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  • Writer's picturePippa

๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ“ข SpeakUp: The Big Launch! ๐Ÿ“ข๐Ÿ’œ

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

This summer we're delighted to be partnered with Healthwatch Sheffield for their #SpeakUp! campaign - and it launches today! In this blog post:

A graphic for the Speak Up project, in pink and green. On the left is a loudspeaker. On the right is text: Help raise the voice of our community. SpeakUp! Tell us about your access to healthcare.

1. What is #SpeakUp?

Each year, Healthwatch Sheffield works with local voluntary, community, and not-for-profit groups, to help them to reach out to the people they work with. Their aim is to help more people across the city to have their say about health and social care.

Last year they awarded small grants to 12 local organisations, which helped them to hear from over 790 people in Sheffield about the health and social care issues that were important to them.

This year Sheffield ME & Fibromyalgia Group were awarded a small grant to participate, so that we can capture the views and experiences of people in Sheffield with our conditions. Healthwatch Sheffield and SMEFG will write up the findings together, including recommendations for how services could improve, and make sure this is heard by decision-makers.

2. What are our aims?

We want to help anyone with ME/CFS and/or Fibromyalgia in the region to speak up about what would make health and social care servicesโ€ฏin their communities better.

Our focus is:

  • Improving access to health & social care support for people living with the conditions

  • Monitoring and promoting the implementation of the 2021 NICE guideline for ME/CFS

We wish to gather our community's views and feed them back to decision-makers in the Council and NHS in order to improve healthcare provision.

No matter how your condition affects you, your voice is important and we want to hear from you!

3. How can you get involved?

We know that ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia can present many barriers to participation - so we're offering lots of different ways to get involved! Our biggest priority is helping you get your voice heard, so if you have any questions or need further support with any of these, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

Read on to find out how you can take part, and get your voice heard! For more information, visit our SpeakUp website here.

- Fill out our survey:

Our survey aims to collect data from as many people in the community as possible. In the survey, we ask about:

  • Barriers you have faced in accessing health and social care

  • If you have a diagnosis of ME/CFS, we will also ask you some questions about the new NICE guideline for ME/CFS, published in October 2021


Please return it to us by Friday 16th September at the latest.

We will be presenting the findings from this survey to decision-makers during our stakeholder engagement event on the 4th of October 2022, and via other online and in-person means.

- Register for online 'Cuppa & Chat' focus groups:

These friendly, social focus groups are on Zoom, and will last about 1 hour including breaks - just stay as long as you can manage. They aim at sharing experiences in a safe environment, identifying barriers and exploring solutions to aspects of living with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia.

Each focus group will explore a different topic:

  • Thursday 11th August, 11am - Intro to our SpeakUp! project

  • Tuesday 16th August, 4pm - Implementing the NICE guideline on ME/CFS

  • Monday 22nd August, 4pm - But how do YOU feel?

  • Monday 5th September, 11am - Overcoming barriers

  • Tuesday 13th September, 2pm - Overcoming barriers

  • Monday 19th September, 4pm - Your support circles

Once registered, you will receive reminders before each focus group. Feel free to join as many focus groups as you wish! Please don't worry if you register and don't manage to join in the end.

We will use the findings of the focus groups to report to decision makers such as the NHS and Sheffield City Council.

- Attend in-person focus groups across the city:

These gentle and supportive focus groups are there to encourage you to share your experiences further on topics that are important to you. Through discussion and creativity, we will identify barriers and explore solutions. The findings of the focus groups will be shared with decision-makers.

The sessions will be around 1 hour long, including breaks, and you can stay as long as you want. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.

All your travel expenses for attending the in-person groups can be covered within the scope of this project! Just keep the receipts and let us know your details.

Each focus group will be facilitated by two members of our team, and will explore a specific topic:

  • Saturday 20th August, 1pm - Sharrow Community Forum The Old Junior School, South View Road, Sheffield S7 1DB NICE Guideline on ME/CFS: state of implementation and overcoming barriers

  • Thursday 25th August, 12.30pm & 2.30pm (two sessions) - The Circle 33 Rockingham Lane, Sheffield S1 4FW Expression through the art We will provide watercolours and other arts materials to help you express yourself in a visual way. With your permission, we'll exhibit your creations at our awareness-raising arts exhibition in the Winter Gardens in September 2022.

  • Tuesday 30th August, 4pm - Park Community Centre 4 Samson Street, Sheffield S2 5QP But how do YOU feel?

  • Thursday 1st September, 1pm - Zest Centre 18 Upperthorpe, Sheffield S6 3NA Overcoming barriers

  • Friday 9th September, 12.30pm - Broomhall Centre Broomspring Lane, Sheffield S10 2FD Accessing social care support

  • Wednesday 14th September, 4.30pm - Longley Four Greens Community Centre 41 Southey Ave, Sheffield S5 7NN Your support circles

(There is no problem if you show up on the day without registering - it's just to help us plan refreshments!)

You are welcome to attend as many focus groups as you wish, we'll be pleased to see you! But please don't worry if you don't manage to attend any in the end, even if you have registered.


- Request a phone call:

Be called by a member of our team! If you wish to share your experience further after filling the survey, or if you wish to fill in the survey via phone, contact us mentioning your name, number and general availability in one of the ways mentioned below.

- Request a home visit:

If none of the above ways to participate suit you, we would be happy to arrange a home visit for you, as long as it is safe to do so. Please contact us to discuss arrangements.


- Share, share share!

We're really keen to reach as many people in the Sheffield region with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia as we can - and you can help us! Here's some ideas:

Thank you for helping us get voices heard!

- How to contact us:
  • call Elyane on 07753 948186 (leave a voice message)

  • send an SMS or whatsapp to Pippa on 07709 985129

  • send a postal mail to: SpeakUp, The Circle, 33 Rockingham Lane, Sheffield S1 4FW

A combined logo for Sheffield ME & Fibromyalgia Group, and Healthwatch Sheffield. Centre: S.M.E.F.G spiral circle logo in blue, containing text: 20 years. Left: Healthwatch upper quotation mark in pink. Right: Healthwatch lower quotation mark in green.

All data will be anonymised unless you explicitly tell us that you want your name to be shared, and processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from 2016.

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