Health and wellbeing

Funding level: Up to £1,000


OCAY is a small local charity whose aims are for older people to take control of their own lives, be more independent, have reduced levels of poverty, be socially included and have their voices heard. We assist people to find out what choices are available to them. All older people should be able to have clear access to the benefits system and local services in order to maintain their independence, health and wellbeing. OCAY provides trained, supervised volunteers, who can be called upon to advocate for people who do not have family or friends to help them or who want more detached and independent help.

Our project is aimed at improving our ability to support people at our drop in venues across the city of York. We currently hold 7 monthly sessions in different areas of the city, Tang Hall Library, Acomb Explore Library, Clifton Library, Clements Hall, St Oswalds Community café, St James the Deacon Community café, Woodthorpe and the Nelli Café in New Earswick. We want to improve the support given to people at these drop ins by having appropriate technology to use to access the information they need at the time. We would like to buy iPads so that our staff and volunteers can use them with older people when they come to the drop in. We could help them book medical or dentist appointments, do their shopping, make price comparisons, make online benefit applications or check their energy suppliers. This would mean that people would not have to wait for the information and help that they needed and could be more convenient than making appointments to come into our city centre office.

Ocay wants to promote health and wellbeing by helping older people to access information and services that they may not be aware of. This can lead to people attending new activities that benefit both their mental and physical health. Volunteers are also able to attend doctors or hospital appointments with older people so that they can be supported to ask questions and to understand conversations about their health. This increases access to medical information and provides a better understanding of what the person needs to do to maintain their own health and wellbeing. OCAY supports older people to start to self-advocate and this leads to an improved self-confidence that impacts positively on well-being.

The advocacy work of OCAY reduces loneliness and social isolation among older York residents by helping people access information and providing support in trying new ventures. We aim to assist, through advocacy, people who are at risk of not receiving their full entitlement to welfare benefits and falling into poverty. Clients need emotional and practical help. Ocay provides emotional support to manage the stress induced by making claims, which can aggravate existing health difficulties at the root of their claims. OCAY provides the practical assistance at meetings and help with form filling. OCAY can provide long term support and works with the client to ensure that their voice is heard.

So, we want people to vote for our project as we can offer an amazing free service that older people can access near to their home. It is important that people know what we do and that the advocacy service is free and independent from any statutory agencies.

Please support our project as people may need advocacy because they feel:
No one is listening to them
They've got important decisions to make
They can't get the help they need
They don't agree with decisions that are being made about them

An advocate can help by:
Helping to decide what to do
Finding out information and who to contact
Telling clients about their rights
Helping clients to access health and social care services
Going to meetings and appointments with clients
Helping to write letters and fill in forms
Challenging decisions that clients do not agree with
Making sure rights are being respected
Helping to make a complaint


Project Video

Older Citizens Advocacy York

Moment of Pride

Our 24 volunteer advocates supported 342 older people last year with issues ranging from applying for benefits to visiting hospital or from finding housing to online applications. We are very proud of all the time they give to OCAY.

Location: York