The National User Group is made up of service users from all over the country. The management committee comprises of members elected from the National User Group.
If you are a member of a disability group or a service user led organisation and would like to find out more about our national user group you can download more information here:
Peter Beresford is Chair of Shaping Our Lives and is a long time user of mental health services. Peter has been involved with Shaping Our Lives from the outset and has carried out research and written much about the best ways to involve service users in the services they receive. Peter Beresford is Professor of Citizen Participation at the University of Essex and Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University.
Ann Nutt: In my late twenties when my children were very young I developed a serious long-term illness that was debilitating and I was no longer able to work. This was a life changing event and introduced me to the voluntary sector and social care. I have over the years held many roles in my local community, I am currently on the Executive committee for Essex Scouts Trustee of Rainbow Services, Chair of the Patient Panel, a trustee of Essex Coalition of Disabled People and I was awarded NHS East of England Leadership Recognition Awards – Patient Champion and PowerUs, an International organisation SOL has worked with for a number of years, has asked me to be the service user co-ordinator with Helen Casey of Durham University for the coming two years. I am currently co-chair of Shaping Our Lives.
Michael Turner: I have a long history with Shaping Our Lives. I was the worker on Shaping Our Lives’ first project on user defined outcomes which started in 1996 and went on to work on several other projects. I helped Shaping Our Lives develop from being a project to being an organisation/network and was a member of the national user group and management committee until 2008. I have also worked with a range of other user and disability organisations, along with a range of other organisations including universities, government departments, local authorities and charities. This has given me extensive experience of user involvement and management in a small organisation. I now work on user and stakeholder involvement at the Social Care Institute for Excellence
Graham Price chairs Sandwell Visually Impaired (SVI), a user led organisation. He likes to network, having developed close links with RADAR; his local deaf community; and those with learning difficulties. Graham sits on his council’s Disability Equality Project Board and he is a member of Birmingham University’s recruitment panel for new students for social studies
Jen is a black woman with learning difficulties. She works for People First Lambeth in South London. She loves going to meetings and speaking up for people with learning difficulties who can’t speak up for themselves. She likes looking after people with learning difficulties as well. She is a member of the Partners’ Council at the Social Care Institute for Excellence. Sometimes she likes to socialise. She likes to chat to people about what is going on in their lives, what they are going through.
Kay Malko: I am a Disability Equality Trainer and Consultant and have been involved in the provision of Disability Equality Training for statutory and non-statutory organisations, as well as the design and implementation of a number of service user consultations. I am a member of the Service Users and Carers Forum involved in the Social Work programme at Bristol University, including involvement in student selection, the practice assessment panel and lectures. I am also Secretary and Management Committee member of Swindon Seniors Forum, a group run by and for older people in Swindon and offering a collective voice particularly on issues important to older people. My work is informed by the Social Model of Disability, and by personal experience.
Gina: I know a lot about people with learning difficulties, the way we think, the way we don’t like stuff and if we’re not happy with I’ll say something to change their views, the people without learning difficulties’ views, how they work with us. I’ve been going to People First Lambeth a very long time and I love working on Breaking out of the Bubble because the people with learning difficulties, us, we wasn’t mixing in and we wanted to be part of the society. Now we are, I am doing that now and helping other people to do it as well. I’ve found some good ways to sort out problems. I’ve done research and I’ve made films. I’m very bothered about what happens to disabled people and how they are treated, all disabled people. You can’t leave out the others. You have to do all disabled people because we’re all in one.
Sid Jeewa: I am a freelance disability equality trainer and consultant working at both local and national level. My insight into the issues affecting disabled people in general, and Black disabled people in particular, are as a result of my own life experiences and professional involvement in disability issues since 1995. I am very much committed to ensuring that the views and opinions of disabled people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds become an integral and critical part of the overall service user voice.
Joanna Matthews is a disabled person who has over 25 years of working in the voluntary sector, both for disability charities and other not-for-profits working with vulnerable adults. She has organised accessible events and conferences and carried out monitoring and evaluation activities to assess the success of various work outputs. Joanna is also a member as well as being on the management committee of Unlimited Oxfordshire (a not-for-profit user group) and sits on Oxfordshire County Council’s Physical Disabilities Partnership Board as a service user and independent consultant. She is a non-executive Director of AllInclusive, a user led social enterprise providing services in Hampshire.
Colin Cameron has been active in the disabled people’s movement since the early 1990s within organisations including the Northern Disability Arts Forum, Inclusion Scotland, Lothian CIL and Disability Arts Online. He completed his PhD on disability identity at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, in 2010 and is now a senior lecturer in Disability Studies at Northumbria University. He is the editor of ‘Disability Studies: A Student’s Guide’, which was published by Sage in 2014.
Supporter for Gina and Jennifer from Lambeth People First
Eleni Chambers is involved locally and nationally with a variety of organisations and projects, including the Coalition for Collaborative Care and the National Survivor User Network. She has worked in mental health, mediation and involvement projects mainly in the Voluntary sector since the late 1980’s and more recently as a survivor researcher for several Universities, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the National Institute for Health Research. Eleni is a long term user of health and social care services and brings this perspective to her work
Rachel Purtell is a disabled women and a disability activist. She was a research fellow with University of Exeter for 14 years, where she was the Director of the Department of Health funded Folk.us, (Forum for Collaboration with Users in Research) research project. The aim of Folk.us was to change research culture in Health and Social Care so that research and the implementation of research results reflects the inspirations and issues of those who use health and social care services. Rachel medically retired in 2014. She delivers the odd bit of freelance training in Disability Equality Issues using a Social Model approach and one that is rooted in the experience of disabled people. She also still advises on how to involve people for various organisations.
She holds a Master of Arts in Disability Studies and has developed a nationally recognised vocational qualification in disability equality. She is published on issues of involvement and disability. She has a background in working for inclusive service user led organisations and voluntary organisations
Mark Lynes: I am new a new National User Group Member. I have been a member of various Birmingham Service User Structures over the last 20 years including the current Task & Finish Structures.
I am Service User Colleague at Birmingham City University since 2003 on Self-Employed in Social work programme taking part in teaching, Quality Assurance and interviewing etc. I hope my work in this area will expand over the next few weeks & months.
The Reason I have joined Shaping Our Lives to return to area of work I did as West Midlands Regional Disability Network Officer to support Disabled People Groups and to make the movement stronger if not renew.
Raj Mehta: Since retiring from BP over two years ago, Raj has been pursuing his passion in raising awareness and promoting the capabilities of disabled people. As such, he holds a variety of roles within voluntary and health sectors, serving as an advisor, a non-executive director, mentor and a trainer. He brings a unique and diverse perspective as a blind individual with extensive experience and knowledge of the corporate sector. During his career at BP, Raj was a commercially-focused experienced procurement and IT business leader with an excellent track record of delivering business results, with deep oil industry and corporate sector knowledge. Over 35+ years at BP, where he held a variety of leadership roles – within IT and Procurement functions – delivered numerous transformation programs, managed a variety of service organisations and dealt with hundreds of suppliers.
Charley Bell-Moore: I am a consultant for Inclusion Childhood Education Ltd helping with a range of disability focused research projects. All my life I have been having various operations to correct clinical injuries caused by medical negligence at birth. I write a blog https://postinjuryliving.wordpress.com Finding Ways Forward. I am a PTSD survivor. I work as a Personal Assistant supporting a young person with Autism. I have been on Shaping Our Lives User Group since 2015.
Michele Moore: My background is in working alongside statutory and voluntary agencies and services to build inclusion in local, national and international settings. The best way for services to improve is by listening carefully to what service users say and my work is about making this happen. I am keen on motivating people to maximise the difference they can make to support others, and on mentoring, and encouraging publication to broadcast good practice. I am Editor of the international journal Disability & Society which publishes a wide range of perspectives including the voices of disabled people, and a Professor of Inclusive Education. I am determined to be a Survivor and never afraid to questioning things happening.
Dr Paul Doyle: The title of my PhD. thesis is, A study to raise the voices of young disabled people preparing for life beyond segregated school: the power of disability research in promoting advocacy. I feel that one of the main outcomes of the research was that people with the most severe of speech impairments were able to air their wants and needs. I carried out the fieldwork for this study at a special school. The teachers at the school said that I had helped ‘unlocked’ the voices of some of the young people
Shaping Our Lives is all about user involvement and I would be prepared to attempt to get people with the highest levels of impairment to become engaged in conversations and actions that effect their lives. This particular group of people are usually left out.
Michael Shamash: I have been active in the disability movement for many years. I have been a disability activist in the trade union movement, have written reports on the life chances of disabled people for the DRC and on standards of care and support for the Social Care Institute of Excellence and co-ordinated a report on hate crime against disabled people for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. I have also been Chair of the Restricted Growth Association.
I am currently very involved in the area of service user and carer participation in social work training and work with the universities of Bedfordshire, East London and Middlesex where I am chair of the group.
I have always been deeply interested in disability culture and have presented papers on the role of disabled people in the ’60’s puppet Programme, “stingray” and the artist Velasquez depiction of small people.
I want disabled people to attain quality and equality and that is my goal in Shaping Our Lives.
Patricia Chambers was a much valued member of Shaping Our Lives management board. Patricia is sadly missed by her friends and colleagues. We wanted to remember her with a couple of poems that she wrote for our newsletter.