- What is advocacy?
- What can advocacy help me with?
- Can I have an advocate?
- How do I get an advocate?
- Case studies – how advocacy helped me
What is advocacy?
Advocacy services help you to:
- get your views heard
- get information you need
- make your own choices
- take control over your own life
An advocate can speak on your behalf if you are unable to speak for yourself. An advocate will not give advice or make judgements, but will support you to say what you want to say.
Can I have an advocate?
Under the Care Act 2014, the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act, certain people are legally entitled to an advocate. In addition, Surrey County Council offers free advocacy to other residents in certain circumstances. This includes:
- Adults detained under the Mental Health Act
- Adults in custody
- Adults diagnosed with long term conditions
- Adults who are caring for someone else
- Adults who have care and support needs of their own
- Adults who are accessing substance misuse treatment
- Adults who are accessing mental health support
What can advocacy help me with?
In Surrey, advocacy support can help with:
- Your rights under the Mental Health Act
- Care assessments, planning and reviews,
- Continuing health care assessments,
- Child’s needs assessment, child’s carers assessment and young carer’s assessment,
- Housing issues,
- Finance and debt issues
- Welfare, benefits and funding issues
- Legal issues
- Health and medical treatment issues
- Employment issues
How do I get an advocate?
Advocacy services in Surrey are provided by Surrey Disabled People’s Partnership (SDPP) in partnership with Matrix and Deaf Positives. They will help you understand what advocacy support you are eligible to receive and will put you in touch with an advocate. If you are not eligible, you will be signposted to other services that can help you.
Call: 0800 335 7330 (free phone)
Text: 07561 392 818
Case studies - how advocacy helped me
Jo is 58 and lives in a privately rented flat. The landlord announced she was intending to sell the flat and Jo would need to move out. But 9 months ago, Jo was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Life is very difficult and Jo is exhausted from her treatment. The last thing Jo needs is to deal with finding a new place to live and moving house. Unless she can sort it out though, Jo will be homeless in 6 weeks. Jo turned to an advocate for help.
The advocate helped Jo write to the Housing department to see what they could do to help. The advocate helped Jo get together all the paperwork she would need and fill in the application form for social housing. The advocate supported Jo to plan the move, sort out her utilities, re-direct her post and get set up in her new flat.
Jo is now settled in her new place and can concentrate on her health and spending time with family and friends.
Alan lives in a supported living flat. The staff on site are supposed to help Alan with day to day things like washing his clothes and doing the cleaning. But recently Alan felt the staff have not been helping him the way he would like. Alan tried to explain this but because of his learning disability he wasn’t able to communicate very well what he thought was wrong.
Alan asked and advocate for help.
The advocate spent time with Alan and discussed how he felt and asked what Alan would like to happen. Alan said he wanted to talk to the manager of his supported living, but was intimidated and thought he wouldn’t be able to speak to them. So the advocate helped Alan prepare what he wanted to say, and supported him to organise a meeting with the manager in an informal setting where he felt more comfortable. In the meeting, Alan asked the manager to start the conversation, and then help Alan say what he had prepared.
With support from the advocate, Alan felt more relaxed and able to say what he wanted. He felt listened to and was able to agree with the manager how he would be supported in the future.