When you’re telling the community about us, and why we’re such a good cause to donate to you may find it helpful to have these facts to hand.
What is advocacy?
Firstly, what is advocacy? The public often confuse it with mediation. Advocacy is helping someone to speak up for themselves or to have someone speak on their behalf. The reason our work is so important is because we are independent and don’t lead or put our own inflection upon what an individual really wants to say. We make sure that those we are advocating for have their voice heard. Think back to a time in your life when you’ve wanted to say something but haven’t been able to because you believed that you weren’t allowed to say what you really thought or a family member or professional was making decisions for you. You may recall the experience making you feel excluded, disempowered or frustrated. People with disabilities encounter this frequently during their life. Advocacy Matters is there to redress the imbalance.
Who is Advocacy Matters?
Advocacy Matters is a charity that has been delivering advocacy for 15 years. During that time; almost all of our work has been carried out under contracts with Birmingham and Walsall local authorities. This is known as statutory advocacy or what government has to provide. This is most commonly IMCA independent mental capacity advocacy, DoLS Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding and Care Act Advocacy.
We also offer non-statutory advocacy which gives more people the dignity and support to not only have their voice heard but to have their human rights acknowledged. We are governed by a body of trustees who ensures that the charity is solvent and operating within charity law. The day to day running of the charity is managed by the Chief Executive Officer who oversees the direction and operational matters undertaken by a team of qualified advocates, trained volunteers and an administrator.
Who does Advocacy Matters support?
Traditionally, the charity has specialised in adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and people with poor mental health. Some may have additional needs such as sensory impairments and challenging beahviours which makes their support needs more complex.
We now have a strong reputation for delivering childrens advocacy in schools and hospitals. Our children have learning and or physical disabilities, life limiting conditions, profound communication difficulties, and low mental wellbeing. Some young people are in the care of the local authority and struggling to make a life for themselves.
Others we have been pleased to support and secure successful outcomes for are people who are homeless, have experienced domestic abuse, hate and mate crime, lost their means of financial independence, lost their family, attending tribunals, attending court proceedings, attending health and care case reviews.
Does Advocacy Matters only provide advocacy?
We do, but we want to do more. When we carry out our work; we often ask our clients what we could do to improve what we do. They tell us that they have been impressed by our professionalism and knowledge and would like to continue the relationship with Advocacy Matters but through other services. Some examples they have given us are:
- To be able to make relationships with peers and to increase their social life
- To be able to tackle anxiety and feelings of low self-worth
- To become learn how to be more self-reliant and resilient
- To know how to stay safe in the community
- To know how to make good relationships
Why does the charity need fundraisers? Doesn’t local authority pay for this sort of thing?
In the past, this was true but a severe cut back in public funding has meant that adults who once qualified for advocacy now no longer meet the criteria. Many local authorities don’t include children at all in their policies. Because we believe so strongly in the human rights of adults and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that we need to be able to fund the right to speech through the efforts of our friends, our volunteers.
Do I have to become an Advocacy Matters volunteer to raise funds or can I do something on my own?
We welcome volunteers who want to become part of the charity on a regular basis and those who would prefer to raise funds for us as a one-off activity or a little more often. Visit our fundraising resources.