We all get tongue twisted at times; knowing what we want to say, but not knowing quite how to say it, especially when an important decision has to be made about our lives. Sometimes it can be a little confusing for the person trying to put their point across, and for the person trying to understand what that point is! If this sounds like you, or someone you know, there is help available thanks to a fantastic and free service called Advocacy.
What is advocacy?
Advocacy can make sure that people are able to speak out, to express their views and defend their rights, even when they don’t know how. This is done with the help of an advocate – someone who can both listen to you and speak for you in times of need.
What would an advocate do?
An advocate stands beside the advocacy partner and focuses on seeing things from that person’s perspective. The advocate is not there to represent their own views but to represent the advocacy partner’s interests as if they were their own. An advocate does not make judgments about what is in a person’s “best interest”. An advocate will always encourage a person to speak for themselves where ever this is possible.
Who can use an advocacy service?
If you or someone you know finds it difficult to:
- express your views and concerns
- access services
- defend and promote your rights and responsibilities
- understand the consequences of your choices and options
then an advocacy service could be exactly the sort of support you need.
I need support, what do I do next?
Advonet is supported by Adult Social Care and is an independent organisation with the knowledge of the different advocacy agencies within Leeds that could help you. It’s like a one-stop place if you need someone to represent your interests and get your point across more effectively. This service may be provided by an independently paid professional or by volunteers with relevant training and/or experience.
What types of advocacy are there?
There are different types of advocacy depending on your circumstances. We have listed a couple of examples below.
One-to-one advocacy can be:
- Short-term, ‘issue–based’ advocacy. In general it means that advocacy intervention is offered to address a specific issue or situation and is not intended to be on-going but will exist for the time it takes to resolve the issue.
- Crisis advocacy – this is about providing advocacy support as soon as possible to deal with an urgent situation. For example someone experiencing mental distress has a problem with housing which left unresolved may result in them becoming homeless.
Certain people have a legal right to advocacy under the Mental Health and Mental Capacity Acts. This is intended to provide extra safeguards for some of the most vulnerable people in society. For further information please follow these links:
Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) – click here to view
Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) – click here to view
How do I contact Advonet?
It’s so easy and the staff there are very warm and welcoming.
You can call them on 0113 244 0606; fax them on 0113 244 0178 or email them – email@example.com
Later this week, we’ll hear from Hilary of Advonet who shares her thoughts of advocacy and what a difference their organisation can make for people who need support.