We are Involving People

Our aim is to improve health and care outcomes by involving patients and the public in the design, delivery and transformation of health services. The Involving People team are a key service provider at Help & Care which has been working across Southern England for almost forty years, helping to support people in local communities.

Working in collaboration with organisations from the public, private, and voluntary sectors enhances our work at all levels. Help & Care works alongside more than 25 organisations to deliver excellent service across Southern England. Our collaborations and partnerships allow us to expand geographically and reach more people who need our help, as well as to challenge and influence policy makers.

Our values

  • Social justice

    We recognise that people across our diverse communities experience health and health care differently, and that some experience health inequalities. We are committed to enabling those affected to have a voice in shaping the solutions to the issues they face.

  • Collaboration

    Help & Care formed ‘Wessex Voices’ in 2014 in partnership with NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) and the local Healthwatch based in Wessex (Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight). We are continuing this important work and partnership under our new identity, Involving People.

  • Innovation

    We work with health colleagues to advise, guide and support meaningful engagement with patients and the public. We offer training and development courses and a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) toolkit to equip organisations to engage local people effectively.

  • Personal

    We ensure that people’s voices are at the centre of service design, delivery and transformation. Our work with Wessex Cancer Alliance has established a Patient and Public Involvement Network – a group of enthusiastic and committed volunteers who share their lived experience of cancer to contribute to cancer projects and initiatives.

Meet the team

Our dedicated team work on a variety of areas and projects to involve patients and the public in making health services better.

  • Mark Sharman

    Chief Executive

    As the Chief Exec, Mark is responsible for overseeing the strategic leadership and direction of Help & Care.

    Mark gained a degree in Applied Social Services at Coventry Polytechnic. During his time as a student, Mark developed an interest in the voluntary and community sector, particularly in supporting people whose voice was not heard.

    His wish to make a difference in the local community led him to join Help & Care in 1985 as the first Development worker. Over the last 32 years, Mark has led Help & Care from a local community initiative to become a major regional charity and social enterprise.

    Mark was also awarded the OBE in the new year Honours list 2003 and an Honorary Doctorate from Bournemouth University in November 2003.

  • Kathryn Loughnan

    Director of Partnerships

    As the Director of Partnerships, Research and Influence, Kathryn is responsible for a cluster of services and the lead on our developing work to influence, promote change and service development across our area of operation.

    Kathryn has a broad experience of diverse industries and sectors. A generalist, with a proven history of effective management, communication skills and an entrepreneurial attitude with over 16 years in the education/community sector.

    Kathryn is a multi-award winner for social enterprise projects with recognition at the Cabinet Office, No. 10 (Big Society Award 2011), Buckingham Palace and the United Nations.

  • Mike Wood

    Cancer PPI Head of Programme

    Mike worked in a number of roles in the NHS for 30 years, including as a Chief Executive. Recently he has broadened his horizons to include homelessness, housing and the voluntary sectors. He is passionate about patient and public involvement in improving services and believes that fully engaged patients result in better services for patients, carers and providers.

  • Neil Bolton-Heaton

    Involving People Programme Manager

    Neil is Programme Manager at Involving People and currently leads on our Community Researcher workstreams. Neil has worked in patient and public involvement across health, social care and social enterprises.

    Neil is passionate about ensuring quality service experience and authentically involving people to ensure voice and representation in the design, development and delivery of health and social care services.

  • Annie Dimmick

    Patient and Public Involvement Officer

    Annie supports the Wessex Cancer Alliance Patient and Public Involvement Network. A group of volunteers that work with the Alliance to ensure they take into account the views and experiences of local people when developing cancer services across the Wessex area.

    She’s also involved in a range of project work - from designing and analysing patient satisfaction surveys to interviewing patients with lived experience to designing and facilitating focus groups, writing reports and coproduction partnership work. Annie has worked in the field of patient and public engagement for many years, from the first iteration of what is now Healthwatch.

  • Sue Bickler

    Patient and Public Involvement Manager

    Sue brings together the local Healthwatch from Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight to engage across the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System (ICS). This partnership supports the ICS to develop effective patient and public involvement. Sue has also been involved with a variety of other projects, including Our Cancer Our Way which is coproducing improvements to children, teenager and young adult cancer services in Wessex.

  • Lucy Fitzgerald

    Macmillan Whatever it Takes Project Officer

    Lucy supports our community research workstream- currently working on our projects in partnership with Macmillan around cancer experiences of Neurodiverse and Trans+ members of the community.

    Lucy has worked in patient and public involvement for many years, most recently for Healthwatch and learning disability charities prior. She is passionate about putting people at the heart of the services they use.