9th February issue

Voicing choices

Our second service user gathering was even livelier!

If you came to Birmingham for our Voices for Choices conference last week, thank you for helping to make it such a lively and enjoyable day. If you couldn’t make it this year, we’ve snapshots of the action on our website, including clips from the video booth – a fascinating insight to regional concerns and priorities.

We were thrilled with the response from the service user groups around the country to the invitation to come along and set up a display. It was a lively bazaar in there and we’ll definitely be expanding that part of the event next year. The debates were even livelier than last year and our trusty band of volunteers (a huge thank you to all of you) had a great response to the consultation exercise that ran throughout the day. We’re having the results analysed to provide a picture of service user involvement throughout the country, and will be sharing these findings in a special issue of DDN in a few weeks’ time. There’s so much interesting material we thought we’d take time to examine it in detail, so we can feed back to you what’s working and what’s not, and get your input on moving the user involvement agenda forward.

The question time sessions were very vigorous – and please remember we want your feedback to continue beyond the event. So much was packed into one day in Birmingham, but we’ve just started up our website forum, so we can look at issues as they come up and help to challenge where there are obstacles. We’ll be including some online opinions on our letters page in the hope you will join in (see page 8).

Another new feature is the postcard from Cumbria, an idea that came from Martin Roberts during a chat at the conference. And that, for me, was the real buzz of the event – talking about ideas for DDN as well as next year’s conference. More voices will lead to more choices, so let’s get to work on the next one!

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