Co-production and what it means for autistic people and people with learning disabilities

Posted: 7 July 2023

A group of four people in working together around a table

In this article:

  • What is Co-production Week 2023?
  • What is the impact of co-production?
  • What co-production means to the Brandon Adventurers
  • Get involved

What is Co-production Week 2023?

Co-production in the Real World is the theme of this year’s national Co-production Week.

At Brandon, The Adventurers take the lead on our co-production projects. Autistic people and/or people with learning disabilities who are supported by Brandon, are in paid roles to take part in our co-production work, internally and externally.

The Adventurers have contributed to Brandon’s strategic plans, are involved in recruitment and retention projects, are consulted about campaigns and PR activity, and are at the heart of all major decisions made at Brandon – nothing happens about the people we support, without the people we support being involved in the process.

For Co-production Week, our Involvement lead asked The Adventurers what co-production in the real world means to them.

What is the impact of co-production?

One of Brandon’s Adventurers, Nathan, has answered questions about his co-production work.

What effect has co-production had on your personal environment?

A good thing is getting to meet the bigger bosses, meeting new people and having an impact on things. I feel more confident and being part of The Adventurers has made an impact on me.

What challenges did you think you would face in implementing co-production?

I knew we were going to make some sort of change, but I did not expect to have such a good group of people and be covering so many areas of Brandon. The team we have now is bloody great and we’ve overcome our challenges as a team.

What have you enjoyed the most?

I enjoyed doing the hospital quality check and interviewing people. It was a big step for all of us. We were nervous at first but then just got over it. I did enjoy the prescribers course too.

Why is co-production so valuable?

The way I see it, we have a different perspective on things. You won’t notice the things we do, and so it’s important to give us a voice and be heard.

What co-production means to the Brandon Adventurers

Brandon’s Adventurers also met as a group to discuss their thoughts on the real world impact their co-production work is having.

Some of the opinions shared included:

Kate: “Co-production has grown my confidence. I’ve met new people. I can express how I feel more easily because I’ve got more confidence to do it.

“Before The Adventurers, I was confident and I could speak confidently but it didn’t always come out properly and now I know how to deal with it.”

Tom: “I think co-production has given me a chance to have more of a say and be more involved in the things that happen at Brandon.

“It’s giving me things to fill my day with, which is nice. It’s giving me the chance to do things that challenge me but I feel good at.”

Olivia: “I’ve enjoyed doing the work and meeting new people. We work together as a team and we’re proud of the work we do.

“Working with the university students was important because we were telling the doctors and nurses how to work with people with a learning disability. I have enjoyed helping other people with a learning disability.”

Peter: “I was really nervous meeting new people but now I like it. I’ve enjoyed all the projects.

“It’s important to get our fight out there and let people know who we are and what we are doing and how we can help anybody.”

Get involved

If you would like to get involved in co-production with support from Brandon, either as a Brandon Adventurer or as an employer or organisation looking to improve inclusion and involvement, please email our involvement team.

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