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What is Advocacy?

Impact’s Advocacy Services help people to have a voice in important issues in their lives. Advocates assist people in getting independent advice, to understand their rights and work out what they want to say. An Advocate helps people to understand their options and to get their views and wishes heard.

Feeling unable to express yourself may make you feel vulnerable, so it’s important to know that independent support called Advocacy is there to help you make yourself heard.

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For all sorts of reasons some people may struggle to:

  • have their voices heard at a time when they are facing important decisions in their lives
  • defend their rights
  • have their views and wishes genuinely considered, when decisions are being made about their lives

Advocacy support seeks to address these difficulties by helping and supporting people to:

  • make decisions about their lives
  • find out about their rights and choices
  • helping with letters or telephone calls
  • speak up at meetings
  • make sure other people listen
  • speak at meetings about the issues affecting their lives

Advocates and Advocacy Services are independent of health and social care services, free and confidential.

Lee’s Story

When Lee was urgently referred to the Impact Advocacy Service following a stroke, it soon became clear that his situation was very complex. Lee was Japanese which caused additional problems for him as he was unable to read written English.  Lee was a proud man, now in his 60s who considered himself to be a high-powered business person before his stroke which had made his difficulties all the more challenging for him to manage or share with others.

He had limited use of his right side which affected his ability to cook, clean etc. as well as affecting his mobility, he also has substantial memory loss. Although Lee lived independently he was struggling generally with the management of day to day life.

The issues had grown over a number of years due to lack of support. Issues included:

  • the breakdown of his marriage and subsequent divorce
  • a failing business to close and the management of this
  • his general day to day bills and living arrangements
  • as well as a court order to repossess his home as he is required to pay half the costs to his ex-wife

When the Advocate first met Lee, he discovered that Lee was not opening his mail, putting letters in a cupboard and not dealing with matters that required his attention.

How Advocacy helped:

Our Advocate spent time getting to know Lee and finding out what support he required, helping Lee to access other services that could support him with some of his issues. These services included the support offered by the Prevention Assessment Team, Citizens Advice Bureau and legal professionals.

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Our Advocate also helped Lee to be aware of some of the issues he was required to deal with and supported the co-ordination of services which helped Lee to understand what was happening, as well thinking though his options.

The Advocate supported Lee at his court hearings, with bill management, engaging other services and most importantly supporting the Lee to understand the expectation on him and his situation.

Advocacy helps people to navigate what has become a very complex system, Lee said: “I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about, until my Advocate helped me to understand. It turned out I didn’t have to move house after all.”

If you think you need help with any Advocacy issues, please contact Impact Initiatives, quoting Age Space Sussex via email: info@impact-initiatives.org.uk or call the Team on 01273 322940.