Where students are heard, students are supported & students are given choice
An advocate is someone who helps you to express your needs and wishes and takes appropriate action to enable you to access the services you need. Coming to university can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in your life, when times get tough sometimes we all need someone to listen, represent our views and help us consider our options in a non-judgemental way.
Our Student Advocate, Sarah Jones Nash has been trained in advocacy principles and handling some of the challenging issues which students.
Advocates are not legally trained solicitors but should this service become necessary we can signpost you appropriately. The service takes a ‘student led’ approach and is in-keeping with the ethos of the Students’ Union. We will only act on your behalf in the way that you ask us to.
The service is available to all students, both current and alumni. We promote equal opportunities and aim to provide a service which fits each student’s particular needs. If there is anything we can do to improve your access to the service we would be very happy to hear from you, and would gladly try to meet your requirements.
There are a number of ways the Student Advocate can help you to deal with tough times at university these include:
Representation – If you find yourself in difficulty while at university you might find it useful to seek help from our advocate to ensure that you are given opportunity to raise your points clearly and that you are treated fairly and that your views are respected.
You can be represented in all circumstances that effect your student life such as Academic Misconduct panels, Fitness to practice panels, and complaints procedures. Our advocate is employed directly by the Students Union and so is able to give act impartiartially and independently of the university.
Access to services – Sometimes it can be difficult to get the help you need or even know what help is available to you if you are in need of additional support. Whether you are lacking in confidence or confused about where to go to make informed decisions Sarah will be happy to explain your options to you. If our advocate is unable to assist you directly she will support you to find someone who can.
This may include:
Internal support within the university
Citizens Advice Bureau
Council Services – (housing, employment, community support etc.)
GP or district nurse
Mental health services
Police, ambulance or fire services
Sexual health/family planning
Other specialist charities, support groups and independent agencies.
Planning campaigns - Health promotion, empowering positive change and amplifying the student voice are all central elements to the ethos of the SU. Sarah works closely with VP Welfare (Ayumi Okada) VP Education (Daisy Edwards) and our Representation & Democracy co-ordinator (Matt Richards) to feedback trends in the issues which students face so that the sabbatical officers can set-up campaigns accordingly. It is also part of the advocates’ role to promote appropriate opportunities for you to become involved in national campaigns about the the issues which interest and matter to you.
Developing your skills – Sarah is passionate about providing students with the tools they need to become independent. She has put together a series of customised workshops specifically designed to build confidence, enhance employability and develop problem solving skills. All students who attend the workshops will be issued with an attendance certificate.
The Students’ Union understands confidentiality to mean that no information that might lead to the identification of a student using the Advice and Advocacy Services shall be given directly or indirectly to any third party who is external to the elected officers, staff and General Manager without that service user’s prior expressed consent to disclose such information. We believe students have the right to confidentiality and as such all students who use the service are protected by our confidentiality policy.
The Students’ Union recognises that any breach of confidentiality may damage the reputation of The Students’ Union and therefore has to be treated with extreme caution. However, occasions may arise where elected officers or staff feel they need to breach confidentiality, for example if they believe students will cause serious harm to themselves or others. In these circumstances the elected officer or member of staff would normally seek permission from the student to break confidentiality unless there are also grounds for believing the student is not able to take responsibility for his or her actions or that seeking such permission may substantially worsen the situation.
The student advocate is on duty to offer support Monday to Friday 10-4 during term time; a reduced service is available in university vacation periods.
You can either arrange an appointment by email or telephone, firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 02380 3194636 or pop in to her office on the ground floor of the Students’ Union building.
We are always looking to expand work experience opportunities for students within the SU. If advocacy is something which you have a particular interest in we would love to hear from you and would be happy to investigate opportunities for you to become more involved with service provision. Please email email@example.com, or telephone 02380 319636 for more details.