The National Service User Steering Group

Service User Leadership is at the core of the work we do at Together, evidenced through our purpose as an organisation; that we work alongside people with mental distress to develop their insights, skills and potential and promote their voices to improve policy and practice for all.

The National Service User Steering Group
‘’Service User Leadership empowers people to make choices that affect their lives, lead their journey to wellbeing on their own terms and to collectively influence and improve services, organisations and society’’

The National Steering Group (NSG) is an integral part of our organisation and has been for many years, dating back to 2004 when we started with regional steering groups. Over the years, those groups developed and evolved and in 2013, the decision was made to dismantle the groups in order to form an over-arching National Steering Group, which remains today.

The NSG consists of a diverse group of volunteers who have accessed a range of different services, some of which include Together services, and all members have varied experiences of mental distress. The group work alongside our Senior Leadership Team, Staff, Service Users and Volunteers to provide Together with a lived experience perspective to support, influence and guide the strategic work and direction of the organisation. Members both draw on their own lived experience of mental distress and use a variety of ways to hear the voice of others who experience mental distress, to inform our discussions and decisions at our monthly NSG meetings.

Meet our current NSG members

Work of the NSG

Together’s Service User Leadership Team have been responsible for overseeing the development of the National Steering Group since its beginning. The work of the National Steering Group has had a tremendus positive impact on many strategic pieces of work over the years.

Here are a few examples of the key areas of work the National Steering Group have supported:

  • Together’s 2019-2024 Strategy:
    • The group were an integral part of the process in defining what we mean by service user leadership and lived experience of mental distress at Together, with both definitions now embedded in the Together strategy.
  • Together’s Service User Leadership Strategy:
    • Members supported with the development of our Service User Leadership strategy earlier this year, which sets out our strategic ambitions.
    • Alongside the strategy, the group worked with the organisation to develop a new set of service user leadership principles to support the workforce to understand how to put our definition of service user leadership into practice.
    • To read more about service user leadership at Together, please click here.
  • Peer Support Development:
    • Together conducted the ‘Peer Support Development & Expansion Project’ in early 2022 to understand ways in which we can further improve and develop our model and delivery.
    • The National Steering Group supported the organisation by sharing their own knowledge and experiences around peer support to help shape the direction of the work. This included several group meetings with dedicated sessions for feedback and discussion.
  • Quality Working Group:
    • Some of our NSG members are also part of a sub-group to support the review and development of our policies, providing a lived experience perspective to ensure that the content reflects the wants and needs of people who receive services.
  • Frontline Support Plans:
    • NSG members were part of a working group to support the development of a new wellbeing plan that is now available for use within our frontline services. This included working alongside Together staff to develop these plans in every aspect from focusing on language, accessibility and design, before introducing these into services.

We will continue to update this section so we can demonstrate the fantastic work of the group, so please do visit this page for regular updates.

How to contact the NSG

If you would like to find out more about the National Steering Group, including any current vacancies, please contact:

Sophie Howell
Head of Service User Leadership