Use your lived experience

Two women walking and talking We are lucky to have so many people who use their lived experience to help us improve services. This includes service users, carers, volunteers and paid members of staff.

Some people give lots of their time, some give just a little every month or as a one-off. Each and every one helps us to understand how it feels to receive care within our services. This helps us to see what makes the biggest difference to people’s lives.

There are lots of ways you can use your lived experience as a service user or carer. It’s about working together to improve services, improve our culture and improve people’s lives.


You could:

  • become a member so that you hear about what opportunities we have coming up
  • get involved by coming along to the engagement events we hold when we want to talk to service users, carers, families and the public about how our services are changing
  • become an involvement volunteer
  • take up any of our volunteering roles (these don’t require lived experience, but it can be very helpful)
  • attend a course at our Recovery College
  • take part in research
  • have a look at our NHS Jobs pages. We are committed to ensuring that our workforce reflects the community we serve and our service users. We promote and support the employment of people who use our services.

Hear from Carol, one of our Involvement volunteers


Become a peer support worker

A peer support worker is someone who has lived experience, and who uses that lived experience to help and support other people who are experiencing distress.

We provide training to people who would like to become peer support workers, or who would like to develop these skills to assist them in their chosen area of work.

The ethos of peer support – sharing lived experience with compassion, honesty and empathy to help other people who are going through their own struggles – epitomises recovery: we are not alone, we can live meaningful lives and we can build a better future for ourselves.


The peer support training course

The peer support training course equips trainees with the skills and techniques necessary to become a peer support worker. Trainees learn how to share their story in a way that feels safe, how to actively listen and about non-directive approaches to problem-solving.

The course will involve group tasks, a work placement and homework based on trainees’ personal reflections, and it has been developed with the aim that all trainees will be ideally placed to draw upon their lived experiences and skills learnt to offer and provide support.


What do I need to do to get a place on the training course?

The first step is to contact Scott Pomberth at Once you do, you will be added to our database of interested people. Everyone on the list will be contacted and sent an application pack as soon as we advertise for the next peer support training course.

To be considered we would like for you to have completed the following two courses at Nottingham Recovery College:

  • Introduction to Recovery Principles
  • Introduction to Sharing Your Lived Experience

These courses are very popular and therefore can become fully booked quite quickly. That said, if you are unable to complete these courses prior to applying for the peer support training course, please include the date you are expecting to attend them in your application form.

We will then interview applicants. Successful candidates will be invited to a welcome meeting to meet other successful applicants and to learn more about the course and potential work placement opportunities. The training is completed over a number of weeks and it is important that you are able to attend 80% of the classroom days to complete your training.



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