1. Helping Max

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    Salford Children and Young People

    What was the person’s situation before working with Advocacy Focus? 

    Max is a 19 year old male who is a care leaver, living out of area. Max has additional needs and struggles to retain information. He has been homeless and needed an advocate for support around housing and his rights as a care leaver.

    What did the Independent Advocate do to help the person?

    The advocate built a trusting relationship with Max enabling him to share his past experiences and what he finds hard. He recognised that he was unable to retain information and keep up with the decisions that had been made for him. The advocate with permission spoke to professionals involved and asked if all their updates could be shared vie email in one chain, so that Max could follow and review at any time.

    When Max became homeless the advocate ensured that the relevant professionals were informed, and Max felt safe and secure until a place was found for him. The advocate ensured information was passed correctly between Max and his social worker. Max was told that he could have a free gym pass, but because he was living outside of Salford, the Council were reluctant to give it to him. After a few telephone conversations Max has now got a free gym pass for local gyms.

    What was the outcome?

    Max understands and can see all information in relation to his life. He is gaining confidence when speaking to professionals and has attended some organisations on his own. He now attends the gym for free, which benefits his mental wellbeing. The case is still ongoing, with Max still waiting for a permanent place to live. The advocate will continue to work with Max until he decides he no longer needs an advocate.

    Why was advocacy support so effective?

    Without an advocate Max would not know some of his care leavers rights. Information would not have been shared in a way that he understood, therefore, Max would still feel that he had not been listened to. Max knows that he is being supported by a trusted person. The relationship between Max and his social worker has improved as he feels that actions have been taken for things he has waited for.

    *Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people we support

  2. 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

  3. Jane’s experience of Advocacy Focus

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    My sister has had mental health problems since she had meningitis as a child and the two of us have always been inseparable. As she got older my sister had to live in care homes and that’s when I feel the problems started. I felt that the staff at the care home where my sister was living were mistreating her and actually putting her in danger. I had a social worker at the time but she always seemed to be on the side of the care home staff and I thought allowed them to get away with treating my sister really badly.

    I got in touch with Advocacy Focus because I had heard about advocacy and they have been an absolute lifeline for me and my sister – nothing is too much trouble for them. They came with me when I had to attend meetings between social services and the care home and helped me to understand what was going on and to put my point across. When I’ve had to write letters trying to support my sister, my advocate helped me to say things clearly and get the message over.

    They really have been on my side all along the way and have helped me to get things sorted. At one point I was banned from seeing my sister for 9 months at the care home and that broke my heart, but Advocacy Focus helped me to get that sorted out.

    They have helped me in so many ways over the years, I really couldn’t have managed without them.”

    * the person’s name has been changed in order to protect her identity

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