How young people are delivering change through co-production | Our latest updates

How young people are delivering change through co-production

Three young people seated at a table having a conversation

This week at NHFT, we are celebrating our work in the area of co-production.  

For those who are not familiar with the term “co-production”,  this is when NHS services or teams work alongside people with lived experience of using that particular service, to either improve the service, make adaptations or develop new services. NHFT has been using co-production across services for almost ten years. By combining clinical expertise with the experiences of services users, the hope is that more patients and service users will have a positive experience receiving treatment at NHFT. This week, we will be sharing five different examples of how different service areas have used co-production to develop or improve services, and you will hear from those who have been involved.

For the young people involved with NHFT’s Youth Advisory Board, co-production is about so much more than having their voices heard – it’s about growing their confidence and having fun too.

The Youth Advisory Board is part of the NHFT Co-production and Participation Team. Its members have a wealth of knowledge and lived experience which they put to good use to help shape local services for children and young people.

That can range from helping to create information leaflets for service users, to sitting on interview panels when the Trust recruits new staff to children’s services.

And more recently, it has involved designing and developing NHFT’s new iDiscover service – a safe and welcoming community supporting children and young people to learn and grow.

Because iDiscover has been created with children, young people and those who care for them, the service is able to offer activities and resources reflecting real experiences of what life is like growing up in Northamptonshire.

Youth Advisory Board members Ryan (19), Darrell (17) and Ellie (22) have all been part of the iDiscover journey, and they reflect on why their co-production experiences have been so positive for them.

Ryan says: “I’ve been involved with meetings, steering groups, designing courses, doing talks – and every single time it has felt like my voice has held just as much weight, if not more, than the adults in the room. It’s been valuable, it’s been fun and I’ve enjoyed every second of it.

“I feel that if you’re not getting the opinion of people who are using the services, you can’t truly understand what they need. Co-production makes so much of a difference because people feel seen, they feel heard, they feel represented.”

Ellie says: “It’s led me to have opportunities of being on project board meetings and interview panels and using my lived experience to be able to make a change. It really does give you that chance to get your voice heard and put it into something helpful for other people – and produce things that we know are going to be beneficial.”

Darrell adds: “I feel like co-production gives the ability for young people to actually know what’s going on – so they’re not just getting told but they can actually see and understand. It allows people who are experiencing a service to be actively involved.

“But personally I think it’s been very useful for developing confidence as I now have an ability to talk more into rooms and give my input, when before it was maybe not easy to do.”

Find out more about children and young people’s participation and co-production at NHFT at

Watch Ryan, Ellie and Darrell talk about the importance of co-production in these short videos.

If you would like to get involved in co-production, either as a service user, carer, family member or a member of team NHFT, please contact:   

For children:

For adults:

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