My experience of being part of Co-create so far

Jemimah Akrofi - 19 January 2023

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If I could describe in a word, my experience of joining Co-create, it would be captivating.

I fell into the role whilst working as a Business Growth Assistant within South Yorkshire Housing Association Enterprises (the organisation that owns Co-create). Two weeks into my new position, the prospect arose to help Co-create with some financial aspects of their business for a few hours a week. I agreed as they sparked my curiosity during an earlier introductory session, although at that moment, I didn’t fully understand co-creation.


The journey to understanding

Once my role finished with South Yorkshire Housing Association, I happily accepted the opportunity to join the Co-create team.

Before joining there had been a co-production week at South Yorkshire Housing Association where webinars were taking place. The webinars delved into co-production, asset based community development and co-creation. I learnt a lot from these webinars about the different co-production elements and how they all interconnect.

My understanding of the processes of Co-create felt unchanged during my first month. However, I now had the seeds of knowledge from the webinars at the back of my mind. I could understand to a greater degree, how the many benefits of co-creation could fit into people’s lives as a tool for implementing change.

The one moment when everything began to click for me was at the end of October 2022, when we went to the University of Sheffield Knowledge Mobilisation seminar. Chris and Danny taught the medical students how to apply co-creation within the context of Knowledge Mobilisation.

Going into the seminar, I had no notion of what to expect. Neither did I understand what Knowledge Mobilisation was. Whilst taking part in activities with the students, I learnt a lot about how Co-create works on the ground and the projects they had accomplished with their previous clients.


Why Co-create

Upon reflection on the last few months as a new member, I honestly believe this single session was pivotal to my understanding of Co-create and co-production.

It was amazing to witness how the students shifted from not understanding the significance of co-production or how it could apply to them, to becoming filled with fascination with the whole process.

Some students even came to ask how to volunteer with us!

Co-production and its associated practices feel like a growing beacon of light in systems where power tends to accumulate at the top level and the voices of those affected go unheard. Within the different primary care networks Co-create has worked with, there has already been a measurable change in how these places operate and in how they treat their patients and community members.

In much the same way within our wider communities and different hierarchical systems where inequalities exist, I think if people can genuinely understand and correctly utilise principles of co-production, it really can become a force for good.

So, whilst I am still new to the Co-create team, I feel absolutely at home here.

I am working together with brilliant colleagues in support of something that will bring about positive change with time and I’m eager to see what changes co-production will bring!

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