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PDU logoSharing learning and good practice around experiences of multiple disadvantage

The Practice Development Unit (PDU) began as a National Lottery Community Fund supported project run by Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS) in partnership with Opportunity Nottingham. This work is continuing in Nottingham City through the Changing Futures programme (until March 2024).

It aims to promote and facilitate collaborative learning and the sharing of good practice among professionals in Nottingham and neighbouring areas, who work with people experiencing multiple disadvantage.

Multiple Disadvantage refers to people who experience a combination of the following issues: mental health issues, homelessness, offending and substance misuse. People who face these disadvantages often experience other issues, including poor physical health, domestic and sexual abuse and disadvantages related to ethnicity such as community isolation.

The PDU offers a unique opportunity for voluntary and statutory sector workers to connect, learn collaboratively and share good practice and expertise. We do this through standalone learning events, as well as ongoing Communities of Practice - a space where practitioners can come together to share ideas and support each other in implementing practice and system change.

By participating in our events, you will have the chance to develop your knowledge and skills as well as extend your professional network and develop closer relationships with workers from other local organisations. This promotes better coordination and more effective sign posting and referrals across services.



Our learning events cover a wide range of topics relevant to practice with people experiencing multiple disadvantage and it is PDU policy that people with lived experience are invited to participate.

The PDU learning programme is flexible and designed to respond to topics and concerns that are in demand for our members. Our main workstreams include:

  • Psychologically Informed Approaches (including Trauma Informed Care)
  • Service User Involvement: Towards Co-production
  • Housing First and Homelessness
  • Women’s Complex Needs
  • Substance Misuse, including New Psychoactive Substances and Alcohol
  • Race, Ethnicity and Culturally Informed Practice


Become a member

Join our free online hub and keep up to date with our programme of events. You will also be able to access a variety of resources, ranging from academic papers to multimedia toolkits and reports, which reflect the latest research and information on practice within the field of multiple disadvantage.

The online hub also hosts our own e-learning suite, which covers a range of good practice around multiple disadvantage, Psychologically Informed Environments and Trauma Informed Care. Read more about the PDU e-learning suite (link opens a pdf document).

Workers from across the public, voluntary and private sectors are encouraged to join the PDU and take part in re-shaping what support services look like in Nottingham.

Join the PDU's free online hub

We want to hear from you

We are a participant led project and are always looking to respond to the needs and interests of our members. Therefore, if there's a particular topic or area of work relating to multiple disadvantage that you would like to learn more about or explore with local practitioners in a Community of Practice setting, please email enquiries@pdunottingham.org.

We also encourage participants to get involved in shaping and delivering our peer learning events. Get in touch if you are interested in sharing your expertise as a speaker or facilitator.

If you’d like to learn more about how the PDU is impacting working practices in Nottingham, take a look at our Evaluation page.



Previous events have included:

  • What makes a good hostel?
  • What is Housing First?
  • Understanding Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS)
  • Hoarding awareness
  • Implementing Psychologically Informed Environments (PIEs)
  • Women with complex needs.

You can now access the recordings from our most recent webinars in the online hub. The most recent ones are listed below and you can access the full list in the Workstreams area. Please note, you will need to be logged into the platform to view them:

Keep your eye out for details of new opportunities coming soon.


Upcoming PDU Learning Opportunities