S08: Workshop: Building Belonging: Creating welcoming communities through lived experience.

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By September 4, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Rachael Lovelock, Andie Coughlan, Mark Jackson, Anita Conlon

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Building Belonging: Creating welcoming communities through lived experience.

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Rachael Lovelock, Advocacy and Community Education Manager
Rachael’s a manager, advocate and family/carer leader drawing on lived experience and background in community development and project management to lead, design and implement service models, education programs and advocacy strategies at Wellways

Andie Coughlan, Consultant Program Development
Andie is a program content designer at who draws on her background in education and her own lived experience to create powerful learning opportunities. She’s lead the co-design, training and delivery of Wellways’ community inclusion workshop programs, ‘Well Together’ and ‘Well Said’, and is currently designing online coaching modules for carers.

Mark Jackson, Consultant Peer and Community Education
Mark works at Wellways as Consultant, Peer and Community Education. He trains people in lived experience storytelling, and presents from a lived experience perspective in a broad range of community and business settings. Mark was a CEO of a graphics and printing business, and has experience in counselling, health and business coaching, and in film production.

Workshop Outline:
Wellways were funded in 2017-18 to deliver “Well Together” – a project to develop, deliver and evaluate innovative awareness and capacity building workshops within the NDIS Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) funding environment.
Goals of the project include community education and engagement packages delivered by people with lived experience of psychosocial disability. The project draws on specific expertise and skills in reducing community stigma and activating inclusive behaviour within the community in relation to people with psychosocial disability. The project also included the development of organisational self-audit tool and resources that focus on the fundamentals of community inclusion.
The workshop is targeted at community organisations, service providers, peer educators and grassroots advocates who are interested in exploring the possibility creating change and developing inclusive communities through lived experience.

Workshop Plan
Introduction (10 min)
- Acknowledgement of country (2 min)
- Welcome and introductions (3 min)
- Establish safe space (in line with Intentional Peer Support principles) (5 min)
o Workshop group “discomfort agreement” on white board – designed to encourage individuals to consider their needs and to create the conditions for people grow in the space outside of their comfort zone
o Acknowledge impact community attitudes, stigma and discrimination

Presentation (10 min)
- The Well Together project: rationale and structure (5 min)
- Well Together project learnings (5 min):
o How to support people with psychosocial disability to engage with and access services with the mainstream service system and community organisations
o Creating deeper and wider engagement with mainstream and community organisations
o Creating a space in which people with psychosocial disability are valued, safe and invited in
o Increasing organisational competency and awareness of community inclusion
o Developing a toolkit for mainstream providers and community organisations
o Influencing and resourcing the NDIA and the mental health service sector

Interactive Workshop (30 min)
- Small group exercise: assess and discuss what your organisation or your role would need to do to establish welcoming and inclusive communities. Components to consider:
o Supporting community inclusion within mainstream service
o Building organisational cultural competency
o Addressing community attitudes, stigma and discrimination

- Whole group exercise: reflections on possible challenges and needs for workshops to be delivered through lived experience, including:
o Training and supervision systems – delivering best practice with limited resources
o Sharing of lived/living experience
o Negotiating between organisational boundaries and personal limits

- Individual reflection and small group discussion: How can organisations deliver community education in a sustainable way?
o How can we use our current resources differently?
o What might need to change in the system to enable us to deliver effective community education?

- Reflections back to the whole group

- Whole group discussion and brainstorming: Do we need to advocate for community awareness and capacity building?
o Key advocacy strategies for community members, community organisations, service providers and peer educators/advocates
o Influencing big-picture change - getting involved in systemic advocacy

Q&A (10 min)

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective (1): Workshop participants will learn about the importance of supporting and training people with lived experience to provide effective community education that challenges prejudice, celebrates diversity and invites people to be part of creating a more inclusive community. Participants will draw on the example of Wellways’ development and practical application of an Intentional Peer Support program within peer and community education; and explore practical strategies to effectively support this type of work within their own organisations, professional roles and advocacy activities.

Learning Objective (2): Workshop participants will understand practical ways that community organisations can engage in education that challenges the attitudes, systems and behaviour that exclude people, ensuring they are better able to meet their legal requirements for equal access and deliver better quality services. Wellways Community Education moves beyond awareness-raising, supporting community members to become active in welcoming and including people with psychosocial disability; and enabling providers to build the systems and culture that support everyone in the community to benefit from the service.


Salzer, M.S. & Baron, R.C. (2016). Well Together – A blueprint for community inclusion: fundamental concepts, theoretical frameworks and evidence. Published by Wellways Australia Limited, Melbourne, Australia.

Corrigan, P.W. & Watson A.C. (2002). Understanding the impacts of stigma on people will mental illness. World Psychiatry Feb; 1(1): 16–20.

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