The last six months….

Hello. We thought we would share some thoughts on what the last six months have meant to us, members of the Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead Experts by Experience Network.

First of all, who are we? We are people with lived experience of homelessness, mental ill health, substance misuse and/or offending who meet up and work together with Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead to find ways to influence and improve how local support services are delivered.

Here are some of our experiences of the last six months:

The last six months have been a time to reflect, recharge and assess my recovery journey. For example, there were things I was doing that I thought were keeping me well but actually weren’t. It’s also enabled me to embrace the world of Zoom. The training and support I’ve found there has got me through the pandemic. (Fiona)

The last six months has seen me getting off the treadmill, back to basics and for me I felt like life had been made simpler. Took me back to my childhood. (Carol)

The last six months has seen my support network change and I’ve had to look within more and find my own answers. My teams are getting smaller and I’ve found other networks, charities and friends. Finding out who I am without other people telling me. (Haley)

The last six months has been boring with a capital B. I like being around people. But I have had a rest and helped others. (Joanne)

The last six months has been all about making me positive and getting back to myself. (Mark)

The last six months has been a rollercoaster! I’ve got my own place…..and my own mice. (K)

The last six months have been quite isolating but some soul searching. I’ve had to reinvent the way I view the world and the way I work. I have been more creative at home, knitting, sewing and artwork. I make a schedule every day and I stick to it. I make a positive out of every day. I don’t think the Government has done enough for mental health. (Carol)

Work with us

We are here to help services across Newcastle and Gateshead listen to the voice of lived experience and put co-production into practice. Developing new initiatives, supporting recruitment and co-designing and co-delivering staff training are just some of the things we get involved in. We’re always ready to welcome new members with lived experience to the Network too.

For more information, visit or contact Female Engagement Co-Production Worker Lou Thorpe at or on 07812 672739. We’d love to hear from you.