National Co-Production Week: Karen's story

Co-production partner Karen Isaac has written a blog about her experiences on the Peer Evaluation Project and the impact co-production has had on her.

This article is 21 months old


I have been a co-production partner with Turn2us for about five years now, and every time I get asked to help on a new project, I get excited. Being asked to apply and being accepted to take part as a Peer Evaluator took my excitement and enthusiasm to a whole new level! 

Being asked to take part in the Peer Evaluation project to help improve the helpline is incredibly important, as it ensures Turn2us holds itself to account. My role is to identify if they are doing anything that could be harmful to their service users but to also highlight what they are doing successfully. I also identify if certain people are not getting the help they were hoping they would, and if so why, plus many other useful insights for Turn2us to make the journey for anyone using the Helpline even better. 

In the near future, I’ll be coming up to the main office in Hammersmith from my home in Kent to interview people that have actually used the helpline. I'll be finding out about their experience with Turn2us, including what they thought was helpful and what can be improved. I’ve had a few months training to get me this far which I found to be very rewarding and has made me even more excited to be part of the team doing this. 

I feel my time as a co-production partner has enabled me to really give my worth and help Turn2us understand their services from the point of view of a person who uses them. The people I will be interviewing are just like me, as I myself have felt what it is like to face financial insecurity and turn to charity for support. 

By accessing help through Turn2us, I found out about Co-Production, which really helped me regain my confidence. 

I brought up my children alone and struggled financially for many years. I was then in a car accident over five years ago, which had a knock-on effect as I had to give up my job, which had a devastating effect on my finances and day-to-day living. I had to sell my late mother’s jewellery to survive, which was so very upsetting as I had hoped to pass on to my now grown-up children. When you are struggling with financial insecurity, your self-worth goes, and you feel useless. It has an impact on all aspects of your well-being. It can make you depressed, worrying constantly about the lack of money. 

By accessing help through Turn2us, I found out about co-production, which really helped me regain my confidence. 

co-production is so important. It now is used in every corner of Turn2us’s work. It gives a true insight into the best way to work on projects. I first started a few years back, helping to redesign the Benefits Calculator. I feel I have changed on my journey on the five years of co-production, my thoughts, my feelings, and the way I approach my “lived experience” of financial insecurity. In other words, much good has come out of the bad. 

To learn more about how we do co-production at Turn2us and explore our co-production framework, visit our co-production page