Over 60 people made up of Cedar Staff, Cedar Service Users and Cedar User Forum members at the Balmoral hotel for Cedar’s User Forum’s Co-production event.

Cedar's User Forum has local groups in Ballymena, Belfast, Downpatrick, North Down & Ards, Enniskillen, Foyle and Newry. Our aim is to be the voice of our Service Users province wide and create an inclusive society for all. We are focused on making a positive difference to the lives of people with disabilities. We want to empower disabled people to influence and inform services that will support them to live fully inclusive lives. We are person centred, approachable and supportive of all who use our service.

The forum is made up of Cedar Service Users who are prepared to challenge poor practice and seek service improvements. To achieve this we consult and communicate with Service Users, management, staff and external agencies.  

Four representatives from the regional Forum and a service manager have been meeting since February 2024 to plan for today.  The User Forum have been unable to meet in person as a regional Forum since before Covid and the planning team felt that it was important to meet as a regional Forum.  It is from this that an idea came to have a conference where we would invite guests speakers in and we could use the opportunity to look at the work that we do as a Forum.  So in true Co-production style the User Forum members co-designed, co-produced and co-delivered the event.

The event was a mixture of presentations and round table discussions.  The User Fourm planning team acted as table facilitators to feedback discussion on the various presentations.  The feedback from todays event will be taken back to the User Forum regional chairs to be discussed with the CEO and Senior managers and will be used to ensure that our User Forum continues to meet the needs of Cedar Service Users and continues to be the voice of our Service Uses

Our User Forum regional Chair Stefan Hughes Compered the days event he took the opportunity to thank the User Forum members the User Forum Champions and the User Forum Facilitators for all the hard work that they do for Cedar’s User Forum.

We also welcomed two guests speakers. The first speaker Linda Craig, Regional Lead for the Patient Client Experience programme form the public Health Agency discussed the role of User engagement in Health and Social Care.  

She explained:

“We want people to be able to share their experiences of health and care in ways which are safe, simple, and lead to learning and change. Through the anonymous and independent Care Opinion service people are able to share their experiences of the healthcare provision and today was an brilliant opportunity to share how we can build a new and effective system together.”

Our next Guest speaker was Ursula Murray, Service manager form the Patient and Client council who discussed The role of advocacy in health and social CareCedar’s

Ursula said:

"The Patient and Client Council (PCC) is an independent, influential voice that connects people to Health and Social Care (HSC) services, so that they can effectively influence these services. In relation to our role, advocacy can be defined as taking action to support people to say what they want, secure their rights, pursue their interests & obtain the services they need."

Elaine Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of Cedar said: 

“Cedar are committed to ensuring all Service Users have an equal opportunity to be involved with the User Forum because the voice of each & every Service User is of equal importance. The collective work generated during this event will have an ongoing impact as feedback will be taken back to be further discussed with senior managers and the wider organisation.”

Image shows a collage of guests sitting at tables during event and smiling at camera. It shows Linda Linda Craig, Regional Lead for the Patient Client Experience programme form the public Health Agency  with Johny Tunbull Head of Org Dev Cedar, it al