Seen and Heard
This densely packed book provides a wealth of information and a host of well researched and clearly documented initiatives aimed at targeting and encouraging marginalised service users to participate in consultations intended to improve their quality of life. The authors, who together have a wealth of experience in working with homeless and otherwise dispossessed individuals, have clearly retained an enthusiasm and commitment to the task which illuminates every chapter.
The homeless, women escaping domestic violence, people with addictions, offenders, the young and those marginalized by their ethnicity are often hard to reach because they prefer to remain excluded, they are not directly involved in local care, or they are transitory. Consultant Brafield and practitioner Eckersley draw from their own experiences in empowering people by getting them involved in day-to-day and long-term strategic planning. They describe traditional recruitment methods, such as public meetings and questionnaires but also offer such methods as creating a gallery of writing or art or conducting video interviews. They describe models of service user participation and their research project, barriers and enablers to effective service user consultation, a two-tier model for strategic planning, and methods to use in creating your own consultation strategy.
Inspired by their own experiences of the Supporting People programme, Helen Brafield and Terry Eckersley have produced a much needed insight into how voluntary organizations working with disadvantaged and marginalised groups in housing need can begin to overcome potential barriers to 'successful' user participation... This small but insightful resource will be of particular value to social care professionals interested in the Supporting People programme and their wider service user involvement project. Overall, Service User Involvement: Reaching the Hard to Reach in Supported Housing is a powerful book, which provides an up-to-date resource for a topic that has generally been badly served by conventional social policy and social work commentaries. It is therefore a contribution that should be noted, even celebrated, and certainly not hidden from view.