Experts by Experience team grows to inform Learning Disability and Autism support services | News and events

Experts by Experience team grows to inform Learning Disability and Autism support services

People with lived experience of Learning Disabilities (LD) and Autism organised an Open Day at Walker Close in Suffolk last week to show how they support the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) care teams.

Nine people are now official Experts by Experience for the Trust. They are involved in co-producing a range of projects including recruitment practices, staff training, Open Days, fundraising and a peer support group.

Deputy Chief Nurse at NSFT Dawn Collins attended the Open Day and was impressed by the range of work that the Experts by Experience have been involved in.

Giles Newman, an Expert by Experience working to support NSFT for the past three years, helped organise the Open Day to make sure it was welcoming to service users.

Giles helps interview new staff by writing questions based on his own needs and experiences. He has co-developed a star evaluation chart that all the Experts can use to provide feedback on how well they feel the candidates answered their questions. Giles’ input is also vital on quality improvement projects and fundraising.

The Open Day was one of the first projects that a newer Expert by Experience, Geoff Munday has worked on. He has also attended a participation day to make sure that the voices of service users are heard by staff and included in service design even at the idea stage.

Geoff said: “It is an exciting job, I like giving my support to this kind team and getting support back.”

Another Expert, Freddie Alcock, has been key in co-producing the mental health trust’s reasonable adjustment staff training, which has received positive feedback.

At the Open Day Gemma Grace, the Autism Expert by Experience, highlighted how important the Experts are to providing service users with peer support before, during and after diagnosis.

Gemma said: “The Experts are all equal and each brings a different piece of the puzzle to help build that bigger picture of support. We all give something different, and it is so important to share our experience. We appreciate that everyone has a different way of communicating and we need to work with them, so we understand their needs.”

Kathryn Barrow Acute LD Service Manager at NSFT said: “I’m so proud we have so many unique and talented Experts by Experience who help us make our services safer and kinder. As a Trust we are committed to making sure we engage and involve service users, carers and families to deliver better care and support to everyone who needs it.”

There was information available at the event about the Being Together Group which is held monthly and is open to those in Suffolk with lived experience who want to help shape NSFT LD and Autism services. To find out more email

Page Feedback

Page Feedback

We have placed cookies on your computer to help make this website better. You can at any time read our cookie policy. Otherwise, we will assume that you are OK to continue.

Please choose a setting: