Stockport Advocacy follows a Citizen advocacy model of volunteering.
Volunteers developing long term relationships with people and speaking up for them. This is a partnership between two people. To try to make things clear, one is usually called the advocacy partner, and one the citizen advocate. An advocacy partner is someone at risk of having choices, wishes and decisions ignored, and who needs help in making them known and making sure they are responded to. A citizen advocate is a person who volunteers to speak up for and support an advocacy partner and is not paid to do so.
Key points about citizen advocacy are:
- The citizen advocate is unpaid and independent of service providers and families and is a member of the local community
- The advocacy partnership is one to one and the advocate’s loyalty is to the advocacy partner alone
- The advocacy relationship is based on trust and confidentiality
- The citizen advocate identifies the partner’s choices and decisions, but does not make or influence them
- The partnership is long term and not time limited and lasts for as long as both partners want it to an advocacy scheme “matches” the advocate and partner
We have a number of volunteering opportunities for Volunteer Citizen Advocates who will be partnered with an individual to develop a relationship, understand their situation in life to stand with them, defend and promote their interests when necessary.
By volunteering you can make a real impact upon the lives of individuals who without a volunteer would have nobody unpaid in their lives. If you are interested or would like further information, please contact us on 0161 480 8979 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Three years ago, on retiring, and enjoying good health, sufficient pension and wanting to “put something back,” I came across Stockport Advocacy Trust. I met with the Stockport Advocacy team, and finding we liked each other, I was then matched with Anne, a quiet woman who likes swimming, drawing, charity shops and getting out of the house. As Anne is on the autistic spectrum, introductions would take time. And they did. I knew I had much to learn.
Several weeks later, after being present in Anne’s company in her shared house, our first expedition together was on an errand to fetch some milk from the local shop. The mission was successful, I was accepted. Anne was comfortable in my company.
Regularly seeing Anne, observing, listening, checking with her support workers, I suggested activities, trips out and we ventured further. Anne loves travelling on trains, trams, walking and going out in the car. Her favourite place to visit is Manchester Airport, especially the pub with the beer garden adjacent to the runway. We go out with the social group organised by the local branch of the National Autistic Society.
Meanwhile, Stockport Advocacy directed me to relevant training and support groups as well as providing guidance. All these were much needed last year when Anne became ill. Also, the house where she had been happy for many year was no longer able to meet her needs. The Advocacy were on the other end of the phone, and I was able to pop in for that welcome cup of tea, reassuring words and sensible advice. They helped me advocate for Anne, play my part in helping her back to health and finding a new place to call home.
Anne is once again happy and well, making her new flat homely. And we have returned to our regular pattern of journeys, lunches, shopping, days out.
What’s in it for me? I like to feel I am making a difference. Seeing Anne helps me keep a perspective on what are the important things in life. Anne is “under my skin” and a part of my life.
This testimonal has been anonymised.