What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is a way of making sure someone’s voice is heard when a decision is made. It involves looking at choices, enabling people to know their rights and helping to defend those rights.
Advocacy helps people to speak up – on their own OR with help. It makes sure people’s interests are heard directly or are represented.
We talk about independent advocacy because it is important that advocates are independent of the organisations that are providing services. Being independent helps make sure that everyone has an equal chance to make their voice heard.
Advocacy is not; befriending, counselling, an advice service, providing social support or deciding what is in a person’s best interest.
A definition of advocacy:
“Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice.”
(The Advocacy Charter, 2002)
On April 1st 2015, after nearly a year of careful planning, Advocacy Support, Leeds Advocacy and Advocacy for Mental Health & Dementia came together as a single organisation. On that date the three organisations merged with Advonet, a separate organisation which was previously co-managed by the three organisations as partners.
Between April and October, the new organisation consulted with people who use our services, staff and stakeholders on their priorities for the ‘new’ Advonet. Together, we have created a organisation that combines each of the existing partners’ expertise to provide an even more exceptional advocacy service. We relaunched the ‘new’ Advonet on October 2nd.
The Advonet Senior Management team has been established, and to date Philip Bramson has been appointed Chief Executive; Derek Sankar has been appointed Operations Manager (BME, Mental Health & Dementia); Katie Whitham has been appointed Office and Resources Manager; Hilary Ashton has been appointed Contracts & Quality Manager; Cara Dalton has been appointed Finance Manager and Karen Hood has been appointed Human Resources Manager.
The ‘new’ Advonet continues to deliver our high standard, long-standing services including:
• Leeds Single Point of Access for advocacy.
• Independent advocacy in any setting in the city of Leeds for adults who experience mental distress, including dementia
• Independent advocacy for people with learning difficulties
• Statutory Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA), a service for eligible people detained under the Mental Health Act
• Statutory Independent Mental Capacity Act (IMCA) Advocacy
• Statutory Care Act Services
• Culturally sensitive, bilingual advocacy and practical support available in a wide range of community languages to support all black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, providing access to health, social care, benefits and housing services, debt support and financial inclusion through drop-in sessions and community surgeries.
• Mentoring and other support for people with autism via the Autism Hub
• Leeds Independent Health Complaints Advocacy (LIHCA) which provides advocacy for people wanting support with NHS Complaints
• Supporting the Leep1 and Articulate Advocacy CICs