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Advocacy for All bigger voices – better lives

issue 12 June 2017

Kent Artistic Spectrum was a hugely successful exhibition by poets, artists and photographers with the Autistic Spectrum Condition which was held at The County Gallery in Maidstone.

Feedback from the event was really positive and the local community got involved and supported the exhibition. The artists were very excited that some of their art work was sold and look forward to future possibilities to promote their work again. Watch out for the next event.


Jon Wheeler, Chief Executive We are very busy at Advocacy for All with new work and developing existing work. We are proud and excited to announce that we have won a new contract in Sutton, this means that we will be providing Care Act, IMCA and Professional Advocacy, NHS complaints and working in partnership with MAPS to deliver Children’s advocacy. We look forward to developing and strengthening our new partnership with MAPS: mentoring advocacy and peer support. We have also been awarded the contract in Sutton for Participation and Group work for Adults and Children with a learning disability. Our Kent Learning Disability project in partnership with seAp is making a great impact in Kent, feedback has been really good. We are also developing connections with other boroughs who have heard about the good work we do, Croydon council have asked us to deliver Care Act advocacy, referrals are picking up. We had even more success with our Children in Need funding. This has allowed us to continue working and supporting young people in Bexley and Bromley via 1-1 advocacy and group work ensuring they have a voice in their future.

We have launched a pack for people with a learning disability, to use on their own or with support, before having a Mental Capacity Assessment.


Jon Wheeler, Chief Executive

Welcome to our new staff

Erika Allen

Stuart Halton

Young Peoples Advocacy Coordinator

East Kent RPR

Trevor Sergeant

Tracy Crockford




RPR & Advocate

Will Farmer

Jackie Allen

Business Development Manager

Community Advocacy Coordinator

Helen Bevan

Rahma Lewis

Referrals and Monitoring Coordinator

NHS Complaints

Victoria Tomkins

Phillip Coffey

East Kent RPR





Advocacy for All has relied on our dedicated team of volunteers for many years now. Volunteers support our work in many different ways, for example: 

in the office providing admin support

volunteer advocates across many projects

volunteer group support



Each volunteer is incredibly important to our organisation and, on behalf of us and the people we work for:

thank you for everything you do Paul is a volunteer PA for one of the managers at our Sidcup office. Yaninka says: Paul comes and ‘sorts me out’. He takes great pride in the role and knows what a difference he makes to my work. Paul says: it’s given me confidence and gives me a chance to learn new things. I feel needed and welcomed here. I am part of the team. I do many different things: scanning, printing, filing, typing up documents, using spreadsheets and databases. It keeps me busy. I also help other people in the office. 4

being a volunteer at Advocacy for All I have been a volunteer for the charity for approximately 3 ½ years; during which time I have worked on 2 teams. My first was the Community Advocacy team supporting individuals who had learning difficulties and/or Autism. It is such a vital and necessary service for this community, so I was a little nervous at first. I shadowed the advocates for some weeks and they were more than happy for me to come along to lots of different types of meetings they had with their clients. Shadowing was a very helpful and informative experience which gave me a great insight into what the Community Advocacy Project were achieving. I was soon assisting my own clients which was such a rewarding experience. Helping support vulnerable individuals to have their voices heard was very fulfilling. After about a year and a half I transferred over to the NHS Complaints Team for Bexley which was so different but also extremely rewarding; helping clients with their NHS complaints in various ways such as writing letters, attending meetings at client’s homes, hospitals and at various NHS Centres. The advocates on the team are so supportive and I was able to shadow again observing how they decided to best support the client. I have learnt so much during both of these projects and I thoroughly enjoy being a volunteer for Advocacy for All. I hope to volunteer for them for a very long time! Brigitte, volunteer advocate with NHS Complaints Bexley I would also like to thank all the volunteers and students on the Bexley Advocacy for NHS complaints service for providing such a high quality service, that our commissioners also see as valuable in serving Bexley residents. Russell Prestwich Bexley Senior NHS Complaints Advocacy Coordinator 5

volunteering opportunities fundraiser Bromley Sparks urgently need a volunteer fundraiser to help raise money to pay for the rent for the Bromley Sparks office. We are looking someone who is a self-motivated, committed and forward thinking. The role involves coming up with, planning and managing new and imaginative fundraising activities.

do you love creativity and art? We are looking for someone to support a group of people with high-functioning autism and Asperger Syndrome at a monthly art group. Sessions are inspired by famous artists. The session is on the last Thursday of the month, 2pm-4pm in central Canterbury.

volunteering in Sutton We require volunteers to support the work we do in and around Sutton borough. We need organised and dedicated people to help us do advocacy work in NHS complaints and RPR roles.

bowling group supporter This is an opportunity for anyone who enjoys bowling and has a few hours a month to spare to support a group of people with high-functioning Autism and Asperger syndrome at their bowling socials. The group meets in Cliftonville on the second Monday of every month.

for more information and an application form

www.advocacyforall.org.uk/volunteer 6

raising money raise money with eBay You can support us every time you sell or shop on eBay by choosing Advocacy for All as your “favourite charity” and donating a percentage of the item’s selling price. Your listing will be clearly marked ‘For Charity’ and display the charity ribbon. This encourages people to buy your items, and make higher bids. Seller fees will also be discounted. Everybody wins! For more information visit www.ebay.co.uk/ebayforcharity We are also selling a wide range of generously donated items. Visit our page and take a look at our latest listings www.ebay.co.uk/usr/advocacy_for_all

Loose Change to Change Lives!!! Making a difference to the local community.

Advocacy for All needs your help. We are looking for businesses and places to display our charity collection tins If you can help please call 020 8300 9666

fundraising Raise money for Advocacy for All by getting together with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues and organising an event or taking on a personal challenge and starting your own crowd funding page on our Total Giving account. www.totalgiving.co.uk/charity/advocacy-for-all We would love to hear your ideas and support you to make them happen so please get in touch. 7

who are we? 

we are people between 12 and 25 years old

we all have a disability: learning disability, learning difficulty, physical disability, autism

we all live in Havering

what do we do? 

Havering Council asks us what young people with a disability who live in Havering think about things

we go to schools and clubs to talk to other young people

we use games and activities to find out what people think

we make it fun!

we learn other skills

when and where do we meet? 

we meet every other Wednesday

even in the school holidays

the meetings start at 3.15, but it is ok to be late if you have come from school

the meetings finish at 5.15

we might be able to help you get there

the meetings are at MyPlace, Harold Hill Want to join the Young Advisers? Call or email us 020 8300 9666 or info@advocacyforall.org.uk 8

CATS conference 2018 The Young Advisers are raising money to go to the CATS conference next year There are no real cats at the CATS conference! CATS stands for Children as Actors Transforming Society It is a big meeting that happens every year in Switzerland 250 adults and children come from all over the world to talk about what they are doing to help children to speak up and make their lives better

There are lots of reasons why they want to go to CATS 

the Young Advisers are very proud of their work and want to talk about it

there were no young people with disabilities last year and they want to show that they can make change too

they can help other groups learn how to listen to young people with disabilities

it is a chance to meet people who come from different countries and cultures

Help us raise £1500! http://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/yahtocats2018 9

feedback What people say about us Thank you - you were fantastic, you sorted his life out, without your support he doesn’t like to think what would have happened, he could have been homeless or even dead. He is now looking forward to his future and he is even getting his dog returned to him tomorrow, he hasn’t seen his dog for 6 months. He feels positive about his future. He said that you really showed him care and respect at a time when no one else was. Thanks so much for the swift reply. This will greatly reduce the pressure on his family. A really useful service, helped me understand my assessment with the council. Thank you again for all your input into helping and supporting J through this difficult time.

My advocate was kind and friendly

I have had good experiences with working with advocates from Advocacy for All. Always willing to accommodate urgent requests and move appointments to enable timely responses and service delivery. lease continue the good work. 10

Sutton Care Act Advocacy issue Tom was referred for a care act advocate for a safeguarding enquiry. Tom was living in a residential placement. A member of staff had reported a whistleblowing in regards to the care Tom was receiving. Tom had a mum but it was deemed by social services that they were not appropriate to support in this case due to the complexity, and other safeguarding issues that had previously been raised. action I discussed the referral with the social worker who explained that Tom lacked capacity around their care needs and used gestures as a method of communication. I visited Tom at their residential home. Tom was able to use gestures to communicate simple tasks. Tom lacked the capacity to understand my role so I took a non-instructed advocacy role. Tom also lacked capacity around care needs and the safeguarding, so was unable to discuss wants, needs and wishes meaning I took a rights based approach. I attended the case conference to represent Tom’s rights, wants, needs and wishes. However due to the way evidence was gathered this indicated that Tom’s rights were not being protected and policies, procedures and risk assessments were not being followed, so it was agreed for a new investigation to be opened. Another risk identified through my involvement was one of social isolation. how was the client involved in the process? Tom was involved in the process by using a non-instructed rights based approach to ensure that they were represented. the advocate made sure  that Tom had a voice in the safe guarding process  that Tom’s rights were met  that Tom’s needs were being met  Tom will have the right to a safe home environment 11

Kent Care Act Advocacy We are continuing to promote our advocacy work in the prisons on the Isle of Sheppey. When people first arrive at a prison, they spend time on the First Night Centre. It is here that they find out about how the prison works and what help they can get. It is also the prison’s opportunity to find out what help and support the person might need during their stay. HMP Elmley have agreed to us collecting information for one month from people going through their First Night Centre. We are doing this so that we have a better understanding of the kinds of advocacy work that we could offer at that prison.

We have also started our first pilot at HMP Elmley. This means that we are now accepting referrals for work under the Learning Disability project from individuals and also staff from the prison. We are learning a lot about this kind of advocacy and reviewing our work and processes as we go. 12

understanding mental capacity assessments We have launched a pack for people with a learning disability to use on their own or with support before having a Mental Capacity Assessment. The pack has information on:       

the Mental Capacity Act 2005 what a mental capacity is how the assessment is done and the help you can get what happens if you cannot make a decision for yourself how to use the pack useful communication tools useful links

Our members who have a learning disability have been involved in every part of creating the pack to make sure that it is easy to understand. We also used different ways of communicating the information:   

easy read short role play films story boards for those who cannot read well

The pack can be used locally and nationally, in paper or on the internet and is being shared with 

Bromley Council and other local authorities

health websites and other useful websites


Please visit our website to download the pack. 13

Community Advocacy in Bexley and Bromley Jackie Allen, the Community Advocacy Coordinator, has had a busy few months getting to know everyone and visiting the speaking up groups in Bexley and Bromley to tell them about what an advocate does and does not do. Jackie has started working with adults living in the community supporting them to speak up and achieve the results they want. Some of the issues she has helped with are housing, benefits, work, health, college, appointments and meetings Nina was frustrated with social services. She had told social services she needed a named Care Manager. Nina wanted to move accommodation and needed an assessment to be done by social services. She asked an Advocate to help. The Advocate worked with Nina to write to social services to ask what was happening with her Care Manager. Nina then wrote to her Member of Parliament and asked him to help too. Soon she received a reply. The Member of Parliament had also written to social services. After a few weeks Nina was allocated a named social worker. Her Advocate helped Nina to get ready for her assessment and went to the assessment meeting with Nina. Nina is now waiting to hear news about her new home. Nina said ‘My Advocate did a good job and it was good having someone to talk to when I felt frustrated by social services’ Volunteer advocates receive regular support and training sessions. One volunteer said ‘activities were enjoyable and effective’, ‘It went very well and everyone learnt something new’. Our next volunteer session focused on Autism. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer visit the Advocacy for All website or call us on 020 8300 9666 14

Young People’s Advocacy Project Hello there! I’m Erika Allen the new Young People’s Advocacy Project Coordinator. I have been in post since December and have been busy publicising the project, recruiting new volunteers and getting to know the other staff at the Sidcup office. I am very keen to enable disabled young people to receive good quality advocacy. Please meet Gina who has just started as a Young People’s Volunteer Advocate. My name is Gina. As a Young People’s Volunteer Advocate, my role is to support children and young people in expressing their wishes and feelings on matters that are important to them. After training and a bit of shadowing, I have now started my one-to-one sessions with a young person. The overall idea of advocacy is that children and young people should feel empowered to make their own informed decisions regardless of what I think is best. I take my instructions from them not the other way around! Young People from the Glebe School in Hayes and from Bromley and Havering Young Advisers were consulted with about what they wanted from Young Peoples Advocates. The top 3 responses from Glebe school group were:   

nice and kind friendly helpful, not shouting and funny

Top 3 qualities in a Young Peoples advocate from Young Advisers Bromley : 

supportive, responsible, polite

honest, trustworthy, helpful

helpful, trustworthy, responsible 15

Bexley NHS Complaints Advocacy We publicised to residents of Bexley, local NHS and social care service providers, and charities, voluntary, community groups. We were excited to be invited to attend and speak at the Bexley-Primary Care Development Working Group in October, and also Advocacy for All Bexley Speaking up group, so they could attend our meetings with the CCG, BVSC and Healthwatch. This has helped with the continued steady growth with contacts for our services, highlighting the good work we do, enabling people with a learning disability within the groups to possibly be part of enter view visits with Healthwatch. Please see webcast at the Civic Centre: https://bexley.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/256048 Ann’s story Ann had been advised by her GP to request an ambulance when her mother displayed certain symptoms. Ann did so resulting in her mother being taken to A&E. On arrival Ann was told off by the consultant physician for calling an ambulance as it was “interfering with nature”. The doctor on the ward refused family request to insert a cannula. He also refused to treat mother’s blood pressure despite the mother being on long term medication prior to admittance. A number of other incidents where staff at the hospital behaved in an unprofessional manner were recorded. Advocacy for All were able to help draft a complaint letter and support Ann regarding actions as an outcome of complaint and investigation. The Trust investigated the complaint involving the consultant physician and the matron for elderly care and the senior matron for acute medicine. Ann has received apologies from them all. She has also been informed that a charter is currently being developed and designed around the Trust’s values and complaints. 16

easy read service what is easy read Easy read is information that is easy to read and understand Easy read means picking out the key points in complicated information and explaining it in the simplest way Easy read uses short and simple sentences, clear layout and photos to support the words

easy read information 

we can look at your information and write a report telling you how to make it more easy read

we can make a new version of your information in easy read

we can produce something new from the start

training We provide easy read training course for organisations and service providers to help them make their information into easy read. The training is delivered by our team of easy read experts who have a learning disability and are supported by a member of staff. The Bromley Sparks easy read group are a team of people with a learning disability with over 14 years experience in doing easy read work. They are involved in every part and are supported by a member of staff. For more information and prices please contact us on sparks@advocacyforall.org.uk 17

Speak Up Sutton Speaking up in difficult situations Here are our top tips: Never be ashamed to speak up for yourself. Always think positive! Rory 

make eye contact

take things slowly

plan what you will say before you go

ask someone for support

ask for advice if you are not confident

if you feel stressed, take some time out to calm down

be polite

be patient

smile! Be honest and ask for help if you need it! Lucy

Sometimes you just need to ignore the person who is annoying you and not let yourself get stressed. Philip


Speak Up Sutton learning disability strategy for Sutton The learning disability strategy is the council’s big plan to help people have a good life. Speak Up Sutton have been helping the council. We asked people what should go into the new strategy. We talked about: 

how to make a house a home



being in the Sutton community

We have found out what people think is good and what needs to improve. Shona Harris at the council is writing a big report about the strategy. If you want to speak up about life in Sutton, you can contact her: shona.harris@sutton.gov.uk Speak Up Sutton held a fun filled event at Sutton FC. You can read more about it in our Summer issue of the Speaking Up Together newsletter.


A Team event: Safety in Numbers “A big thank you to everyone who attended the A Team Safety in Numbers. The day was a real success. We loved it that our plan came together. We have made a great video of the day which will be out soon. Watch out for more A Team safeguarding training .�

find us on social media

/advocacy4all /advocacyforall @biggervoice /biggervoices

contact us 020 8300 9666 info@advocacyforall.org.uk www.advocacyforall.org.uk Advocacy for All is an independent advocacy organisation and an equal opportunities employer. charity no 1064855


Profile for Advocacy for All

Advocacy for All Newsletter June 2017  

Issue 12

Advocacy for All Newsletter June 2017  

Issue 12