MacIntyre service users have always been at the centre of the organisation, and their wellbeing paramount. Hence, the various channels through which their voices can be heard. The ‘Training to be a Trainer Project’, started in September 2002, with the aim of developing skills for Learners to promote health. The group decided to change the direction of the project, to focus on areas of more relevance to them, and in 2004 the project changed its name to TFC “Trainers for Change” to better reflect the objectives of the group, later shortened to Trainers 4 Change (T4C). In 2007 T4C won the award for ‘Best involvement of people who use services and/or carers in developing social care’. T4C became trained facilitators and were an invaluable resource for MacIntyre in training both its own staff and, following the award, those outside the organisation.
T4C have become self-managing and have gained a strong reputation for delivering important messages in a fun, impactful style (The Ring, Spring 2008). The following year, MacIntyre and Derbyshire County Council joined forces to fund a one-year project called Reps on Board, aimed at training self-advocates who represent people with a learning difficulty on Partnership Boards. Reps on Board with continual funding since conception to date from Derbyshire Council has gathered real momentum with reps playing a key role in the local advocacy movement. Another example of service users having a voice within MacIntyre is the launch of The Mag in 2003. The Mag is a MacIntyre publication for and by those who use MacIntyre services, put together by a team of service users, who select and edit articles sent by other service users from all over MacIntyre. The Mag is in its 8th year, and continues to develop and grow.