Advocacy Awareness week 2023 runs between the 6th – 10th November and is an opportunity for us to celebrate and explain advocacy and the benefits it has to society. The Quality Company have spoken with key members of Thera Trust to detail their experience in advocacy. These pieces answer the what and why regarding advocacy. Here, we explain what advocacy means.
The more people know the more things can change. – Ashley Barker, The Quality Company
Advocacy is about representing someone’s interests and helping them to build a better life for themselves. There are multiple ways in which having somebody advocate for them has helped The Quality Company’s Quality Assessors before.
Tom Stevens, Quality Assessor, was able to gain a job and build a career working alongside an advocate who supported and encouraged him through the application process.
He was also supported to speak with somebody over the phone in which he was trying to apply for a passport.
Advocacy means that somebody speaks up on behalf of me or of anyone who has a learning disability.
Tom goes on to explain the importance of advocacy:
It’s very difficult for people out there and a lot of the time people look at people with a learning disability struggling and think they’re stupid. They’re not stupid they just need a slightly different approach. Having someone advocate for you can help explain that to people.
Ashley Barker, Quality Assessor, has his own experience of advocacy:
I’m involved in various advocacy groups outside of work. I’ve gone to different charities for various support such as forms or communicating with professionals who don’t understand how to communicate with people with disabilities.
The information and experiences that Ashley gains through advocacy groups, he then shares with others, becoming an advocate for them. Advocacy becomes a shared experience in which support is offered to lift people up and support them to receive the same rights and opportunities as others.
Ian Harper, Service Quality Director, Aspire Living, has lots of experience in advocacy and explains it like this:
For a lot of people advocacy groups are a lifeline.