Co-evaluating the Lived Experience Engagement Project Group

26 July 2023
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Last year, Neami’s Engagement team brought together 11 Neami consumers and carers from across Australia, to form the Lived Experience Engagement Project Group.

The group, formed through an Expression of Interest process, provided input on several key Engagement initiatives over a period of five months. These included the Neami website and brand, broader engagement strategy, advocacy strategy, community engagement and updating language in Neami’s strategic directions.

The Engagement team’s approach to forming and working with the group was guided by key principles of Neami’s Collaborative Relational Practice. Feedback from group members indicated that their experience felt meaningful, rewarding and safe.

At the conclusion of the group, the Project Coordinator worked with seven group members to complete a co-evaluation of the process. Several common themes emerged, highlighting what participants found most valuable and supportive about their experience. These included:

  • Meeting structure that supported connection and feeling grounded
  • A sense of connection and common humanity
  • Diversity of group members
  • A safe and supportive space
  • Having clear processes and tasks
  • Relationship with the Project Coordinator and Engagement team facilitators.

Throughout the co-evaluation process, group members reflected on their experience:

‘My experience of Neami Lived Experience Project Group… Building people up by the process, in the process, through the process.’ – Catriona

‘The project was very well planned through from start to finish and I was really pleasantly surprised that all the core principles of trauma informed care were used and applied throughout the whole project.’ – Joy

‘The heard sharings somehow give a strengthened courage to follow our hopes and dreams.’ – Maree

The input of each member has been invaluable to the initiatives they contributed to, and the Engagement team are grateful to have been able to work with and learn from all involved.