What is advocacy?
Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates work in partnership with the people they support and take their side.
Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice. Our advocates are:
- On your side
Watch this great film made by people who have used our services about our advocacy support Fighting for your rights
How will an Advocate help?
Here's how an Advocate can help and what to expect when you make a referral to our service for you or someone you know.
An Advocate does:
- Offer to get information on your behalf to help you come to a decision
- Help you to explore the pros and cons of a situation
- Help you to weigh up your options
- Support you to speak up for yourself to say what you want
- Make sure you are always at the centre of decisions about you
- Help you to feel in control
- Make sure they are independent from service providers, your family or carers so is free to help you work out what is best for you
- Keep your confidence (unless there is a risk to you or someone else)
An Advocate does not:
- Give you advice about what to do
- Tell you what they think you should do
- Express their opinion
- Try to convince you to do something
- Have a hidden agenda
We have produced a short film, Voices of Advocacy, to show how important advocacy is and how our team of Advocates' can support you through your journey.
How do you know our services are high quality and trustworthy?
We have been awarded an Advocacy Quality Performance Mark since 2005. Our advocacy practice and procedures are examined by an external assessor to make sure that we meet high levels of quality in all areas of our work.
We have also been honoured to win the Outstanding Service award at the National Advocacy Awards in 2018 and again in 2022.
How we provide a safe space
- We are here to help you
- We want to provide a safe and secure environment for everyone.
- We provide a safe space for you to discuss things you’re having difficulty with and work out what support you need to take action.
- We aim to be polite, respectful and helpful to all our service users. We ask you to behave in the same way.
- We understand that you might sometimes be upset and frustrated by your circumstances.
- However, aggressive, abusive, threatening or intimidating behaviour towards our staff, volunteers and trustees on our property or elsewhere will not be tolerated under any circumstances and we might not be able to provide you with a service as a result.
How we protect your confidentiality
- In most circumstances any information that you share with your advocate will remain confidential to Connected Voice Advocacy.
- Your advocate will not disclose any information about you to another person or agency without your permission unless you or another person is at risk of harm.
What can you do if you are unhappy with our services?
- If you are unhappy about the service you are receiving and are unable to resolve this with the advocate, please contact the Connected Voice Advocacy Manager, Jane Kingston
How we work
The three sections above are taken from the Advocacy Code of Practice which all our advocates must work to. Please ask us if you would like a copy.
Have a look at the Advocacy Charter which is part of the Code of Practice and sets out the key principles we work to.
Our Service User Information Sheet gathers together a lot of the information on this page.
How can you find out more about our work?
- Click on the links to the right to see all our pages on this website about Advocacy
- You can download a leaflet about all our services [Our Advocacy Services leaflet]
How can you get support?
You can fill in a referral form [link to Refer to us] for yourself or someone you know and send it to us by email or post. We will acknowledge your referral within five working days and allocate an Advocate within two weeks if the referral meets our criteria. An Advocate will then contact you directly and arrange to meet you to make an advocacy action plan.
If you are unsure if you or someone you know meets our criteria or you want help filling in our referral form, just give us a call on 0191 235 7013.
Where can you get information and support to advocate for yourself?
Resources: You can find links to lots of information, grouped by subject
DIY Advocate®: Our decision making app helps you organise your problem step by step, think about your options, make decisions, get more information and make an action plan, which can then be saved or shared.
What do our service users say about us?
We regularly ask our service users to tell us what you think of our services. We get loads of really positive feedback from our service users. Here are just a few examples:
- Thanks again for all your support and hard work, especially teaching me how to trust you through never letting me down. It means so much to me.
- The advocacy centre has helped me to gain not only peace of mind, but also a much better view of the world. I felt on my own and isolated and the help my Advocate gave me helped me to turn my life around
- The staff have been professional, committed, kind and incredibly knowledgeable at each stage of the process and for that we thank them.
- Many thanks for all your assistance and support. It really helped me make positive steps to get back to work. It was very reassuring to have your help and input. I’m enjoying being back in my job and have improved a lot since we first met. I’m not sure I’d be back to work without your help.
- Until I got an advocate I felt as if I was up against a massive brick wall
- My advocate has made a massive difference. He never lets me down.
- I was advised earlier on in week that PIP has been granted! I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart as this would never have been achieved without your support and all your help.
- The service is essential for people like me who need someone on their side, I’m so very grateful
- Thank you again for your assistance, persistence and support with all of this. It really does mean a lot to me and helps knowing that I'm not trying to deal with everything on my own.
- I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your help and support. To have someone with you that helps you to be heard clearly and fairly and understands the complexities of the impact of mental illness cannot be praised enough.
- My Advocate shows empathy for the sadness I feel re being separated from my family and culture like nobody else does.
- You've helped build my confidence
- Thanks for everything you have done. You were the only person who never gave up on me and took the time to listen
How you can contact us
Phone: 0191 235 7013