Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


To provide a specialist advocacy service creating partnerships with vulnerable individuals and groups who need support to get their voices and preferences heard and respected.
We will seek to empower individuals and groups to communicate their wishes and ensure their interests and needs are met.
As an organisation we have a long track record of providing advocacy services to some of the most vulnerable citizens across Derbyshire. Many of the advocacy partners we support have significant disabilities and do not feel able to express their preferences. They may struggle to understand and influence formal processes which are "happening to them". Individuals who have learning disabilities, mental health concerns, communication barriers etc, may feel that they cannot influence these formal processes and have to "go along" with what is recommended by professionals.
Our aim is to provide 1-1 advocacy partnerships for individuals who are subject to processes which require special expertise to understand and influence e.g. in legal matters, child protection, education, housing, employment, and financial matters.
We have been successfully providing this form of advocacy for many years, however due to the changes brought about by the Care Act, and continued austerity measures local authority funder's are finding it increasingly difficult to fund advocacy services, particularly where there isn't a statutory requirement for them to do so. The overall capacity for non statutory advocacy provision (Statutory advocacy is defined by the Care Act) is falling both locally and nationally. Often volunteer led services have replaced professional advocates but these volunteers still need to be recruited, trained, and mentored in order to ensure they provide a quality service and deliver safe and sufficient practice.
We provide volunteer advocates where possible, however volunteer capacity is limited and trained, independent, professional advocates are required when individuals are going through complex processes as this often requires a higher level of involvement, greater technical skills and competences.
There is also a strong demonstrated need for experienced, highly skilled, professional advocates to engage with the most difficult to engage and sometimes challenging clients.
We would like to request that we are considered for a grant of £25,000. If successful these funds would be used to part fund an experienced professional advocate post, who would work with the most excluded and hard to reach groups within society when they need advocacy input. They would support individuals and groups through complex processes such as legal matters, child protection, education, housing, employment, and financial matters.
We would also use the funding to build our volunteering capacity thus making ongoing advocacy provision within Derbyshire more sustainable. We would invest in the development of our volunteer workforce by providing training, coaching, supervision and mentoring. Our intention is to up-skill our volunteer workforce and increase the available capacity of volunteers by conducting a full review of our volunteering strategy and creating an ambitious expectation of doubling our volunteer contingent within 12 months. If successful this grant would enable us to train and support a greater number of volunteers and release current staff to mentor them and develop their practice.
Advocacy is a hugely valuable provision that can have a profound impact upon individuals in terms of their personal outcomes. We witness individuals move closer towards self actualization as they become empowered to self advocate in the future.
We also believe that advocacy can have a profound effect within communities potentially reducing harmful effects such as ASB, Crime, Drug and Alcohol use as it can work with some of the most challenging and vulnerable individuals within society, to reduce marginalization and create safer more balanced communities.

Derbyshire Advocacy Service

Moment of Pride

I am very proud of the profound effect that an advocacy partnership can have on some of the most excluded and vulnerable individuals within our communities. Advocacy helps to ensure access to justice in a variety of settings and empowers individuals to take pride in themselves and their choices.

Location: Derbyshire, United Kingdom