Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust has launched its new involvement strategy, ‘Your Voice Matters’. The strategy has been launched for patients, people who use Trust services and for those that care for them, across the Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven areas.

The innovative strategy, shaping work until 2023, has been developed by the Care Trust’s Patient Involvement and Experience team, alongside patients, service users, carers and representatives from local voluntary sector organisations and community groups, who make regular and valuable contributions to the services the Trust provides. The development process was guided by the Trust Wide Involvement Group (TWIG) which is made up of both staff and members of the public who make regular and valuable contributions to the services the Trust provides. Those involved have drawn on their own experiences of using Trust services to advise and suggest improvements.

The aim of the strategy is to help make sure the views, needs and experiences of local people are reflected in how the Trust involves people, and in setting the priorities for the next few years. It is important for the Trust to support opportunities that enhance recovery and wellbeing, increasing ways for the voice of people who use the services is heard. Reaching out to connect with the local community is also important, by building on relationships with other organisations, groups and individuals, who can draw on their experience, expertise and insights.

Some of the priorities include increasing the number and diversity of people involved, including making it easier for carers to be involved; reducing barriers to involvement, especially for those whose voices are often not heard and overlooked; developing new ways of recognising contributions; and developing a greater variety of methods for involvement, including digital methods.

Isla Skinner, Patient Experience and Involvement Lead, commented: ‘The Trust has had a strong ethos and culture of involving people with lived experience of health issues in its work for many years, and laid strong foundations. The new organisational strategy ‘Better Lives Together’ provided a new perspective on how we can build on this. What I am most pleased about is the Your Voice Matters Involvement Strategy has been shaped at grassroots level, with 392 people taking part, offering fresh insights through 818 comments and 35 ideas, and giving us a very clear message on priorities and what good involvement should look like’.

Cerys, 19, is a service user who first got involved with the Trust through Young Dynamos, a young people’s research advisory group that helps to shape and influence services for young people. From there, Cerys was given an opportunity to speak to the Board of Directors as a patient story. Cerys praised this experience: “Me and my nurse went, and they were all really supportive and asked questions. I was able to give my opinion on how I thought my care was from the age of 13 to present. They were able to take that on board and I even gave some feedback on how things could have been improved.”

Another member of the local community, Michael, who has been involved in a range of activities in the Trust for several years, describes his experience: “I’m a small cog in a big area, so it does help, all volunteers do a big job here and we all enjoy ourselves; I definitely love helping people where I can.”

There are many ways that members of the community can become involved in Trust work, from developing information for patients and carers, to contributing to improving quality and safety of care, inspecting the environment and facilities, designing services and participating in staff recruitment.

Please visit the Trust’s website to read the strategy in full, which also includes fully accessible print and video versions.

For further information on getting involved, contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Lead on 01274 228298, or email