Steven Platts on ‘Participation Works’

Steven Platts on ‘Participation Works’
01/07/2020 Becky Evans

‘Participation is at our core because people have the right to be involved in decisions that affect their lives; this leads to better insight and better decisions.’

First published July 2020 by, written by Dr Steven Platts, Chief Executive, Groundswell.

Today (1st July 2020) we are launching our three year ‘Participation Works’ strategy. Most of the work that went into this was done before COVID-19 forced us all into lock down. We’ve discussed a lot whether now is the right time to launch a new strategy and agreed that the work of Groundswell, and our priorities over the next three years, will be more important than ever. We are, as always, grateful to our funders, supporters and partners who have given us the confidence to move forward during a period of constant change.

I’m really proud of how responsive and adaptable the Groundswell team has been in our collective response, working with partners in the health and social care sectors on a local and national level. By building on existing partnerships and forging new relationships we have been able to amplify the voices of people who are experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

Participation Works was developed through insight from our 2019 away day (with staff, volunteers and trustees); the national #HealthNow partnership; multiple sessions with staff and volunteers to shape the Progression Programme; and the development of  business plans for our social enterprise ambitions.

What results is shown in the diagram Participation Works, a strategy with three interconnected themes. Participation is at our core because people have the right to be involved in decisions that affect their lives; this leads to better insight and better decisions.



We are committed to developing and supporting a workforce with experience of homelessness to participate in designing and delivering solutions to homelessness whilst progressing in their own lives. We recognise that in light of COVID-19 these progression opportunities will be increasingly digital and online, and the team are already trialling ways to achieve this goal.

Good Health

We believe health creates a foundation to move out of homelessness. Groundswell’s people focused health work and innovative services enable people who are homeless to access the health care they need – because everyone has a right to good health. We are also committed to being a leader in promoting a healthy and sustainable working environment for all staff and volunteers.

Creating Change

Groundswell brings together insight from people with experience of homelessness, we use this insight to tackle the issue through changing practice and challenging policy. This cuts across the whole organisation, for example the #HealthNow goals of reducing health inequalities; sharing knowledge through Insight and Action research; and demonstrating the effectiveness of our support model to make participation and progression of people with experience of homelessness the norm.

Under each theme of the strategy there are specific goals, the full document can be read here.

Today’s launch is just the beginning. We will continue to adapt activities in a safe way whilst focussing on delivering Participation Works during COVID-19 and in the longer term. We look forward to collaborating with health and homelessness partners, people with experience of homelessness, funders and commissioners to deliver the goals in this strategy. Together we can consider what we know, what we need to find out, and what we are learning, and apply that learning to achieve more.