A baby grow with coming soon and a pair of baby feet on it

What’s next for the Centre for Co-production? The latest from Niccola & Rachel

Wow. So it’s that time when I need to start to handover work on the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research to someone else… sad for me 🙁 I’ll miss everyone lots! An exciting time for the Centre though! I will be around until 12 September and then after this time our newly appointed Interim Head of the Centre, Rachel (who will introduce herself in a mo!) will be taking over until February 2020 whilst I go off on maternity leave. For those that are interested we’ll keep you updated on the baby front!!

All this change for me is making me think back over the last couple of years. I always remember what a group of Centre co-producers said to me in one of the early idea generation sessions that we had when we were just getting started with the Centre development work back in late 2017. During the session we were co-creating our aims and objectives and establishing our principles to live by as a Centre. As always, we did this work as a mixed group of, members of the local community, patients, carers, healthcare practitioners, researchers and students. One key thing that I always remember being told by the group was – it is great that we have all these aims and that we are all on the same page but if we are going to achieve them then we need to be practical. They were clear in saying… Niccola, we trust you to take the decisions that we have made as a group and put them into action we know that you won’t just go away and ignore our collective decisions. We want you to go away and get on with it and keep us up to date/linked in but we don’t need to be part of every small conversation or decision.

This has stuck with me! It was really moving that people put this much trust in me. It’s something that I’m always doing to best to ensure I am living up to in all the work I do. I make sure that I regularly and thoroughly check and challenge myself and others involved in the Centre development. Rest assured we may be in a period of change in terms of team members but the same ethos will continue and we will be operating as normal, powering ahead with the co-production of the Centre development.

This change of team members is really exciting for the Centre development as Rachel will bring a new perspective to the work at an exciting time in its development. A couple of months ago I presented to the UCL senior management team and the Provost (the equivalent of the Chief Executive Officer of the university) about the plans for the Centre and to garner their support of the work. The response was generally positive, there were questions about how we would ensure the long term sustainability of the Centre but also lots of ideas to help with this work. Developing a business model for the sustainable future of the Centre is something that will be a key focus for Rachel (along with the other things outlined in the role job description) – she will be in touch soon about a co-creation session in relation to this work so watch this space if this is of interest to you!

So… I would like to introduce you to Rachel Matthews, the new Interim Head of the Centre. Over to you Rachel!

Rachel is smiling at the camera wearing a black and white top

Thanks Nicc! It’s a real pleasure to be joining the Centre and I’m looking forward to getting to know more about the current activities and the many co-producers over the next few months. I was at the very first meeting to set out the vision, values and ethos of the Centre and I can see how the Centre is thriving, attracting interest and commitment. I’m privileged to be a member of one of the first projects funded by the Centre – Making care safer through innovation: Improving communication between people with hearing loss and health/social care professionals. That experience reinforced to me the value of gaining practical experience as a group in working differently so that resources and benefits are shared more widely from healthcare research.

Group shot at co-creation workshop. Rachel is fourth from the left in a black top with white stripes

A bit more about me – I’m a nurse by background and in the last 15 years I’ve drawn from that experience and adapted my skills to work with people to improve care and strengthen the influence of groups and individuals in research. In the last 10 years, I led the Patient and Public Engagement and Involvement Theme at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership and Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Northwest London. In this job, I’ve formed lasting connections with many wonderful people who use their experiences and skills from all walks of life to improve health. With this in mind, the priority for me while I hold the space for Nicc is to ensure that the Centre continues to thrive and secures a place in the long-term vision of UCL and the communities it works with.

Once Rachel has an email and phone number set up we will share this with you all. In the meantime please feel free to contact me, Niccola n.pascal@ucl.ac.uk or Susan coproduction@ucl.ac.uk if you have any questions. I will be around until 12 September and Susan will be around part time (her usual days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). Susan is the best person to contact with any questions, about co-creation sessions or anything marketing or administration related. Rachel will be working with me during some of August to ensure a smooth handover and then starting officially in Sept once I go off on leave.

Our next co-creation sessions are:

  • Thursday 26 September 13:30-16:30, exploring how to evaluate the Centre work and determine what success looks like
  • Thursday 31 October 13:30-1630, further co-creating our learning and development support for co-producers

If you’re interested in coming to any of the sessions please email Niccola n.pascal@ucl.ac.uk or Susan coproduction@ucl.ac.uk.

This is all from me for now, chat more soon! Or… if I don’t speak to you before mid Sept all the best and see you in 2020!

Will miss you all!

Niccola