Putting our #CovFlock on the map

And finding shared purpose

A little while ago, I was pleased to see my friends in the NHS Horizons team announcing some fab new events across the country. Except locally here in the Midlands. How come? πŸ‘€

Plan A, waiting for an event in the Midlands, didn't seem to be working.

I had an idea. I decided to put Coventry on the map...

On the map – literally.

So Plan B was born - we'd do it ourselves!

I know some really great people in Coventry, all working hard to help people have holistic lives – not just a set of services. So we held an Inspiration Summit. As you do.

Clearly a gathering of like-minded ladies!

We would love to count you in Helen Bevan. Our global #CovFlock #FabChangeDay queen! No. 1 Radical. Moi? πŸ˜‰ #SHCR

Meanwhile, I got what I call a 'golden tweet'. Simon Gilby, CEO of Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, popped up on Twitter, offering to host a Coventry meeting!

We used our networks and the hashtag #CovFlock on Twitter to pull some really great people together.

There was amazing serendipity happening as it coincided with a storytelling course that my friends at Grapevine Coventry and beyond were running, which I became part of. The Dream Team was taking shape!

It is very powerful to bring together a group of people with shared purpose.

We are aware of many people who fall through gaps. Isolated people. Lonely people. People whose lives become defined by medical conditions. People who want to have holistic lives, not just 'a set of services'…

#CovMindTheGap was born.

Things can often be unnecessarily complicated and confusing.

And sure enough, nine of us met chez Simon and came up with loads of ideas.πŸ’‘πŸ’‘πŸ’‘

Sadly Bev Matthews, NHS England Lead for self-care, was unable to come but she sent lovely Estelle from her team to come and join us.

But Estelle and a few others had to leave before we got round to making our RAP πŸ˜‰

Thank you Simon Gilby! πŸ‘πŸΌ

I had taken a lot of notes of the meeting so they asked me to write them up. Eek. I didn't want to be the 'project manager'. I don't really do 'minutes'. So I got out my pens and a few bits and pieces…

And tried to bring our meeting alive!

The key things we decided were firstly to hold a Whose Shoes event in Coventry. We would bring together health and care professionals with a variety of Coventry citizens – young and old – living with a variety of conditions. We would focus on building community capacity, informal support networks and self-care.

We are planning to bring along Mel's famous yellow sheets. People can record their comments and improvement ideas as we go along.

We would then invite many more people to join us and walk a 'magic mile' in Coventry, with storytelling, singing and lots more exciting things happening along the way. Physical activity and having fun are hugely important to self care.

And we would hold the event on 19th October, linking with both Fab Change Day, a day promoting imaginative improvement in the NHS and beyond, AND Coventry's 'One Big Thing', A day promoting physical activity and well-being.

How cool is that? Thanks for the double thumbs up, Rishard. Take a look at the Swim and Tonic as a fabulous example of what is happening in Coventry and recently recognised by #FabChangeDay!

We would focus on the things that matter and try not to get drawn into bean-counting shenanigans

We are drawing in the NHS England Sustainable Improvement team who are charged with implementing the opportunities around self care. I am hoping to collaborate with them co-producing challenging scenarios, as we have done for #MatExp.

David Trigger is helping the cross-fertilisation of ideas with his local trust and fellow citizens in Worcester

And Andrew is linking us to physical activity at Warwick University and opening our minds to new ways of breaking down barriers

Coventry City centre

So sometimes you have to find a circuitous route. But you always get there in the end. πŸ˜‚

And if you can create conditions where individuals feel they can actually make a difference, anything is possible. We are looking to bring in lots of wonderful individuals and see what talents they can bring to our fun day. If you I am in the Coventry area and have something to offer, please get in touch!

Our approach is definitely much more 'bazaar' than 'cathedral' and the 'gaps' that can be addressed are everywhere. So who knows, #CovMindTheGap might trigger a much wider social movement. 😎

So at the moment #CovMindTheGap is in outline form but taking shape very quickly. Come and join us!