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  1. Demonstrating our support for Dementia Awareness Week 14-20th May

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    Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer. But awareness and understanding remains low and many families are facing it alone.

    To play our part the awareness week, we thought we would share how we help people living with dementia through our highly skilled advocacy service.

    At Advocacy Focus, we have a vast experience of helping to give support and understanding and practical support to those living with dementia, and their families. We have 12 trained dementia friends and are in the process of training up a further 6 team members.

    How Advocacy helped Mr Shaw from Lancashire

    Our Independent Advocate Becci Jackson recently acted as a Paid Relevant Persons Representative (RPR) for an individual who was living in a care home with no friends or family.

    Unfortunately, the individual was unhappy with being in the care home and would often pack his belongings and sit by the front door for long periods.

    Becci visited the client every month and, as a result of working with the client over a period of time and building up a relationship, it was discovered that the client was not happy in the care home due to not being able to go out, and there being a lot of noise coming from the resident in the room next to him, meaning he could not sleep.

    Taking the time to listen to the concerns of the individual meant that we could then help to address the specific concerns.

    As is our duty as the person’s representative, we take our role very  seriously and we worked closely with the care home staff and the person’s Legal Power of Attorney and as a result, he has been able to visit shops in the local area, garden centres, go for walks along the lake and go to the pub.

    We also raised his concerns around the noise at night to staff in the care home and he was offered an alternative room in a quieter area of the home which he accepted.

    Our client is now very happy in the care home, is able to maintain access to the local community, and feels his new room is “top notch”. This is just one example of how we can help people, even those living with dementia to have a better quality of life and achieve the things that matter to them.

    To find out about how Advocacy can help you or someone you know, phone 0300 323 0965 or email admin@advocacyfocus.org.uk

    To find out more about the Dementia Awareness Week, click here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/downloads/20167/dementia_awareness_week

    Alzheimer’s Society have created a useful booklet which outlines 5 things that you need to know about dementia, download it here.https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/download/downloads/id/1739/5_things_you_should_know_about_dementia.pdf

  2. Pendle Hill conquered in aid of mental health and well-being

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    Why you ask, would we brave bumping into any remaining witches, so close to Halloween?

    Well… we conquered the 360m ascent to help us reflect on the daily up-hill mountain that our services users often face and to raise money for us to extend our advocacy services to vulnerable individuals in the local community.

    So, after a quick morning cup of coffee and with our friends from BNI Diamond Chapter, Preston, a team of 25 set off from the carpark in high spirits.

    The going was fairly easy (at first) and we stopped to admire the view at Lower Ogden Reservoir.

    At the impressive dam wall, we headed up the right hand side on a rough path to reach the Upper Ogden Reservoir.  We followed this higher path through the valley and even crossed over the Boar Clough stream!

    Following the marker stones for the route of the Pendle Way, after crossing the stream we turned right and ascended steeply north on the rough path up the shoulder of Boar Clough.

    After a quick pit stop, our thoughts tuned to our ultimate end goal, ‘the summit of Pendle Hill’ known as Beacon End or Big End. We continued on (through the mud!) and reached the summit where we found an OS trig point pillar sat on an impressive circular stone cairn.

    We were at a height of 557m above sea level and took in the spectacular view where apparently on clear day you can see the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Morecambe Bay, the Forest of Bowland and of course the sprawling Lancashire mill towns.

    After congratulating ourselves on our achievement of reaching the top, we then realised that we were only in fact halfway!  It was time for our rocky descent and headed for the picturesque village of Barley which was a great place to finish the walk.

    Overall a brilliant experience and every one of us experienced highs and lows and then ultimately a great sense of achievement.

    We thank everyone for their sponsorship.  See you there next year???

  3. Our Advocacy Service is classed as ‘Outstanding’ at the National Advocacy Awards 2016

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    The National Advocacy Awards celebrates outstanding people, organisations and practice in the field of Independent Advocacy. The ‘Outstanding Service’ category recognises services that are making a difference locally by providing creative and innovative ways of evolving their support. Katrina Kelly, Service Delivery Director at Advocacy Focus has always maintained that her committed team of Senior Advocates and Advocates is top class, but now the recognition at a national level and beating off stiff competition just goes to prove it.

    Advocacy Focus’s winning strand of advocacy is based on our IMHA activities following the publication of ‘A Right to be Heard. We worked hard with our multi-agency partners to establish a new ‘opt out’ policy.

    In addition to tackling the real life hurdles of Information Governance, Caldicott Policies, the relocation of 19 wards to one specialist unit, and amalgamating 6 different Mental Health Act Administrators ways of working, an opt out policy for automatic referral at the point of Section was finally introduced after a long period of dedication by the team. As a result of the initiative, IMHA referrals increased by over 400% in the first year and on average we continue to work with 268 detained patients per month.

    In addition, our very own Advocate Leanne Barber was a shortlisted finalist and voted Highly Commended in the ‘Outstanding advocate’ category, which recognises people who truly make a difference to the world through their advocacy practice. Well done Leanne! The Awards Ceremony was held on October 12th in Birmingham, for more details, see http://www.advocacyawards.co.uk/

  4. Advocacy Focus’ Macmillan Coffee Morning hits the press!

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    A beautifully sunny day meant Advocacy Focus was able to set up a cake stand outside its office where the event was held, enticing passersby to go inside and join the fun.  Activities included henna painting, caricature drawing, a clothing stall and of course gallons of coffee and home made cake, with over 70 people taking part.

    Support came from all quarters, including local businesses and partner organisations.  Bootstrap, a local charity that helps equip people with skills to get back into work, kindly provided a project team to paint the Advocacy Focus office so it looked its best, ready for the event. Having worked up a healthy appetite, the team tucked into some delicious sweet treats on the day.

    A key ingredient of the day’s success was the charity auction, which showed the kindness of local residents and Advocacy Focus employees and volunteers alike:  A Blackpool Zoo annual pass, and Blackburn Rovers tickets – two of the enticing lots – were re-auctioned, allowing even more money to be raised.

    Justine Hodgkinson, CEO of Advocacy Focus, said:  ‘’We were absolutely delighted with how well the Macmillan Coffee morning went and how much money we raised!  It was inspiring to see how the team and local businesses pulled together.  Our team were even selling raffle tickets ahead of the event to family and friends to boost the Macmillan fundraising total.  We’re extremely grateful to Barclays Bank, which kindly matched our fundraising efforts, helping to raise such an impressive sum. This event will definitely be the first of many – here’s to even bigger and better fundraisers in the future!”

    Jon Alder, who represented Barclays at the Coffee Morning, commented: ‘’We were really pleased to be a part of Advocacy Focus’ fundraising efforts.  It was inspirational seeing how much effort had gone into making the event not only a great success fundraising-wise, but a thoroughly enjoyable morning too.’’

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