Co-design Is More Than A Process

“Co-design Is More Than A Process” – Design with, for and by

Over the last seven months we have been leading on the co-design process to develop the Lambeth Living Well Network Alliance’s Culturally Appropriate Peer Support & Advocacy (CAPSA) offer.  


From the outset our approach has been to prioritise working in partnership with community; creating opportunities to ensure that the voices and lived experiences of Lambeth’s Black communities are centred and embedded in the co-design, development and delivery of the CAPSA service. 

Service User Working Group

The Service User Working Group (SUWG) was established as it was felt that the project would greatly benefit from a deeper integration of the knowledge and perspectives of those who have experiences of interacting with mental health services. Our SUWG consisted of four committed service users from Black communities in Lambeth who have lived experience of accessing and/or researching mental health services. The SUWG worked alongside us to drive the project forward, bringing meaningful real-time service user participation and decision-making.


The SUWG undertook a number of co-design activities including:

Ø  Developing a Survey

Ø  Participating in Focus Groups

Ø  Conducting Interviews

Ø  Creating the CAPSA Values Framework

Ø  Developing Job Descriptions

Ø  Contributing to the Business Case

Ø  Mapping the CAPSA Service


Together, we built capabilities, challenged mindsets, agreed, disagreed and compromised; all whilst maintaining a steadfast focus on our end goal to develop a service that meets the needs of Lambeth’s Black community, supporting them on their recovery journeys. We created a collaborative space where learned expertise and lived experience were equally valued and fostered an environment where every group member felt empowered to bring their ‘whole self’ to this work.


Co-design Highlights

Conducting Interviews

An opportunity to connect and gather insights. Never taking for granted the trust that is imparted each and every time someone chooses to share their story and lived experience.


Developing CAPSA Values Framework

Facilitated exploration to identify the foundations and pillars of the values which underpin this project and service. The CAPSA service core values include Humanity, Empathy, Healing, Respect and Togetherness.


Mapping CAPSA Service

From eligibility criteria to evaluation and everything in between, we’ve been mapping out every phase and touchpoint of the CAPSA service – paying close attention to how the service will be experienced?


What’s Next?

We recently submitted a business case for CAPSA and are awaiting final approval.

The CAPSA service will launch as an initial 12-month pilot. *subject to funding

We will be recruiting for the Service Manager role very soon, with the recruitment for the Peer Support Worker and Peer Advocates to follow shortly after. 


Thank You

In closing, I’d just like to say thank you to the CAPSA Service User Working Group for demonstrating co-design in action. You have all contributed so much to this work and it has been an honour and privilege to work alongside you.


“Co-design is more than a process.

It is a social movement focused on challenging and changing inequitable power structures. Designing with, not for people.”


– Beyond Sticky Notes – 


Written by: Keisha N. Swaby – Interim Programme and Partnerships Manager Adult Mental Health