A message from the IF Group Chair

I’m Matt, Chair of the IF Group Bristol and I would just like to say a few words about my experiences of the IF Group and the way it’s changed my perspective on how I see the world.

I Choose this quote the quote below because poverty comes in a number of forms – poverty of friendships, poverty of opportunities, poverty of sound mind, poverty of health and well-being and poverty of living life to our full potential.


Back when I first came into services I remember distinctively the amount of barriers there was to accessing help. I believed that it may have been an isolated problem and that was specific to me, being ignorant to the field.

Upon going to the very first IF Group meeting (Or ‘Citizens with experience’ as we were called back then) I discovered that my experiences were only a drop in the ocean of problems that plagued services. I remember thinking back then ‘Why do services operate this way?’ and ‘Why aren’t clients at the heart of everything a service does?’. Without clients there would be no services and in any other sector or field the customer is always right and we need to stop treating clients like shapes that have to fit a certain hole. We are human beings, complex creatures with complex problems that change and shift and we need empower and help instead of criticise and exclude.

As the IF Group we are at the heart of everything the Golden Key does. We are here to try and get services to look at the people and the individuals, making sure that clients are seen and heard. We are clients to a service just like any other type of client. At the beginning I had in my mind what a ‘Service User’ looked like, I had a stigma like many others attached to their experiences and lifestyles, but since being on the IF Group I have seen that clients are highly intelligent, motivated and driven, I have a whole new perspective of people and the world. We want to get that message out so that services can change for the better. Save lives, change lives and inspire lives.