What is advocacy?

There may be times when you need help to get things done, for example if you’re having difficulty accessing benefits or services. Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes contribution to, and participation in, community life, equality, and ensuring that control and decision-making is genuinely in the individual’s best interests.

If you qualify under certain aspects of the Mental Health Act, you can have access to help from an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) or under the Mental Capacity Act you can have help from an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA).

Advocacy Services in Surrey

Surrey County Council and the NHS signed a Joint Commissioning Strategy for Advocacy 2012-2016. Surrey residents now have one single point of contact for independent support with advocacy.

Surrey Disabled People’s Partnership (SDPP) is the gateway to advocacy services in Surrey offering:

  • One-to-one professional advocacy – this is when a paid advocate supports someone with a specific issue/issues;
  • Citizens advocacy – this type of advocacy is provided by trained volunteers. This type of support can be longer term;
  • Self-advocacy groups – these are groups run by people who have joined together to have their voices heard and support each other.

If you need any kind of advocacy support in Surrey relating to health or social care matters, the Surrey Disabled People’s Partnership is your first-stop shop.

Telephone or text: 0300 030 7333 (local rate call)

Surrey Disabled People’s Partnership works closely with five key partner organisations who provide specialised advocacy services to support individuals with specific requirements, on a case by case basis. These key partners are:

  • KAG Advocacy – advocacy for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and autism
  • AgeUK, Surrey – advocacy for older people
  • Deaf Plus – advocacy for the hard-of-hearing community
  • Sight for Surrey – advocacy for people with visual impairment Surrey Supported Employment – advocacy to provide supported employment opportunities, for people with learning disability or mental health needs.

You may also wish to visit the Surrey advocacy hubs in Redhill, Woking and Epsom.

If you require further information regarding advocacy, you can also speak to your Trinity Homecare care manager.