Co-production Week 2017

Co-production Week 2017

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Community cooperation at Stockport Mencap

By Dr Lynn Sbaih, Director, Give2Gain Community

I want to tell you about how some great small-scale projects reveal how co-production is so vital to successful community engagement. 

The Give2Gain Community Interest Company, in Stockport, grew out of a Community Timebank. Over the past three years we have been involved in co-production work with small business owners, local community organisations​ and community groups:

  • Supporting and enabling them, via community events and conversations, to recognise their talents, 
  • Supporting the to help each other 
  • Supporting them to develop mutually supportive relationships.

We now have an active Give2Gain Community that continues to have co-production as the foundation for its local networks and partnerships of help. To illustrate this, a project that started within the Community Timebank and which continues to grow and flourish today, is one with Stockport Mencap. 

Over the last couple of years, local people have come together update and maintain the building and garden. The range of people involved has been quite diverse and has included young people with learning disabilities, and their support workers.

Feedback, from those involved in this project, has been that they have found new friends, gained confidence and learnt new skills. They have painted walls, improved the lighting, replaced radiator covers, replaced shelves, dug the garden, swept up leaves and made cups of tea, to name just a few things.  The result, so far, is a revitalised building and sensory garden. 

Overall, we can see that this work has played a part in tacking loneliness and isolation bringing people together. Some people have dipped into the work, on occasions, whilst other have attended regularly. However, for everyone, it has created a structured space for talking and experiencing sharing.

One carer, working with a young disabled person, said: "This is hugely beneficial for our students and has given them a chance to experience work outside of their normal work routines."

The project has helped people, from a diverse range of backgrounds, to discover, and have pride and confidence in, their talents for helping and being helped. This has indeed been a project of community cooperation and co-production: pooling skills, knowledge, experiences and talents to create a welcoming environment for the clients and their carers that use and visit the Stockport Mencap building.

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