Across the country the Fulfilling Lives project has recruited volunteers with first-hand experience of finding themselves in a difficult and damaging position as a result of one or more multiple needs(homelessness, addiction and problematic substance misuse, risk of reoffending or mental ill health) who have been able to turn their lives around and get to a positive, stable position and start influencing systems change in their local community.
The National Expert’s Citizens Group is a quarterly event where volunteers in these positions come together to share experiences, updates and look at how Fulfilling Lives is making a difference on a national basis. Me and Dylan (another member of ICM’s core group) went to Birmingham to attend this event.
The guys from Birmingham Changing Futures Together made us feel very welcome and it was inspirational talking to so many people from diverse backgrounds with lived experience of multiple needs who had turned their lives around and were using their experiences to inspire change in those who were still stuck in these negative cycles and really drilled in how Fulfilling Lives is giving so many people the opportunity to make real difference in their local community.
The main discussion was around the benefits of communicating with the other 12 Fulfilling Lives Programs. It was clear speaking to experts from the other areas that all have had their successes and all have areas they need to develop.
It seems obvious that working on similar projects across the country there is a lot that we can learn from each other and by working together by sharing ideas and knowledge we can improve Fulfilling Lives on a national basis.