1. Breaking Barriers 2024: Reflections On a Day

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    So today is about finding solutions so that people can access the care and support they need.”

    – Justine Forster, CEO at Advocacy Focus

    Thursday 21st March 2024 saw the return of our long-awaited Breaking Barriers conference. With over 100 attendees, the day featured ground-breaking talks and workshops from leading sector experts and professionals from health and social care and beyond.

    Our Breaking Barriers conferences are dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of the importance of advocacy and the impact it has on our communities.

    Sharing knowledge and experiences through events such as this is key to breaking down the barriers that stop people from receiving the right care and treatment.

    Hosted by Jake Mills, CEO of Chasing the Stigma, the day featured the following speakers and topics:

    Our headline speakers:

    • Neil Allen from 39 Essex Chambers discussed ‘Making the best use of Deprivations of Liberty Safeguards’.
    • Laura Ingham from Armed Forces HQ raised awareness on ‘Advocating for the armed forces community’.
    • Darren from Mission Impossible, Trafford Self-Advocacy Group talked about ‘The Importance of Self-Advocacy.’
    • Justine Forster and Leanne Hignett from Advocacy Focus discussed ‘The Six Ps’ and the importance of self-advocacy and prevention.
    • Ellie Bradley from Advocacy Focus shared ‘Reflections a year on: Advocacy for Autistic People in Mental Health Inpatient Settings’

    Our workshops:

    • Philippa Curran from Odonnells – ‘Welfare Matters’
    • Sophie Maloney from Stephensons Solicitors (our headline sponsor) – ‘Capacity, social media and the internet’
    • Malcolm Johnson from Lime Solicitors – ‘The Rights of Looked after Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children’

    • Demi Houghton from Advocacy Focus – ‘Challenging Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’
    • Kate Mercer from Kate Mercer Training – ‘You can’t do mountaineering in your lunch break; what it takes to deliver awesome advocacy’
    • Helen Barker and Faye Doherty from Irwin Mitchell – ‘Capacity to sexual relations’

    Barriers Broken

    The core mission of Breaking Barriers has always been to ignite lasting change well beyond the event’s conclusion.

    Reviewing the feedback we have received from attendees, we have done just that.

    Keeping up to date with legislation, championing fairness, and amplifying the voices of those who often go unheard are vital steps in realising our vision. And how barriers are easier to break when we work together.

    Our Breaking Barriers events serve as a timely reminder of this.

    “We need to give people straightforward access to advocacy and wider services. If we can’t help people, we will partner with someone who can.”

    – Justine Forster, CEO at Advocacy Focus

    *Images courtesy of Liz Henson Photography.

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