What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is:

  • Representing someone else’s views and concerns as if the are your own
  • Helping someone to gain the confidence and skills they need to make their own voice heard

How advocacy helped Lee

Lee* is 19 and has a learning disability. He approached an advocacy project to explore his options around supported employment. Lee found it difficult to say what he wanted to do.

His advocate found out that Lee really likes to draw so when they next met and started to build a relationship, Lee’s advocate took along a big piece of paper and pens and together they drew his friends and hobbies and things he had enjoyed doing – which included catering

Lee and his advocate arranged a meeting with Louise, who supports people to find supported employment, and together they went through the drawings and some leaflets to see if Lee’s interests could be matched to supported employment.

Lee found an opportunity for supported employment in catering and is enjoying this new challenge.

How advocacy helped George

George* is 78 years old and has dementia. George lived alone and was finding things a little difficult. His family thought it would be better if he was in residential care, so arrangements were made for George to move into a care home.

While George agreed to this he did not realise, until after a few weeks in care, that his family intended for him to stay there permanently. George expressed a wish to return home but his family were adamant he was better off in care.

An advocate was called in and quickly established George’s views and opinions, which were to return home with a care package to support him. The advocate ensured that professionals involved were aware of his wishes and also made contact with George’s family.

The advocate kept in contact with the social worker to ensure arrangements were made to explore George’s wish to return home, and advocated that George should be assessed for capacity under the Mental Capacity Act. The advocate visited George regularly to update him on the situation and liaised with professionals involved, ensuring George was on their ‘list of priorities’.

The outcome was that George was deemed to have capacity to decide where he should live and returned home with a care package. His family also had a clearer understanding of George’s rights and were consulted to ensure that the support George received at home was appropriate to his needs.

* Names have been changed to protect confidentiality