WY-FI Project

West Yorkshire – Finding Independence | Supporting people with multiple needs

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Five experiences…four months on

Last year our new team of Co-production Champions shared their experiences of their first week working in WY-FI after being successfully appointed from the peer mentor cohort.

Embedding this paid progression route for peer mentors has been among the most significant developments at WY-FI in Autumn 2017. Following their induction in August, five Co-production Champions began working in earnest during September, engaging people in the WY-FI Network and building trust through participation in meaningful activities.

The Champions have now put together a report about the last four months in their roles.

Within the report the Champions discuss early positive outcomes and challenges, personal and professional development, differences from initial expectations, future plans and co-production in general.

Thumbnail of report - click for full report

“During my first four months as a co-production worker, no two days have been the same, although during my year as a peer mentor I’d already learned some techniques and approaches that stood me in good stead. I had also developed a supportive relationship with many of the beneficiaries and the navigators who were extremely supportive”

 Download the full report here

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Picture1.jpgJoe from the Hub here, thrilled that the Co-Production Team at WY-FI finally has five new members of staff! Their aim is to connect WY-FI beneficiaries with opportunities to participate in the WY-FI Network and other meaningful activities in their local areas. Here’s how each of them found their first week in the new job.


Edmund Abbott (Wakefield)

“There is something different about traveling to a paid job.  I’ve been volunteering for some time but suddenly finding myself employed makes me feel like a part of society again, joining the rush to work like a fully-fledged member of the working world.  This week I’ve been based in Leeds for a 3 week induction and have met my fellow co-production champions.  I think this has been the best part of the week, connecting with my colleagues and feeling part of a team, and a great bunch they are to with a whole host skills and ideas.

Part of the week has been spent meeting other members of the WY-FI team and gaining an insight into their roles in the organization. We have also attended the inductions for the peer mentoring 12 week course in Dewsbury and Wakefield and have given the new course members and idea of what co-production is.  Joe has been great and given us all a good grounding in DISC policies and procedures and all the practicalities of starting the new role of co-production champions.

The conversations between my new colleagues has been most useful and has given me many ideas of how this new role will best work.  We have also met several members of the DISC team and their input into WY-FI. All in all it’s been a productive week and I’m looking forward to the rest of the induction process.”

Vicky Ashington (Calderdale)

“I have been working as a peer mentor for Calderdale for the last year. In that role I’d placed strong emphasis on group working and engaging beneficiaries. I was thrilled when the paid role of co-production champion came up as it seemed a natural and exciting progression.

This first week; leaving the shire! And commuting over to Leeds has made me feel like a professional person again. I’ve loved meeting my team and felt completely supported in bouncing ideas around and sharing our hopes and fears of how we will best meet the needs of our new role. There has been lots of practicalities that have, had to have been worked through, but equally plenty of time to get creative.

The fact that the role has been designed specifically for us has made the (extremely daunting) transition from benefits to paid work seem far less daunting than I ever thought it would as I was supported by both management and my team.

I’m so excited to see not only how my own role develops,  but also to meet weekly with my team and to share what their successes and failures have been to help us all better understand how to move forward within our localities. My experiences has been very positive so far and I know that when it isn’t quite as ‘rosy’ that I’ll be able to open up to great group of people who are able to support me.”

Rachel Boardman (Bradford)

“Coming from the background of a volunteer/peer mentor in Bradford, I have found that my first week has had its highs and lows. I have enjoyed spending time on team building and getting to know the other Co-production champions. By the middle of the week I was overwhelmed, I did not know what would be expected of me or what my job description would entail and I found this to be quite frustrating and felt quite anxious. However, as the week has progressed I feel like I have found my feet and feel like things are sliding into place. I am confident that I will be able to carry out the duties that will be expected of me. We have attended short training sessions on things like health and safety and policies and procedures which I have found to be informative and I am looking forward to the coming weeks and spending time at our location (Bradford).”

Darren Pedley (Leeds)

“I have been asked by DISC and WY-FI as a project to give some feedback on how I have personally found the induction experience of my new Co-production Champion job role.

I have been quite lucky really that our meeting place has being in the Leeds Hub as this has been my working environment for the last couple of years as a peer mentor.

I also imagine of how difficult and challenging this must have been as an idea to develop and manage, in such a way to try to accommodate us as a team individually, as we all have very different personal needs as employees with lived experience.

From WY-FI’s but especially from DISC’s perspective this new role is a completely different job description to any other role within the organisation as a collaborative venture, which is such a great concept to be part of and really interesting from my perspective. Really exciting work. I think our team will bring a creative range of perspectives to this job role.” 

Jon Mills (Kirklees)

“After peer mentoring for a while and some involvement in Co-production projects, I applied for this role believing it was the way to go and that I wanted to be part of it.

Highlights of my week have included …… sharing our experiences with two new groups of ‘cohorts’ from whom I received support and encouragement for the future and….being part of a new team who all have something different to offer and with whom I feel we have bonded well. I look forward to us growing together and supporting each other over the next eighteen months.

My hope for the future is that I will be able to establish and promote a role which plays a significant part in what WY-FI aims to achieve and that I’ll be able to support /enable beneficiaries to engage in such a way that benefits themselves and their communities.”