Co-producers Sarah, Clement, and Annegret – our thoughts on the UCL Centre for Co-production
We’ve had the privilege of getting to know so many great people through the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research, from the start back in 2017, to our most recent co-creation session. We really enjoy working together, sharing ideas about the Centre and collectively deciding upon the way forward. So… this community-building buzz is now coming to the blog! Please email Niccola firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan email@example.com if you’d be interested in introducing yourself here sometime soon.
For now, Sarah, Clement and Annegret have agreed to start us off, so let the introductions begin!
Tell us a bit about yourself: I came to London in 1991 and am still not tired of its history, architecture, museums and parks. I enjoy reading historical fiction; watching films; and trying new crafts, though my skill lies in baking cakes!! I have volunteered for 8 years, including at my local hospital and community centre, and currently as a Healthwatch Camden Trustee.
Why are you interested the Centre development and co-production more generally? Getting involved in co-production can be for everyone, no matter what you do, your background, or anything else. We all have something to contribute. People encouraged me when I didn’t know if I could do it. Now, I love seeing people realise what they’ve said is equally valid as someone with an academic qualification.
I wonder how we can be brave as we take the Centre’s work forward. To change systems and how things have always been done, we must engage with as many different people as possible. The Centre should ask for their ideas and be brave enough to implement some of them.
What are your hopes and dreams for the Centre? Rather than trying to be the best or biggest, I hope the Centre focuses on keeping to its core values as it grows. So far everyone’s welcomed different opinions and experiences. It is about embracing the journey – both the setbacks and successes.
Are there any areas that you think that may be a challenge for the Centre and that we need to focus more on going forwards? Long-term funding and changing trends are the main challenges, so the Centre needs to be adaptable. Universities can also be intimidating for many people and I would love to hear more from young people beyond universities with different life experiences. I wish that I had been encouraged to share my experiences earlier, but I am making up for that now!
Clement (Ka Ming) Cheung
Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m a student at The Bartlett UCL Faculty of the Built Environment (the part of UCL studying how to create all kinds of places for people – from buildings to cities to parks). I’m doing the Masters of Science in Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings, so that’s why I’m interested in health research in a social setting. I think it’s good to work with the community to understand what people’s needs are and how my research can better address their needs rather than me just doing my own separate research.
Why are you interested the Centre development and co-production more generally? Because I want to do something that’s really relevant for others and co-production is a good way of doing that. We need to ask the people using the service or who is affected to let the researchers know what is going on and how we can do research for them. As for the Centre’s progress, I am interested in how the Centre can show funders the progress we are making so we can work on making the Centre more sustainable in the long-term.
What are your hopes and dreams for the Centre? I hope the Centre can support long-term projects by establishing strong network with the community, researchers, practitioners and different people with different backgrounds so the Centre can co-produce something that’s good for health and wellbeing. My hopes and dreams are that the Centre can get sufficient funding to do projects and make things happen without lots of financial constraints.
Are there any areas that you think that may be a challenge for the Centre and that we need to focus more on going forwards? We are doing some great work that involves many people, but many don’t know about the Centre and how they can be involved. It would be great to have better promotion so people know about it and how they can contribute to different projects and add value to the Centre.
Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a children’s eye doctor at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. I enjoy working with children and asking for their opinion on how we should run clinics and research projects.
Why are you interested the Centre development and co-production more generally? I have only recently heard about co-producing research with children. It seems very ambitious to me – to share power and make decisions together?! But I’m game! I have run sessions with children and young people, and have always been very impressed with their thoughtful reflections and contributions – and with their enormous creativity and enthusiasm! The Centre has adopted one of my colleagues’ project as a Phase 1 Pilot project. The input from the Centre has helped us a lot with setting up a Young Person’s Advisory Group for research at Moorfields.
What are your hopes and dreams for the Centre? Recently I attended a workshop run by the Centre (more about this event here!). I loved how everybody could exchange experiences and give and receive advice. I hope that the Centre will continue to flourish as an information-exchange place, so that we all learn from each other as we embark on the journey of co-production.
Are there any areas that you think that may be a challenge for the Centre and that we need to focus more on going forwards? Funding is always a limiting factor. I hope that the Centre will find a way to be sustainable, and draw on resources from core and grant funding.
So lots more work for us to do, particularly in relation to securing funding and long term sustainability for the Centre but there is still plenty of time! And… have a read of the ‘What’s next for the Centre blog’ where Niccola & Rachel talk about plan’s for the next few months.
Feel free to say hi back in the comments and or add your thoughts, and stay tuned for more co-producer profiles soon! If you would like to be featured in a future newsletter you are very welcome! Feel free to email Niccola firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan email@example.com.