25th February issue

Reactions to our first DDN/Alliance service user conference have been illuminating, interesting and inspiring for the next attempt. Most of the responses to our office and to our colleagues at the Alliance have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic; it’s on the online forums that discussion gets more open. Some contributors suspected there was no point to the event, as nothing would change. Others found it a less than polished experience compared to a standard conference format. Some didn’t go – but were sure it couldn’t have been worth it. That’s the most frustrating comment to hear!

Was it worth it? Well we hope and believe so – but it depends on what happens next. We got a lot of information from it, and in this special issue we’ve only been able to include a fraction of the many comments and suggestions that were left on hundreds of post-it notes. I hope it gives you a taster of the passion in the room that day: there was appetite for positive change and constructive liaison to get there – we now have to try and harness this energy to make it happen. None of the information we gathered will be wasted (except maybe the suggestion to get spent meth bottles valued as recycled glass… though who knows?!).

The comments will inform our work on DDN, and give us ideas on improving communication with service users all over the country. Documenting problems and issues is surely the start of improving them. This event was just the beginning: expect to hear more!

One of the very strong messages that’s come through already is how much people gained from sharing experiences with others from around the country. If you have thoughts about the conference, or any other aspect of service user involvement, please don’t stop the dialogue: get in touch so we can explore the issues that matter to you.

Read the magazine: PDF Version