A community advocate is someone who offers advocacy that is not based on a legal right. In other words, it is not offered to you because the law says you have to be offered it.
Community advocacy can be done by a paid professional or a volunteer or ‘citizen advocate’
What will a community advocate do?
- An advocate will meet with you and listen to what you want. They will agree a plan with you based on what you want to happen.
- Then the advocate will support you to achieve your goals.
They will support you to:
- gain the skills and confidence to tell people what you want, and they may speak up for you themselves, if you ask them to
- understand your rights and the choices that you have
- make a decision yourself and tell people what your decision is
Advocates are independent. They are not connected to the carers or to the services which are involved in supporting you.
An advocate can work with you to:
- Speak out at meetings or to professionals
- Find information so you can make choices and sort out problems
- Change your services if you want to
- Know about your rights and make sure they are respected
- Make difficult decisions
- Make a complaint if you are not happy about something
Who can use community advocacy?
We offer advocacy to a whole range of people, including those with:
- Mental health illness
- Learning Disabilities
- Autistic Spectrum conditions
- Visual or Hearing Impairments
- Acquired Brain Injuries
- Substance Misuse
- Young People moving to adult services
- Anyone who feels they have a care or support need