An advocate helps people make effective choices about their lives, and ensures that they are given the same respect, dignity and consideration that everyone in society is entitled to. Wigan Advocacy Consortium is a group of organisations that offer advocacy services.
How can advocacy can help you
An advocate can help you by making sure:
- your views and wishes are made clear
- your views are expressed effectively
- your views are represented accurately
- you have the information you need to make informed choices
- negotiation and resolution of conflict can take place.
Types of advocacy available
- Self Advocacy helps people speak up for themselves, with help and support if needed. Wigan and Leigh People First is a self advocacy group for people with learning disabilities.
- Citizen Advocacy matches people with volunteer partners who are members of their local community. Partnerships are intended to be long-term supportive one-to-one relationships. Citizen advocacy can help with specific situations.
- Formal, Professional or Crisis Advocacy is provided for a period of time to work on a particular issue. Paid advocates focus on a task and can work on a wide range of issues.
- Family and Friend Advocacy happens on a daily basis by family members or support workers and is not time limited. It is informal and used most often for children and people with profound disabilities. Sometimes this type of advocacy goes unrecognised.
- Legal Advocates usually have specialist knowledge and training; they can be lawyers or advice workers. They often represent people in formal settings, such as courts, tribunals or complaint processes and give advice and express opinion about the best course of action.
- Best Interests (Non Instructed) Advocacy is where an advocate represents what he or she feels a person’s wishes would be, if they were able to express them. Some mental health advocates are trained to do ‘best interests’ work with those clients with dementia who are no longer able to communicate clearly. This type of advocacy is provided by Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCA’s) under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
- A Circle of Support is a group of friends and a facilitator who work together to ensure a person in need of support has a good and full life. They form close friendships and make sure all support and emotional needs are met. The circle also provides parents with the reassurance that in the event of them dying their loved one will still continue to be supported and looked after, by people who care.
To access advocacy services, contact any of the organisations listed below.