Participation and Experience

We are the Participation and Experience team for the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Meet the team

  • Sandra Baker, Participation and Experience Team Manager
  • Laura Shine, Participation and Experience Coordinator
  • Katy Willmont, Participation and Experience Team Lead – Acute and Urgent Care
  • David Ingram, Participation and Experience Team Lead – Dementia & Frailty, Integrated Community Care and Recovery (North and Central), Birmingham Healthy Minds
  • Saima Aston, Participation and Experience Team Lead – Specialities, Integrated Community Care and Recovery (South and Solihull)
  • Manisha Panesar, Participation and Experience Team Lead – Secure and Complex Care
  • Nasim Begum, Participation and Experience Worker
  • Luke Dilloway, Participation and Experience Worker
  • Ruumi Cabdulqaadir, Participation and Experience Worker
  • Donna Thomas, Participation and Experience Worker
  • Nagina Kiren, Participation and Experience Worker

What is Participation and Experience?

Service user experience is the process of what receiving care feels like for the service user, their family, and carers.

It is a key element of quality, alongside providing clinical excellence and safer care. The way that the health system delivers its care and support services – from the way the phone is answered, the environment as they wait for their appointment, or the nurse explains what is happening – has an impact on the experience the patient has.

​​​​​​​Our team will collect experience data from service users, staff and family/carers to promote service user involvement, and support teams to use experience data to bring about changes and improvements.​​​​​​​

We are here to support the engagement of service users, families, and carers; in all aspects of our Trust services, both at an individual and service-wide level to bring about changes and improvements to the way our services are planned and delivered.

Our main areas of work are:

  • Supporting our staff to encourage recovery focussed services.
  • Co-production of any service improvement projects around the Trust
  • Training and supporting our Experts by Experience (EBE’s) so that our service users, families and carers can participate in working alongside us.
  • Training and supporting our Experts by Experience (EBE) so that our service users and carers can participate working alongside us.

The Parable of the Blobs and Squares

Parable of the Blob and Squares

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust values the experience and expertise of our service users, carers and families and wishes to strengthen the user/ carers/families voice in the planning and delivery of the mental health services.

We have opportunities for you to get involved, either with our Experts by Experience Programme or the Recovery College for All sessions.

Recovery College

Recovery College for All believes that learning together makes us stronger. Recovery College for All offers a range of co-produced sessions that are designed and facilitated by individuals with experience of living with mental health difficulties alongside healthcare professionals. All our sessions are open to BSMHFT service users, their families, carers and supporters, Trust colleagues and Trust members over the age of 18.

Experts by Experience

Our Experts by Experience (EBE’s) support both our clinical and non-clinical teams in service developments by representing the values of co-production and improvement by providing their input from an EBE’s perspective.

The opportunities we provide to our EBE’s are trust wide and include all our community, inpatient and specialist services for adults and young people.

Experts by Experience Training

We provide training to our service users or carers who wish to become an EBE.

This is a 2 day course, and in the training, we cover subjects such as confidentiality and boundaries; as well as what we expect from our EBE’s and looking after yourself. We also include recruitment and selection training, in order for our EBE’s to be involved on staff interview panels.

Each EBE also receives a handbook so they can record their engagement with us.

To qualify for the training, we ask that service users and carers:

Have recent experience of using our services (within the last 3 years) either as a service user or a carer/family member.

  1. Some opportunities will require access to Microsoft Teams.
  2. Experience of receiving support from our Mental Health Services.
  3. Feel ready to use their experience to contribute to our service developments.

How does the process work?

If you/or one of our service users would like to get in contact, you can make your initial enquiry to

A member of the team will then have a conversation with you, to ensure that this is the right step for you.

Following this conversation, we can then either recommend the service user/carer for the training or have a look at some other opportunities for them if they are not quite ready.

Experts by Experience video

Please do get in touch with us if you would like to be involved with our team or like some more information.

Email address:

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