Our aim is to connect, empower and give people a voice in order to influence the development of personalised health care, so that it stays true to purpose.

We work to:

  • Provide information in order to empower people
  • Enable people with lived experience to realise their own power, potential and worth
  • Connect people with lived experience through the Peoplehub community to share information and experiences
  • Encourage people to understand and implement the strategic coproduction approach

Peoplehub is unique because:

  • We have direct experience of Personal Health Budgets or Personalised Care, either as an individual or as a family carer.
  • We empower people with lived experience to use their own voice, rather than representing them
  • We recognise the power and information imbalance which needs to be addressed in order that people can meaningfully coproduce with systems
  • We have a significant track record in co-developing and influencing the policy and implementation of personalised care
  • We model our approach in meaningful co-production.

The story of Peoplehub

(Click on each tab to read more)

Early days

Peoplehub’s early days are rooted in the movement for change driven by people themselves. One pioneering family determined to find a better way that care and support for their son, Mitchell, could be centred around him. They set out to have flexible control to ensure he had the best life possible. Mitchell’s family gained support and agreement from their local health system to do things differently. Mitchell’s personal health budget story was recorded and has provided a clear and persuasive example of how personalised care can work for people, including people with the most complex health care needs. Mitchell’s story can be found here.

Soon after this, another family was struggling to care for their father, who had developed a rare form of early onset dementia. By luck they lived in the same town as Mitchell’s family; and they were able to get in touch and learn from that earliest experience of how a personal health budget could work. Malcom’s story is here.

Both these trailblazing families influenced the perception of what was possible, by successfully negotiating to have personal health budgets and demonstrating their effectiveness. Mitchell’s story is one of the earliest and most influential examples.

In 2008, a founder member of peoplehub co-led the first national personal health budget programme. This was a voluntary sector initiative by “In Control” and had the support and input of their Chief Executive. 37 health organisations and their local authority partners signed up and committed to exploring how personal health budgets might work. Crucially, the programme also had input and advice from Mitchell’s family. In this way two founder members of peoplehub began to work together and co-wrote the learning from that work into the document "Citizenship in Health". The conversations and thinking which flowed from this work, and the connection with Malcolm’s son who became the third founder member, was the foundation for the creation of peoplehub.

Between 2009 and 2012 the Department of Health ran a personal health budget research pilot, and founder members of peoplehub were invited to hold places on the research pilot Programme Board. Alongside this work, they created the first national personal health budget peer network. Through peoplehub’s collaborative approach, working in partnership with the NHS, that national peer network started to inform the development of personal health budget policy and practice.

In 2012, peoplehub formed as an independent Community Interest Company and we continued to work closely with the NHS personal health budget team. One of our most important pieces of work through this time was the development of the “Key features of a personal health budget” which was co-written by the national peer network and agreed with the NHS. This has been a guide of consistency and quality.

In 2014, we created and delivered the first “Peer Leadership Academy,” The Academy grew from our recognition of the power and information imbalance that people experience when asked to co-produce with health systems. In order for people with lived experience to be able to contribute meaningfully, and on a more level playing field, people need the opportunity to develop relevant knowledge, skills, and confidence. The Academy offers this opportunity for personal development.

In 2015, peoplehub became a member of the Voluntary Sector Partnership with NHS England and successfully competed for a grant to support the co-production work of the NHS England personalised commissioning programme. Part of this work involved peoplehub co-creating and facilitating the development of local strategic co-production groups. Our learning from this was captured in the “Co-production Guide for Personal Health Budgets and IPC”.

The first personal health budget peer network evolved into the national personalised care strategic co-production group, which is led by NHS England’s lived experience senior manager. The group works to ensure that what is offered through the personalised care programme is clear, empowering, outcomes focused and makes sense to people. Its purpose is to balance system level priorities with what matters most to people.

Members of the strategic co-production group are all graduates of the Peer Leadership Academy. The Academy has proved so effective that peoplehub has now run nine, in partnership with the lived experience team, and there are over 100 peer leader graduates.

NHS England has recognised the vital importance of co-production and peer leadership to ensure personalised care achieves its intended outcomes for the whole population. “Universal Personalised Care” commits to developing 500 peer leaders by 2023/24, and peoplehub is currently working with NHS England and other partners to co-create a new online peer leadership development programme. This will be accessible to far more people than can be reached through the current Academies and is an exciting next step in peer leadership and coproduction.



Who we are

Robyn Chappell (Director)

Robyn has held a Personal Health Budget since 2015. Her story can be found here. Robyn attended the Peer Leadership Academy in 2017, and went on to join the national strategic co-production group. During her time as a member of the group, Robyn contributed to many NHS England policies and guidance documents, working and governance groups, workshops and training sessions and spoke at events around the country. She was the first person with lived experience to be invited to speak at the NHS England Public Board, where she presented to the Board at the launch of “Universal Personalised Care”.

Robyn is passionate about peoplehub’s role and work, and the difference that personalised care can make in people’s lives – as it has her own – and is delighted to join Rita as a director of peoplehub in 2020.


Rita K. Brewis (Co-founder & Director)

Rita BrewisRita has a life-long commitment to improving support across health and social care. At the heart of her work is the pivotal contribution of individuals and their families, integrated with the perspectives of professionals and commissioners. Her approach is to encourage developments which focus on the whole person in their social context – working with people’s strengths and skills as well as addressing health or social care needs. She is therefore particularly pleased to be a co-founder and Director of peoplehub.

Rita has worked independently and also in Local Authority, Voluntary Sector and Health Service settings; including as a Director of Mental Health Commissioning, Senior Service Development Consultant for the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and as an Approved Social Worker. Rita co-led the first national personal health budget programme, with the support and input of the then Chief Executive of In Control.

(Rita’s qualifications include an MSc in Social Policy and Social Work Studies, a Professional Qualification in Social Work, a BA (hons) in Psychology and English, and a post-graduate Certificate in Management.)

Associates

Peoplehub has a network of skilled and knowledgeable associates who work closely with us to keep our organisation effective. They inform our thinking, shape our strategic direction and support our values. Their input is invaluable to ensure we fulfil our aims. (Click on each name below to read more about them)

Michelle Romdhani

Michelle’s bio will be added shortly.

Courtney Wright

CourtneyCourtney is a Chartered Certified Accountant who owns CW Accountants Limited. CW Accountants Limited primarily works within the third and voluntary sector as they see the importance and impact that these organisations have within the community. Courtney has been working with peoplehub for several years with her main responsibility being the financial transactions and record keeping of the organisation.

Courtney particularly enjoys working with peoplehub as she feels a valued member of the peoplehub family. Courtney enjoys the interaction that she has with those with lived experience and says what she likes overall is: “just seeing the difference, impact and empowerment that peoplehub has on people's lives!”

Steph Carson

Steph has been working with Peoplehub as an associate since 2015. All of Steph’s work, through Darley Consulting, is about enabling people, teams and organisations to work effectively, creatively and compassionately. As part of this, Steph works with people with lived experience of personalised care and people working in the health, care and voluntary organisations to develop their leadership potential.

Steph offers peoplehub organisational development support and advice and is pleased to work with our organisation which she sees as passionate and committed to co-production. Steph also co-facilitates the Peer Leadership Academy, a national peer leadership programme run in partnership with NHS England. Steph particularly enjoys working with participants to enable them to share their personal stories effectively.

"Watching the powerful impact these stories have and the part they play in changing hearts and minds within services is hugely rewarding."

Charlotte Hardwick

Charlotte is a self-professed ‘quirky individual’ who loves Doctor Who, swimming and eating. When she was diagnosed with a degenerative neuromuscular disorder, she embarked on a six year journey becoming increasingly reliant on both residential and agency care. This left her feeling deeply disempowered and depressed. She then met her wonderful husband Tom, who also has a disability. They were initially told that if they wanted to be together, they would have to move into residential care.

Then came the option of a Personal Health Budget. This completely changed their lives. The Personal Health Budget essentially enables them to live like any other married couple, supported by a fantastic team of Personal Assistants. They are passionate about enabling others with disabilities to reach their own personal goals. Charlotte believes everyone should be able to live the life they want and that is why she is excited to be a peoplehub associate.

Chitra Acharya

Dr Chitra Acharya lives in Nottingham and she cares for her son, who has a personal budget. Chitra is a Patient Leader at NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group and through this, she became involved in the Nottinghamshire “My Life Choices” personalised care strategic co-production group. She is a member of the NHS Greater Nottingham Clinical Commissioning Partnership Patient and Public Engagement Committee, representing carers and as an expert in personalised care, and is a Patient and Public Representative at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

In her role as a patient expert, Chitra encourages people to make the most of digital services. She will shortly begin a new role as a Technical Project and Business Change Manager within the Connected Nottinghamshire programme. She is also a digital ambassador in Nottinghamshire and a national NHS App ambassador.

Chitra is also a computer scientist with research interest in 'Human Computer Interaction in Healthcare', as well as a trained dancer, volunteer, advocate, campaigner, and fundraiser. Her PhD research ‘Human Computer Interaction and Patient Safety’ contributed to knowledge – application of basic human computer interaction principles and practices reduced medical errors and improved patient safety.

After graduating from the Peer Leadership Academy, Chitra was part of the NHS England Personalised Care Strategic Coproduction Group. Chitra says peoplehub is important to her because “it has given me the confidence to use my lived experience as a carer to give advice and guidance on personalised care approaches within Nottinghamshire and on a national level.

Chitra’s qualifications include has a Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Information Science and Engineering, a Master of Science (MSc) in Data Communications, Networks and Distributed Systems, a Post Graduate Diploma Business Administration (PGDBA - equivalent to an MBA; which is awarded by an autonomous institution) in Marketing, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Computer Science.

Peter Glick

Peter’s working life has been as a freelancer for both large and small technology companies, performing various roles from developer to programme manager throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. Qualifications include a BSc, MSc and a recent MRes, with research ranging from how organisations can bypass IT department backlogs, how technology can enhance Neighbourhood Watch communities and how we can research with families unable to travel to group meetings.

A change of location with an associated break in the rat race of life provided Peter with the time to give something back. He started by volunteering with a range of charities, but it was his attendance at peoplehub’s Peer Leadership Academy that was pivotal to Peter working with families that have children with long-term complex needs. Using his professional and academic background, Peter has embarked on a PhD aimed at accelerating delivery of the huge potential of NHS England’s personalised care policy. The research will also examine if technology can play a role by enabling families, together with their healthcare and social care professionals, to form supportive online communities.