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Advocacy: Get your voice heard

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Disability Rights UK Factsheet F39

Your feedback wanted

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have recently launched their new ‘Tell Us About Your Care’ partnerships with a number of national charities, of which Disability Rights UK is one. This involves Disability Rights UK gathering feedback from disabled people about their experiences of using health and social care services. The CQC would welcome feedback on your experience of using any of the services they regulate. Please click here to do so.

What does advocacy mean?

Advocacy refers to receiving support from another individual (i.e. an advocate) to assist you to express your opinions and make your views heard in order to lead changes in your life.

What is the role of the Advocate?

The advocate:

  • Empowers you in making choices to have more control over your life
  • Ensures that you have the relevant information to make the right decisions about your goals in life and issues that matter to you
  • Speaks on your behalf if you want them to during meetings and appointments
  • Enables you to express your thoughts and ideas to make informed choices
  • Assists you to represent your interests and exercise your rights
  • Supports you to access the services you need, such as access to voluntary sector services, social care and health services and assist you when things are not going so well with these services
  • Promotes your full participation in the mainstream society

Which things can the advocate support me with?

The advocate will support you in life planning and decision making about issues that are important to you such as:

  • Your home
  • Your care and support needs
  • Your health and wellbeing
  • Your finances
  • Your education
  • Your employment
  • Your parenting role
  • Your relationships and social integration
  • Your leisure

Where can I get an advocate?

The person who can act as your advocate can be:

  • Someone from charities and organizations that offer independent advocacy and support services
  • Someone from your network of family and friends
  • Yourself acting on your behalf & stand up for yourself– Please see our factsheet F37 on Self-Advocacy

Advocacy Links 

Advocacy for All Hackney 

www.advocacyforallhackney.org.uk offers social care and health advice to Hackney residents

POhWER offers independent advocacy services throughout England. It works with older people and disabled people who have mental health issues, sensory impairment, physical condition, and autism.

www.pohwer.net 

SEAP is an independent charity that provides a range of advocacy services across the south of England for those with learning disability, physical disability, mental health and those who acquired brain injury. 

www.seap.org.uk

RETHINK provides advocacy services that are designed to support those who have mental health issues and need help to make informed decisions and secure the rights and services to which they are entitled.

www.rethink.org

MIND is the mental health charity that supports those with mental health issues. They can refer you to Independent Mental Advocates.

www.mind.org.uk

Voiceability offers community advocacy and mental health advocacy

www.voiceability.org

Contact A Family: Advice and Support for families with disabled children, no matter their condition or disability and offering family support, local information and professionals working with families.

www.cafamily.org.uk

Mencap: the voice of learning disability

Mencap offers a range of personal and unique services for people with a learning disability, families and carers. Mencap’s Empower Me service gives personalized advocacy support for people with a learning disability, helping to develop skills, confidence and knowledge needed to voice concerns and secure rights

https://www.mencap.org.uk/our-services/personal-support-services/advocacy

Mencap Direct provides advice and information about individual budgets and self-directed support in relation to learning disability issues. They have advisers who offer further information to support people with a learning disability and parents.

www.mencap.org.uk 

Age UK: Your Voice Your Choice – Information, Advice & Advocacy on a wide range of issues

The UK’s largest charity working with older people and the people who care for them. They have expert advice on how to get the care and support you need and on benefits and also offer experienced advice workers.

www.ageuk.org.uk

OPAAL – Older People’s Advocacy Alliance

It is the only national UK membership based organisation developing the provision of independent advocacy services for older people, it advocates change for older people.

www.opaal.org.uk

BILD (British Institute of learning difficulties) informs you of the types of advocacy available for people with learning disabilities. They work in partnership with people with learning difficulties and families enabling them to get the right support to make informed choices about their own lives.

http://www.bild.org.uk/about-bild/advocacy/ 

Muscular Dystrophy UK gives you access to the right information and advice. They also offer advocacy services and personal support system for those affected by muscular dystrophy and have a muscle-wasting condition.

www.musculardystrophyuk.org 

The National Autistic Society (NAS) have an Autism Services Directory where you can search for local advocacy services.

www.autism.org.uk 

Action on Hearing Loss is the new name for RNID. They are experts in providing support and practical advice for people with hearing loss.

www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk 

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) offers practical and emotional support to those affected by sight loss. They provide practical ways to live independently.

www.rnib.org.uk

Disabled Parents Network (DPN) support disabled people who are or aspire to be parents, their families, friends and those working with them. They provide advocacy services to disabled parents and raise awareness within local authorities of the difficulties disabled parents face.

http://disabledparentsnetwork.org.uk

Norfolk Disabled Parents Alliance is led by disabled parents working for choice and equality for all disabled parents and their families

www.norfolkparents.org.uk

Independent advocacy alliance
Provides a comprehensive range of specialist Advocacy and related services in Warwickshire, Coventry, Solihull and surrounding areas. 

Scottish independent advocacy alliance
Promotes, supports and defends the principles and practice of independent advocacy across Scotland. 

Winvisible
WinVisible brings together asylum-seeking, refugee and UK-born women, with visible as well as invisible disabilities. They provide self-help information and advocacy, including on homecare and access to services (against rationing and disability discrimination in care assessments, against homecare charges), welfare benefits, employment, transport, and against violence, sexism, racism and other discrimination.

Where can I get more help?

For further help and information please contact our Advice Line - 0300 555 1525.

We also have a number of independent living factsheets which may be useful.

All our factsheets are free to download on our website at disabilityrightsuk.org.

You can find out more detailed information on care and support issues in our Disability Rights Handbook. This and all our other publications are available from our shop at https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/shop. You can also place orders by contacting Disability Rights UK.

Banane Nafeh
5 April 2016

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