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I don’t have the resources

Involving people with lived experience in your work takes time and resources. Sometimes projects fizzle out because resources are no longer available. This can be disheartening, but you can avoid it with careful planning before the project starts.

Tools to help you plan your project

A timeline and annual plan will help you make sure you're allocating enough time and staff to your project.

Planning your budget

It's also essential to understand the budget you'll have for the project. Become familiar with your organisation's payment policy and apply it in your planning process.

Think about whether the work you've got planned fits in the time you have available and the budget allocated.

If it doesn't, you may need to scale back your plans or speak with your line manager. If you don’t have the time, budget or other resources to involve people in a meaningful way, it’s time to re-think your plans.

Involvement should be meaningful, have scope to make change, and benefit people's recovery or development. If your resources don’t allow for this, it’s important to raise it with senior staff so it changes in future.

Sarah-Jane's experiences

In this video, Sarah-Jane talks about the way Mind's equality improvement team makes the organisation more accessible for different communities.

"I think the way that Mind is really benefiting from this piece of work is really to increase our understanding, strengthen our connections within those communities so that they know Mind is actually an organisation that they can go to and feel welcomed feel supported and get the help they need."

Diversity and inclusivity in lived experience work

It's incredibly important to be inclusive and make reasonable adjustments, to make sure everyone can participate. However, if you're worried about not having the resources to support people properly, it can feel hard to be truly inclusive.

Working with people from diverse backgrounds is essential. But you might be afraid of getting things wrong. In this situation, it’s often easier to avoid reaching out to people. Especially if you don’t understand the barriers they face, or adjustments they might need. 

Asking simple questions is sometimes all that’s required. And it will help you to allocate resources where they're needed. It’s likely to be much less damaging than making assumptions about what people need. And it’s definitely better than excluding people because your budget hasn’t been allocated appropriately, or you're worried about saying or doing the wrong thing.

You could also think about different participation activities that can meet the cultural and or religious needs of everyone whose views you’re seeking. This can be better than trying to cater for everyone at the same time with the same activity.

This may impact the resources you need. You might need more time, skills and money. But you may also find that by planning effectively, you can maximise the resources you have and reach a greater range of people. And you'll be able to do this in a way that’s meaningful to them, without overstretching your budget and time.

Read more on working with diverse groups in the diversity and difference section of the toolkit.

Other ways to get involved

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