On Friday 15th February the team hosted the first Connecting People Workshop, an interactive event at King’s College London to raise awareness and share experiences of the CP intervention.
Around 50 people attended the event from a range of backgrounds and services interested in this model of practice. Many of the attendees were new to the CPI model and agency representatives from the pilot study also shared their experience, culminating in the room being filled with a breadth of perspectives and opinions, which lead to engaging discussions throughout the day.
After an introduction to the policy and research that fuelled the development of the intervention model, attendees were split into groups of workers who had experience of the intervention and those new to the study.
This was the first time we’ve brought workers from the different intervention pilot sites together, and so this event served as a valuable opportunity to learn how other agencies are working with the intervention. We held a group discussion from which the consensus was that the event had been useful and more networking opportunities should be organised, which we will endeavour to do.
Quote from a participating agency: ‘I feel that I am in a privileged situation that the use of the model in practice is nearly honed through our own good practice, however I have learnt a lot on how we can improve these practices even further and fully intend to cascade to my colleagues’
The attendees who were new to the model were given a ‘potted training on the intervention’ – short bite-size bits of training extracted from training sessions that we had run for the pilot agencies. This was no mean feat – we covered two training exercises that would normally take up to half a day in only 40 minutes – however we feel that we gave a good taster of the training days, and certainly helped to bring the intervention alive and place it in the context of their practice.
Quote from a worker new to the model: ‘Will use this model when commissioning for new services’
The final activity of the morning was a panel discussion. Panel members had first-hand experience of the intervention and came from diverse backgrounds, allowing them to adeptly answer all of the questions asked of them by the room. The panel were: Prof David Morris (P.I. on the Connecting People Study and chair, UCLan); Andrew Hodson (Arts and Media manager, BlueSCI); Audrey Gallier (Social worker: Derby City CMHS Early Intervention Service); and Dr Darren Craddock (Consultant Psychiatrist: Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust).
One of the questions raised: How do you incorporate changes in practice from the CPI model into agency culture such that its principles are sustained beyond the period of the research itself?
Attendees certainly made use of the networking lunch at the end of the day and many contacts were made for future correspondence. The agencies working within the pilot study had created posters for the event which were displayed during the lunch and allowed an insight into exactly how they had fitted their practice to the intervention.
We were busy taking photos, but that was not the only media coverage of the event. Old Trafford Community Television filmed the morning to form the basis of some of the training materials that we will be producing to allow new agencies to start to use the intervention. In addition, Andy McNicoll from Community Care attended the event and wrote a piece for the magazine, which you can read here. Sadly one of the Principal Investigators of the study – Dr Martin Webber – was unable to attend the event due to illness but he keeps a very active blog of his own, which you can access here and will give you more insight into his thoughts about the Connecting People Intervention.
Our team thoroughly enjoyed the morning and from the feedback, it seems that the attendees felt the same! We will be evaluating the event and aim to hold something similar in the North of England later in the year.