The Synergi Collaborative Centre is committed to forming partnerships and collaborations to transform the realities of ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness and multiple disadvantage and prioritise lived experience narratives.
SUGAR (Service Users and Carers Group Advising on Research) was founded in 2009 by Professor Alan Simpson and his colleagues in Mental Health Nursing Research at City University London. The researchers were keen to further develop service user and carer involvement across their programme of research and build long-term collaborative research relationships with members of local communities in East London. They wanted to ensure that a range of voices from those with lived experience of mental health services was heard in a systematic way by those conducting research into mental health nursing and services. Inspired by the motto ‘Nothing about us, without us’, the group currently consists of 13 service users and carers and meets with various mental health researchers once a month. Training and development is provided, and meetings are facilitated by members of the research team. SUGAR members discuss and contribute to various aspects of research projects, and the research process, and have also written journal papers and given conference workshops, presentations and posters. SUGAR has hosted a number of international visitors and recently won a national award for public engagement by universities.
BHA for Equality is a health and social care charity which exists to challenge and address health and social care inequalities and support individuals, families and communities to improve their health and wellbeing. The charity offers a range of services delivered at local, regional and national level in the areas of HIV and sexual health, cancer, TB, mental health, community health education and engaging and involving communities in health and social care decision-making. BHA develops services by engaging and involving communities who experience inequalities to identify needs, barriers and develop services. Its engagement and involvement teams offer services to statutory services, health and care regulators and others to help them reach out into communities whose voices are seldom heard or acted upon. BHA for Equality also supports smaller organisations with a range of infrastructure services, including financial management, HR, quality assurance and consultancy.