate and supportive way, that reflects our Trust values of Respectfully, Positively and Together.

What to expect

We would like our volunteers to join a fortnightly Microsoft Teams meeting where they can be comfortable in sharing ideas and feedback to shape the outcomes of the project.

You will regularly work with a team of people from a range of different services and backgrounds and we want you to feel comfortable and confident in presenting your own views and representing the views of others within a group setting. 

If joining the team isn’t for you, there are other ways to share your experiences such as workshops, one to one interviews and surveys conducted by our Research department (please see 'Next steps' to get involved).

How will we support you

You will need access to a computer to attend fortnightly Microsoft Teams meetings. If computer access is an issue for you, we are happy to talk to you about ways of overcoming that barrier.

You will also need to be able to have time to read documents before meetings.

This is a voluntary role, but expenses would be paid for attendance at the Microsoft Teams meetings and any travel costs incurred.

We will be able to offer you training in Quality Improvement skills and practices.

One to one support with our Quality Improvement People Participation Coordinator to help you in your role will also be available.

Next steps

If you are interested in this opportunity please email QI.Team@nsft.nhs.uk and tell us how and why you would like to be involved. You can use this email if you have any questions as well.

If you are interested in helping our Research Department by attending workshops, one-to-one interviews, or completing surveys, please contact researchinfo@nsft.nhs.uk and tell us how involved you would like to be or if you have any questions. Note that your involvement can be confidential if you prefer, and the research team will support you fully through the process.

We look forward to working with you.

Get involved in our quality improvement projects

Gemma, the People Participation Coordinator with our Trust’s Quality Improvement (QI) Team is inviting people with experience of using our services to join our improvement projects.

Gemma says "We want to make sure that every single QI project has service user and carer involvement as the only way to make successful changes and for services to evolve is to ensure their voices are heard and views taken into account."

If you would like to get involved please email Gemma for more information at QI.Team@nsft.nhs.uk.

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