About the Stoke Expert Citizens

We are an independent group of people who have all experienced multiple needs – combinations of mental ill health, homelessness, addiction and offending behaviour. We all have powerful stories to tell, and we use our unique skills and experiences to be a voice for others. We give our ideas to services of Stoke-on-Trent to help guide and shape them to improve the care of multiple needs citizens. We act as a support network for each other and engage in team building and promote healthy lifestyles.

We use our voice to raise awareness of multiple needs, reduce stigma, and challenge stereotypes. As ambassadors of lived experience, we encourage decision-makers to listen, learn, and then lead systems change in local services to make them even better.

Our experience has featured on BBC Radio 4, ITV, The Guardian, on social media, as well as in the national and local press.

Working with the VOICES project

VOICES is a £10 million city wide partnership, funded by Big Lottery. VOICES works with individuals experiencing multiple needs, ensuring a coordinated and seamless service. We work closely with the VOICES project; we work as Board members as well as being alongside managers and staff in various capacities.

Funded by the National Lottery

Expert Citizens is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund as part of Fulfilling Lives: Supporting people with multiple needs.

A principle of any effective service is that it works effectively for those it is designed to help.  Those with a lived experience bring a unique perspective. Expert Citizens organising and articulating their views challenges the pervasive oppressive attitudes and stereotypes which underpin  a lack of care and concern for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Unless their perspective informs service design we will simply continue to waste money and resources investing in services that don’t work whilst perpetuating human misery.

GILL BROWN, BA(HONS) D.UNIV – CHIEF EXECUTIVE, BRIGHTER FUTURES