Earlier this month we were immersed in Big Plan Week, sharing how we’ve developed our coproduction/working together approach since September last year.
A productive partnership
This week, in Learning Disability Week 2023, we are sharing details of an incredibly productive partnership between MacIntyre and ARC England.
Together, we have co-designed and co-delivered interactive and accessible Loss and Bereavement training.
Co-designing and co-delivering training
Jess Hiles, who draws on our support and is also employed by MacIntyre, has worked with two co-trainers, Nicola Payne and Beth Britton, to design this training. Jess, Nicky and Beth have worked over many months before delivering the training in March and May, with further sessions planned for September 2023 and March 2024.
It has been a successful partnership between ARC England and MacIntyre that has enabled us to utilise the expertise we’ve gained from the Dying to Talk Project, and really live the principles of our Big Plan for the benefit of the whole social care sector.
Learning from each other
We caught up with Jess, Nicky and Beth to find out more and celebrate their achievements.
I think we’d all say that first and foremost we’ve loved working on this training together. We’ve learnt from each other, debated and decided on what to include in our training, and tried really hard to give our participants the best possible experience so that, in Jess’ words
It will help them to learn what it’s like when you lose someone.
Both before and after every training session we’ve refined the training to ensure it best meets Jess’s needs. After all, you can only teach what you understand yourself, and it’s vital we all contribute as equals.
Jess’s confidence has grown immensely throughout this period as we’ve overcome barriers and been creative in our thinking and approaches. Jess says of working with ARC on the training
It’s been good and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Training materials that make sense to Jess
One of the changes we made with the content before the first training session was to create an accessible version of The Grief Cycle that made sense to Jess. This involved Paul Payne, MacIntyre’s Self-Advocacy and Co-Production Facilitator, making a grief cycle animation that saw the characters moving between the different stages of grief in random order. Jess says of this
I like that one. It helped me understand it more.
We’ve also used a lot of photo symbols on the slides to make it less ‘wordy’ and more accessible for Jess, and our headshot photos are on the slides that each of us lead on, so we all know who should be speaking.
Working hard… and having fun
Working over Zoom on the training sessions has been a positive experience for us. Individuals from different organisations and backgrounds have joined our sessions, with many participants sharing their personal experiences alongside everything we contribute when talking about our own bereavements.
Jess says of meeting lots of new people on the training
I’ve been nervous, scared… and happy,
This perhaps gives you an indication that we’ve had plenty of fun together too, which you might not associate with working on a topic like loss and bereavement. Jess’s favourite part has been exploding the bottle of coke, which illustrates that if you bottle up emotions you might explode. Jess’s message
Don’t bottle it up, let it out!
Feedback from our participants
We’ve had some lovely feedback from our learners, with comments from our most recent session including:
It was lovely to hear the perspective from Jess and her experiences.
This was a great course, very relaxed and very informative. It was presented brilliantly and Jess was an absolute star. Thank you all very much for making something that is usually uncomfortable to talk about very easy.
These thoughts very much align with the positive feelings we all have after we deliver these sessions, summed up by Jess when she says of the participants:
They learn a lot. They think about it and talk about it a lot to us.
You can read more about how we created this training in the April 2023 edition of Care Talk (pages 54-55)
As we always say:
Teamwork makes the dream work!
Jess, Nicky and Beth