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It is not always easy to successfully involve people, even with the best of intentions and effective planning.

Thinking about the challenges that might present themselves when working with people with lived experience only pays off if we focus on learning from and overcoming them.

When we complied this toolkit some of the people we spoke to talked about times when things didn't go quite as planned. These experiences are highly valuable, because you can learn from them in a number of ways: you can reflect on what went wrong and why, and make changes to how you do things if needed. Ultimately, you can make sure your influence and participation activities continue to improve so that everyone involved gets the most from the experience.

Influence and participation is an integral part of Mind's work – and that of many other organisations – but always bear in mind the importance of involving people with lived experience for the right reasons. Drawing on people's personal experiences is crucial, but it should never be an act of tokenism, done simply to tick a box.

I don't feel listened to

I don't know how to help

I have competing priorities

I don't have the resources

I'm worried about risk

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Tools in this section

Annual influence and participation planning

This tool can help you identify how people will take part in each stage of your work and ensure people can meaningfully influence your work at the earliest opportunity and in the future.

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Managing risks

Use this tool so that you can be 5 steps ahead of yourself and plan any risks that might present themselves.

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Thinking about your timeline

Use this tool to situate your influence and participation activities into the bigger picture of your work. This will help you run meaningful initiatives that have the maximum level of influence.

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You said, we did

This tool can help you give meaningful feedback to participants in your activity and be clear about the effect their involvement has had.

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