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Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services that they need. An advocate is a person who works alongside an individual or group of people to enable them to speak up and get their voice heard and responded to.

SEA provides advocacy in two different ways, these being:

User Involvement

User involvement is making sure the voices of people are heard and they are able to actively shape and improve the services they use. This can lead to real, sustainable change locally and nationally.

 Advantages of user involvement to organisations and services include:


Our people believe in the equal partnership of co-production where people with lived and learned experience are seen as partners in designing and delivering services.

We actively encourage and build peer and personal support networks because we feel it is important to ensure the voices and experiences of people, we work with are valued and incorporated into decision making in the communities across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire & Lincolnshire.

The Co-production work we do is collaborative, involving service users, professionals, and other stakeholders working together to design, develop, and deliver services.

Some of the ways in which SEA have helped organisations with participation include:

Consultation events with participants

Training of staff and teams

Devising projects that encourage people to take part and make a difference

Participant recruitment panels

Review and creation of promotional materials

Participants reviewing policies and procedures

Participant representation at meetings on all levels

Rough Sleeper Initiative

The Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI) is a collaboration between service providers to assist in the prevention, intervention and recovery of homelessness. This approach enables a faster response to people’s needs and limits people falling through the cracks and not getting the help and support they so greatly require.

Here at SEA, we have been commissioned through the RSI to gain feedback from people rough sleeping and those who have recent experience of rough sleeping in Nottinghamshire to inform practice and service improvement across RSI services. What this means is, we are going back to basics and talking to the people who are experiencing homelessness right now, empowering them to use their voice to bring about change.

Our peer mentors use their own recovery journey and their own lived experience to empathise with people and build positive relationships.

We are covering the whole of Nottinghamshire and this is no mean feat, but we have made it our mission to speak to as many people as we possibly can and give everyone the opportunity to get their voice heard.

SEA Participant Feedback

Here’s what our participants have to say:

“Enjoying the opportunity to travel and meet others who have a shared interest”.

“Having an opportunity for a service to be developed by people is why I became involved”.

“Great to be involved, people whom I worked with were accessible and open. The whole experience was great”.

“I feel it’s important that Service Users are included in the teaching sessions, as we can offer an insight into what makes a great Social Worker and talk from experience about what people may need”.

“I don’t mind talking to you about my situation because you’ve been through it and know what it’s like.”