At BCHA, we believe in working together with our customers to make a real difference in our community.
We call this co-production
It means sharing power and partnering up to create positive change.  

We think this quote sums it up nicely:

"Imagine if someone else had control over the most important decisions in your life. You can't even talk to them. That's how it feels for many people when they're trying to meet their basic needs. 'Doing to' can be traumatic, but 'doing with'—that's co-production with someone who's been through it—can be empowering."

Including our customers, who are the real experts, in planning new services, hiring staff, providing training, and designing spaces that matter to them, helps us make sure we're meeting their needs. Our customers have unique insights that challenge our assumptions and inspire us to try new things to bring about real change. 


To celebrate National Co-production Week, our Co-production Lead, Mike Knowles, shares his expertise and our successes in making sure our customers' voices are heard.  

It's been an exciting year as we've seen co-production become an integral part of BCHA's culture and principles, from our staff who work directly with customers to our top-level decision-makers. 

In the past, we mostly asked for our customers' opinions, but now we're taking it a step further. We're actively engaging our customers, working together to create, innovate, and produce positive outcomes. It's become a top priority for us. 

We've also embraced the approach of Psychologically Informed Environments and Trauma-Informed Practice, which are closely connected to co-production. We're making co-production real by sharing customer stories, creating customer communities, and shaping our services based on their input. 


What does Co-production look like at BCHA? 

Here are some of the exciting things we've been doing over the past year.

The Supported Housing Reference Panel and the Customer Steering Group 

We've established a group where customers can meet regularly to share their thoughts and ideas on our current and future services. Some members of this group also participate in our Customer Steering Group, where they get the chance to meet with our board and executive team to ensure their voices are heard and contribute to improving BCHA. 

Read more about this in our latest news update Collaboration Between Customers and the Board Unveils a New Era of Business Planning for BCHA
Read more about this in our latest news update Collaboration Between Customers and the Board Unveils a New Era of Business Planning for BCHA

Social Cafe and Hub 

In Exeter, some of our customers took the lead in creating a social café at Gabriel House. It's a place where customers can make friends, socialise, and improve their well-being. We've been so successful with this initiative that we've expanded it to our housing services in Plymouth and Bournemouth with the help of The BCHA Community Fund. 

For more details, read about Round Two of our Community Fund.


Community Café

Co-Production isn't just about listening to customers; it's about customers collaborating and sharing their successes. With support from The BCHA Community Fund, one of our residents, Mario Sobczak, started a weekly café outside one of our services. It's a welcoming space where anyone from the community can come, relax, and build a support network. Mario has even visited customers in Exeter and Plymouth to share his experience and inspire others to create similar spaces. 

For more details, read the full story on our Community Cafe.

Men's Group

Following the success of our Women's Group, we've also started a Men's Group at Gabriel House. It's a supportive community where male residents can learn from each other, grow personally, and improve their well-being. 

Talk Shows

We're committed to hosting Talk Shows where customers with lived experience can share their stories in their own words. It's a platform where they can discuss important topics like hidden homelessness, LGBTQIA+ representation, and the challenges of transitioning from support accommodation. 

Listen to our Talk Shows.


Interview Panels

We involve customers in the hiring process, including the recruitment of our new CEO, Lorraine Mealings. Customers help us come up with interview questions, visit our services, and even participate in interview panels. This ensures that we hire people who are committed to putting customers first. 


Looking back at the past year, we're proud of our co-production successes and the relationships we've built with our residents, customers, colleagues, and the community. But our journey to championing customer voices is ongoing, and we're excited to achieve even more through Co-production with our customers. 

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