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Co-production and Community Engagement News

See below for the latest news about our co-production and community engagement activity. For upcoming events, please visit our Events Calendar page.


Our Commitment to Community Engagement

Medequip Community Engagement

As part of Medequip's commitment to community engagement and volunteering, each depot aims to give something back to the areas they serve. Last year, Medequip staff went above and beyond, serving their local communities by supporting charitable causes on top of their busy work schedules. From food and clothes donations to sponsoring local children's sports initiatives, we saw the highest amount of charitable events attended or created by our staff in years. 2023 is shaping up to be even more co-productive – take a look at our plans!

Medequip Community Engagement Map

Co-production in Action – Making It Easier to Return Community Equipment

Durham and Darlington Amnesty Bin Drop off point

For community equipment service providers like Medequip, it’s never been more important to ensure equipment like walking frames, commodes and perching stools are returned for recycling once they are no longer required. All too often, these items are left in attics or garages, with no clear route back into stock for reuse.

Medequip has been working closely on initiatives with Durham ICB, County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Darlington Borough Council & Tees Valley ICB to increase the recycling and reuse rates by making it easy and convenient for people to return unwanted equipment, reducing costs and providing more sustainable solutions.

Last year, a series of successful ‘returns roadshows’ across the county saw thousands of pounds worth of forgotten equipment brought back into circulation. Promoted widely in the locality and held in supermarket car parks, these events saw many thousands of pieces of serviceable equipment returned by local people for cleaning and reuse.

This year, another important initiative is being scheduled which will see special bins placed in household waste recycling centres across the county. There are currently three sites already operational, with the locations clearly marked by Medequip banners and bin stickers. A map of the locations can be found here. Further sites will be added as the campaign progresses.

The initiative is being promoted via local press and social media links, and it is anticipated that the returns rate will rise correspondingly. “Co-Production has been a key process. Working together to achieve outcomes is the best way of delivering results! We now have a solution in making equipment returns easier for people using our service thanks to public engagement sessions and co-production groups.” Jonathan Gartland, Medequip Operations Manager, Newton Aycliffe.

Medequip already achieves excellent recycling rates across its community equipment services contracts. Although not every item is suitable for recycling, with single use items such as ventilators and continence aids, currently 77% of all equipment delivered by Medequip is successfully collected once it is no longer required. Of this 77%, 91% is successfully recycled; the remaining 9% consists of items considered no longer fit for purpose due to damage or excessive wear and tear. Here, Medequip has a policy of salvaging parts that can then be used to repair other items and return them to service.


Medequip's Community Engagement in Suffolk – a Year in Pictures

Medequip's Community Engagement in Suffolk – a Year in Pictures

As part of Medequip's national commitment to community engagement, aiming to give something back to the communities we serve, each depot has a focused plan to best serve its surrounding area and give back all year round. Medequip's Ipswich depot in Suffolk is a leading example of the work going on nationally throughout the company today.

We refurbished an old bench for the paediatric ward at Ipswich hospital. The aim was so that families had somewhere to sit outside when visiting patients.


In January, we took part in a Tree-cycling event for St. Elizabeth Hospice, where staff members collected Christmas trees from Suffolk residents. The trees were then chipped. We have already committed to double our team for next year.


Three Staff members volunteered as Trail Makers for The Big Hoot 2022. The Big Hoot is a Wild Art trail for St Elizabeth Hospice, where Trail makers check and clean 'Hoot Owls' along the trail. They also give out information and stickers to the public. Currently ongoing and finishing in September 2022, depot staff are volunteering over the next month.


Our Ipswich depot has donated a van load of equipment that would otherwise be scrapped to charity, monthly or bi-monthly for several years. We have been supporting Belief In Action, a charity helping to alleviate the suffering of disadvantaged children and adults in Romania. We also donate to Physionet, a charity helping people with disabilities overseas by providing donated specialist equipment.


Every Tuesday, we've delivered food parcels locally on behalf of Families in Need. Families in Need or FIND is a local food bank that provides free food parcels and personal care items to help people get through a crisis. We have been doing this since November 2021 and are committed to the cause for the foreseeable future.


We have donated equipment to our NHS Trust for their Education Team to use with the Community Health teams in Suffolk.

We have produced, printed and distributed leaflets to signpost local services for the Suffolk Disability Forum, Lighthouse Women’s Aid and Headway Suffolk. The Lighthouse Women’s Aid is a charity that provides emotional support to women, young people and children experiencing domestic abuse. Headway Suffolk is a charity that supports local adults with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions through rehabilitation and therapy services.

We supported the Headway Suffolk Conference 2022, where we stood offering information and advice to those who attended. This is where we were visited by a friendly medical response dog, Bea. Bea is currently in training to one day help someone with a neurological condition.


Our Suffolk team will continue to support local people as part of our long term commitment to Co-production and Community Engagement.



People of Durham and Darlington Support Local Returns Campaign

People of Durham and Darlington Support Local Returns Campaign

Thousands of pounds worth of forgotten equipment is to be brought back into circulation after a successful 'returns roadshow' in Durham & Darlington that saw hundreds of items returned. Equipment was brought to drop-off points at the Arnison Centre, Durham and Morrisons Morton Park, Darlington, including walking frames, commodes and perching stools.

Earlier this year, Medequip joined a co-production group in partnership with Durham CCG, County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Darlington Borough Council & Tees Valley CCG. Recruitment of the Co-production group started in November 2021 to gather thoughts from local people on how we could improve elements of the service offered in Durham & Darlington.

This Co-production group homed in on recycling equipment and the difficulties of returning equipment. The key figures soon got to work on reviewing notes from public meetings and putting plans and measures in place to arrange what was referred to as an equipment returns roadshow. Rather than an ’amnesty’ which sounded more like we were holding people accountable for ‘hoarding equipment’ or holding them at fault for not returning the equipment previously when no longer required.

Equipment collected at the returns roadshow

Through advertising of the roadshow via press and social media, the week building up to the event and the week of saw returns to the local Medequip depot skyrocket. From a healthy hoard of around one thousand per week, returns ended up more than doubling, peaking at nearly three thousand during the week of the roadshow.

Medequip helps the NHS by supplying equipment for patient discharge to home. This is why it is vital for equipment on loan from Medequip to be returned when it's no longer needed. No matter what condition the equipment is in, the depot will accept it, as all that's returned gets recycled in line with the NHS's commitment to sustainability.

Equipment drop off:

Time: Monday – Friday, 8.45am - 5pm

Location: Medequip, Unit 3, Beaumont Square, Aycliffe Industrial Park, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham DL5 6XN


Medequip's Role in Making Employment More Inclusive as a Disability Confident Employer

Aditi Dave taking part in webinar

Medequip Rochester Depot's Operations Manager, Justin Page and Human Resources Business Partner, Aditi Dave were recently invited to take part in a webinar held by the Sussex Council of Training Providers (SCTP) regarding employers who adopt an inclusive approach to apprenticeships. Medequip were one of 4 companies from the area invited to speak, with all three other speakers from different job sectors.

Each company were given 2 sets of questions relevant to their sectors and only six minutes in which to tell their part. written and presented by the pair, the presentation covered questions surrounding how Medequip have made workplace practices more inclusive and why Medequip has invested in inclusive apprenticeships.

During the presentation, Aditi spoke about and explained Medequip’s journey and approach concerning supported employment, Disability confidence levels, the introduction of processes such as working interviews and examples of feedback from our employees. It was received well, and in an email from SCTP Executive Director, Vanessa Potter feedback was provided on the success of the presentation:

"(The) presentation was just amazing, and your enthusiasm, passion, and subject knowledge shone through. You offered a really good overview of your approaches at Medequip and we’ve already received lots of positive feedback about the event. Thanks so much!"

Aid for Ukraine - Cefndy-Medequip Team Helps to Make It Happen

Sorting and packing boxes of aid for Ukraine

Often the greatest challenge in getting donations to areas of need is the logistics element of the solution. This was certainly the case in Newport, where a massive effort by community group The Women of Newport had resulted in the collection of everything from food, clothes and nappies through to medicines and medical equipment donated by the local NHS Trust for Ukrainian refugees.

The drive had been so successful that the group had been forced to put a temporary stop on new items. The existing donations filled an entire three floor hotel building, as well as retail units at Newport's Friars Walk shopping centre. The Women of Newport had successfully sourced an HGV to take the donations to a refugee centre in Poland, but they needed to be sorted and moved from the existing locations to a storage facility accessible to the large vehicle.

Step in Cefndy-Medequip, the community equipment service provider for Gwent. Cefndy-Medequip is a sheltered workshop in partnership between Medequip and Cefndy Healthcare, an arm of Denbighshire County Council, who together offer meaningful employment for disabled people.

Manager Ben Giddings made contact with the group to offer practical assistance. Our role is to provide equipment on loan to the people of Gwent to help them stay independent in their own homes for longer, stated Ben. Community engagement and co-production are vital aspects of the work we do. Our people wanted to make a real contribution to the great work being done by The Women of Newport, and we could do this by offering our people and our fleet of vehicles.

Vans from Cefndy-Medequip staffed by volunteers began by removing the stock from the shopping centre, ferrying both palletised goods and loose items to the company's depot on the Felnex Industrial Estate. Here, the team was able to unload goods in a canopied area which could easily be accessed by the HGV.

Volunteers from Cefndy-Medequip then worked to palletise the loose items ready for transportation to Poland, loading the finished pallets onto the vehicle in preparation for the journey. The vans, drivers and volunteers also worked to move more goods from the Westgate Hotel to a more appropriate location for sorting and shipping.

It was a massive team effort, with Cefndy-Medequip staff pitching in all weekend and evenings as well as during working hours to help clear the backlog, explained Ben. The shipment is now on its way to Poland, and we're very proud to have been able to play a part in the project. We're looking forward to continuing our involvement in the near future!

We were humbled and emotional to see the dedication of Natalia from The Women of Newport and her efforts in getting much needed supplies to Poland for the Ukrainian refugees. We are proud of our staff for volunteering to help make this happen - this is a team of fantastic people doing a fantastic job.
Judith Addis, Operations Manager, Denbighshire County Council (Cefndy Healthcare).
The Gwent Wide Integrated Equipment Service who commission Cefndy-Medequip were impressed by the efforts made by the organisation in response to the need for logistics support for the Women of Newport group. It was great to see such a big effort made by the staff at the depot towards such an urgent need.  We hope that this will continue to be supported for much needed supplies to reach Ukrainian refugees.
Louise Ferris, GWICES Advanced Occupational Therapy Practitioner and Andrea Holcombe, GWICES Accountant & Performance Lead.
It was a huge achievement for the team in Newport to be able to support this initiative. They were all energised at the opportunity to assist The Women of Newport and even came in on the Saturday to support the logistics operation needed. I am immensely proud of the team in Newport for the work that they have done and our contribution to the efforts to help the people of the Ukraine who are so desperately in need of these supplies. Well done to everyone at Newport!
Michaela Harris - General Manager South West.

New Medequip Partnership Recruiting Panel Members in London

YVHSC and Medequip Logos

Medequip is pleased to announce they have formed a new partnership with Your Voice in Health and Social Care (YVHSC).

YVHSC are an independent organisation that gives people a voice to improve and shape health and social care services.

Part of the 2022 partnership plans is to recruit a mixed panel of representatives across London to help improve the Community Equipment Service, which is currently covering 21 London Boroughs.

Over 200,000 people in London use Medequip equipment and aids prescribed by local Social Care and NHS services to support daily living. Along with the delivery of equipment, the service includes installation, repair, maintenance, collection and recycling.

“Be part of an exciting journey to improve the quality of daily living for thousands of people using mobility equipment and aids”

The new monthly panel meetings will bring together service users, their relatives and carers with community experts, to help Medequip better understand their service. The key aim is to find out what works well, areas for improvement, and help jointly develop a plan of progression.

Role Details:

  • Voluntary role
  • Monthly meetings
  • Expenses paid
  • Apply February 2022
  • First meeting 23rd March 2022

The panels’ role will be to advise, guide and support the project, in a partnership way, ensuring the best outcome for Medequip services users, their relatives and carers. This will be supported by YVHSC who will deliver on decisions made by the panel.

Tim Spilsbury, CEO of YVHSC stated, We are delighted to be partnering with Medequip on a project that gives people a real voice to improve and shape Medequip services. This co-production piece is the start of a journey that will ensure Medequip's valued services can better reflect the needs of the community and that the community can receive an ever-improving service. This will impact over 200,000 vulnerable people in London. We are proud to be a part of this exciting initiative.

If you use Medequip equipment and aids, are a relative/carer of somebody that does or are a community expert from a relevant charity/community/voluntary sector group, please join our panel and help improve this vital service for people in your area and across London.

The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 23rd March, meeting monthly for approximately six months to complete the initial work.

Key information and benefits of volunteering with YVHSC:

  • This will be offered initially as a virtual voluntary opportunity. We hope to meet face-to-face in the future, as the coronavirus situation changes.
  • Relevant expenses, including carers back-fill, will be paid per YVHSC’s expenses policy.
  • Participants will have access to all YVHSC’s training resources and be a part of a network of over 250 volunteers.
  • This is a social role where you will meet new people and work closely as a team.

For more information or to register your interest in joining the panel, please call 07944 391 223 or email

Date: December 2021

Community Engagement and Co-production in London takes off!

Community Engagement and Co-production in London takes off!

Working with Healthwatch in London

Medequip are in the process of setting up a Co-production Panel facilitated by Your Voice in Health and Social Care ( who hold the contracts for providing the local Healthwatch services across 6 London boroughs.

The panel will be made up of People who use our Services, representatives of Healthwatch, prescribers of community equipment and colleagues who work for Medequip.

The initial piece of work will be to review and adapt a standard user survey provided by Healthwatch to ensure that it covers all aspects of community equipment service provision, before it is circulated to the wider group of people who use the service.

Stage 2 will involve the collation of this feedback and identification of potential projects to review and change services appropriately taking into account wider Health and Social Care reforms that national and local government and the NHS policy leads and influences.


Medequip policy enables and encourages 8000 volunteer hours per year by our colleagues. Driven by our vision ‘Keeping People Independent for Longer’ we aim to work within our local communities to support projects and give something back.

Examples recently undertaken in London include a gardening project for Parkfield House Nursing Home in Uxbridge, providing support at Sahara Care, Barking and work at “Dexters Adventure Playground” part of the Big Kid Foundation in Lambeth. This is a youth club that has been closed for some time and needs quite a bit of attention to get it back up and running. We have also supported the Forever Young Festival in Greenwich and provided marshals for an Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk.

Employing People Living with a Disability

In July 2021 Medequip agreed to work with the British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) to broaden the training and employment opportunities for disabled people. BASE have assisted in linking up each Medequip depot with local support organisations to recruit local people with a disability. Across the country this has resulted in Medequip employing an additional 8 people with a disability increasing the current total to 59 of our employees who declare they have a disability. In London, work with Dynamic Training Ltd, Forward2Employment and Maximus UK has added 5 new employees to our headcount to date.

Date: December 2021

Medequip and Healthwatch – Working Together Towards Co-production

Medequip's focus on co-production has been enhanced and enriched by our partnership with health and social care champions at Healthwatch Suffolk.

Healthwatch recently hosted workshops for Medequip staff on how to best approach co-production. For a national organisation like Medequip, striving to acquire a shared understanding of co-production right across the organisation, from technicians, cleaners, and drivers to senior managers and directors, is a grand mission.

It's about looking at what we can do to truly enhance the service we provide for our service users
Michaela Harris, General Manager

So how did it go?

Su Conquer, Co-production Coordinator at Healthwatch Suffolk, provided us with her thoughts following the workshops.

From day one, Medequip staff showed excitement when they realised how the ethos of co-production could help improve their work with the public, she said. As a direct result of our conversations, co-production workshops now form part of the induction process for new staff at Medequip from the ground up. The engagement and contributions from new starters at the workshops showed how a new culture can be embedded, providing them with a greater sense of empowerment through the knowledge that they have the chance to feed into service improvements too.

Healthwatch Suffolk and Medequip have also joined up with a Collaborative Working Agreement, which includes ensuring a shared understanding of co-production and also a promise to improve the collection of people's feedback.

Healthwatch too has learned from facilitating these workshops. Medequip staff at all levels have contributed to the organisation's thinking about how to embed the principles of co-production into practice. Embedding a training programme across the organisation is a big step forward towards this philosophy, and is the first towards engaging with the community in a meaningful, equal, and accessible way.

No matter how large or small the organisation, a shared understanding is vital to climbing the ladder of co-production. From consultation, to user engagement and involvement all the way up to sharing power equally when we co-produce with people who use services – co-production workshops are an interactive way to learn and build as a team.

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